NATIONALS NOTEBOOK

Nats Begin Preparing for Soriano Trade

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By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 19, 2006

MIAMI, July 18 -- The Washington Nationals, fresh with the possibility that the Seattle Mariners will become a serious contender to acquire left fielder Alfonso Soriano, have started scouting the Mariners' system for prospects. Scouting director Dana Brown and another scout watched the Mariners' game on Monday in New York against the Yankees.

In addition, director of player personnel Bob Boone has recently seen the Mariners' top farm club, Class AAA Tacoma, as the Nationals try to learn as much as possible about Seattle's talent pool. The Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees are among the other possible suitors for Soriano.

That the trade talks are becoming more serious will be evident later this week, when Brown and Boone are both scheduled to be in Washington to discuss their evaluations with General Manager Jim Bowden. In addition, assistant general manager Tony Siegle, who rarely misses a road trip, remained in Washington with Bowden during the six-game trek that opened the second half.

In New York, Nationals scouts were specifically keeping an eye on rookie outfielder Adam Jones, just recalled from Tacoma. Jones hit .277 with 14 homers and 55 RBI in the minors and is considered the Mariners' center fielder of the future.

Part of the reason the Nationals don't have complete reports on each opposing minor league system is because the franchise has been understaffed with scouts over the past 4 1/2 seasons.

Incoming team president Stan Kasten and Bowden have pledged to beef up the scouting department, and the club appears to be attempting to make a first step in that direction by interviewing Mike Rizzo, the scouting director of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Neither Kasten nor Bowden would comment about Rizzo on Tuesday.

"I never discuss things we might do or might not do," Kasten said by phone.

Guillen Leaves With Soreness

Right fielder Jose Guillen left Tuesday's game against the Marlins with right elbow soreness. Guillen made a throw in the first inning that skied toward third base. "It burned like it was on fire," he said. He will have an MRI exam on Wednesday.


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