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Ayala expected to be at spring training despite bruised nerve

1/4/2008 - MLB Luis Ayala Montreal Expos + more

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Luis Ayala was hit in the left forearm by a shotgun pellet during a hunting trip but is expected to be able to participate when spring training begins next month.

Ayala has a bruised nerve in his upper forearm and is experiencing a tingling sensation, which the Nationals said Friday is improving daily. Small fragments of the pellet remain in his arm and won't be removed, as long as Ayala does not get an infection.

The reliever has no artery damage and the nerve is intact, the team said, adding that he has full use of his left arm and hand.

Ayala went 2-2 with one save and a 3.19 ERA in 44 appearances last season with Washington. He missed 2006 after right elbow surgery.