Nationals Notebook

Leaving Plenty to Be Desired

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 3, 2007

VERO BEACH, Fla., March 2 -- Friday was the Washington Nationals' first game of the Grapefruit League season, a sloppy 12-7 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in which shortstop D'Angelo Jimenez committed a pair of errors, in which they ran into outs on the base paths.

"We gave away five outs," Manager Manny Acta said, "and that's what we've been stressing all spring."

Acta's frustration, though, was tempered by the early date. Right-hander Shawn Hill said he was "a little jittery," but he went two innings and gave up two hits and two unearned runs.

"I think his sinker wasn't working as good as it could," catcher Brian Schneider said.

Reliever Emiliano Fruto was hit the hardest, allowing four runs in two-thirds of an inning, including Larry Bigbie's second homer.

Zimmerman Negotiations

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman went 2 for 3 with a mammoth two-run homer. The Nationals are scheduled to meet with Zimmerman and his agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, about a contract on Sunday in Viera. The club is discussing a multiyear deal with its franchise player despite the fact that he won't be eligible for arbitration until after the 2008 season.

"It'd be nice to get something done," he said.

One possible benchmark: the six-year, $55 million contract signed by New York Mets third baseman David Wright last August.

MLB Hires Robinson

Former Nationals manager Frank Robinson was hired Friday by Major League Baseball to serve as a special adviser to Jimmie Lee Solomon, the executive vice president of baseball operations. Robinson, reached by phone, said his job would involve "a little bit of everything." Robinson worked for MLB before taking the job managing the Montreal Expos in 2002.

"It's nice to be able to go back someplace after no organizations were interested," he said. "It's good that I was wanted back."

Robinson, however, said he hadn't changed his mind about whether to take the Nationals up on their offer to host a "Frank Robinson Day" at RFK Stadium. In January, Robinson was vehemently upset about the way the club handled his departure from the franchise, not offering him a paid position. Friday, he said it was "too early for something ceremonial."

Robinson spoke with General Manager Jim Bowden this week.

"I didn't close the door," he said. "Down the road with Washington, I would think about doing something. But they don't have a job now. And it'll take some time for me to consider something else." . . .

Schneider's wife, Jordan, is scheduled to have labor induced on Monday, allowing the couple's first child to be born when her husband can get a day off. The Nationals play in Orlando against the Braves that day, and Schneider isn't scheduled to make the trip.

Uneven Debut Jimenez had a most eventful Washington debut. He went 2 for 2, drove in the first run of the spring, walked and committed two errors. Up Next vs. Orioles in Viera, 1:05 p.m. MASN, WFED (1050 AM)

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