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04/23/09 12:30 AM ET

Dukes fouls ball off Willingham's leg

Nats outfielder day-to-day after being hit in on-deck circle

WASHINGTON -- Josh Willingham learned how dangerous the on-deck circle can be on Wednesday night.

In the bottom of the ninth inning of the Nats' 1-0 loss to the Braves, Elijah Dukes hit Willingham with a foul ball, bruising his left calf.

Willingham is listed as day-to-day and had an ice wrap on the calf after the game.

Willingham was on deck in the ninth inning when Dukes fouled off a 1-2 pitch from Braves right-hander Rafael Soriano. Dukes was so late on the pitch that the liner headed straight for the on-deck circle, hitting Willingham on the calf.

Manager Manny Acta came to Willingham's aid, but the outfielder remained in the game, and he flew out to left fielder Matt Diaz for the second out of the inning.

Willingham has a solid bruise on the calf, but it did not need to be X-rayed.

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