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Nationals Notebook

Bowden Ponders Plans B, C and D

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 3, 2005; Page D10

VIERA, Fla., March 2 -- Considering the history of the moment -- the Washington Nationals' first spring training game -- the business of baseball was easily forgotten early Wednesday. But the work for General Manager Jim Bowden began in earnest during the Nationals' 5-3 win over the New York Mets at Space Coast Stadium.

Bowden will spend the spring scouting not only other teams, but his own players. He said center fielder Endy Chavez and first baseman Nick Johnson must produce offensively, or the team will be forced to seek a trade.

_____ Opening Day _____
The Nationals and Manager Frank Robinson, pictured, lose to the Phillies, 8-4, on Monday.
Thomas Boswell: The first bit of reality sinks in and grounds the Nationals.
Mike Wise: Like old times, Washington loses a baseball game.
Terrmel Sledge's home run ball is headed for Cooperstown.
Montreal barely notices the Expos and baseball are gone.
Mayor Anthony Williams and some fans travel to Philadelphia.
Nationals boosters around town stopped to catch the first game.
More milestones for the Nats.
Nationals' 76 Game TV Schedule.

_____ On Our Site _____
Box score
Video of fans following the team to the first game vs. the Phillies.
More Opening Day photos from the game in Philadelphia.
Photos from the Nationals' first exhibition contest at RFK Stadium.

_____ Baseball Preview _____
It will be tough for the Orioles- Nationals matchup to join the ranks of great baseball rivalries.
A closer look at the Nationals' rivals in the NL East.
Thomas Boswell: The old rivalry between Washington and Baltimore should not take long to heat up.
Baseball Preview Section

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"You have to score runs," Bowden said. "We have a situation right now that we're hoping that we can get production in center field and first base."

Bowden's preference, he said, would be for Chavez and Johnson to have excellent springs. They went a combined 0 for 4 Wednesday.

"If [they produce], we have it," Bowden said. "But in the meantime, my job is: If it doesn't work, where's Plan B, Plan C, Plan D? You better not go with one plan, because a GM has to be a quarterback that's prepared to audible at the line of scrimmage."

Nationals scouts will be at several major league camps this spring eyeing opposing talent. Given the penchant Bowden has shown for players he had in Cincinnati, the Nationals are almost certain to scout the Reds, who have four capable outfielders -- Ken Griffey Jr., Austin Kearns, Adam Dunn and Wily Mo Peña.

Bowden declined to say which players the Nationals may target.

"You're always trying to get better and always trying to find ways and always having dialogue," he said.

Getting in Tune

The team debuted a new song -- "We Are The Washington Nationals" -- that blared over the public address system. The song was recorded by Blessid Union of Souls and is being considered for play in Washington. "It was pretty cool," outfielder Brad Wilkerson said. "We didn't have a song in Montreal." . . .

Backup catcher Keith Osik homered in the fifth. "I'm just like every other player in this clubhouse," he said. "I'm trying to make this team."

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