Redding tosses gem despite flu

Redding tosses gem despite flu

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Tim Redding woke up Tuesday morning with the flu, but it didn't stop him from shutting out the Tigers for five innings as the Nationals won the game, 9-1.

None of Redding's breaking balls were working, so he had to rely heavily on his fastball. The fifth inning was the only time he was able to retire the side in order. Redding allowed five hits, struck out one batter and walked another in the game.

Redding has not allowed a run in his last 10 innings and lowered his ERA to 2.81.

"I'm pleased with the way things went. I threw a lot of strikes early in the count. Guys played some really good defense behind me," Redding said. "The headache is gone, but I think it's just because I was out there and trying to focus on doing my job. You really have to concentrate and blur out all the distractions.

"My nasal passages are still [bad]. My throat hurts. God bless for having a day like this. I told [manager] Manny Acta and [pitching coach] Randy St. Claire, 'I hope I feel like crap for 34 starts this year, if that's the case.'"

Redding will be in the starting rotation when the regular season starts, and he would love to be the Opening Day starter on March 30 against the Braves. However, Redding is tentatively scheduled to pitch his first regular-season game on April 2 against the Phillies.

"I would love to have the honor to be the Opening Day starter. I hope to keep throwing the ball well all the way until that day and maybe force an issue. Maybe, I'm in consideration."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.