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Team Wants Holdout Pérez to Check In

By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 23, 2009

VIERA, Fla., Feb. 22 -- The Washington Nationals have two simple requests for absent pitcher Odalis Pérez, still holding out in the Dominican Republic.

They want him to honor his contract.

And they want him to pick up his telephone.

Even as the likelihood diminishes that Pérez appears in Viera, much less makes the team, Washington is still waiting to hear from the 31-year-old left-hander. Perhaps the team can cut him, attempt to suspend him, or even simply hold him hostage, claiming a valid contract.

"He has not returned my calls, he has not returned [Manager Manny Acta's] calls, he has not returned his agent's calls. So, we're waiting to hear back from him," General Manager Jim Bowden said Sunday, baseball's mandatory reporting date for all players.

"We're looking at all of our options," Bowden said. "We're taking the position obviously that we have an agreement with the player and we're expecting the player to honor the agreement. But we'd like to talk to him first, so we're going to wait until he calls us back and then we'll address the other options at that point."

In February 2008, Pérez began his tenure with the Nationals by signing a non-guaranteed minor league deal, worth $850,000 if he made the club. He not only made the club, he started on Opening Day. By season's end, Pérez had made 30 starts, going 7-12 with a 4.34 ERA.

He entered the offseason expecting a better contract, but the market lagged, and Pérez, almost three weeks ago, again signed with the Nationals. Again, in a non-guaranteed minor league deal.

"Look, I understand the disappointment," Bowden said. "But the fact is he agreed to the deal, and he had a chance to sign with any of the 30 teams and he made an agreement with us, and we expect him to honor it."

Street Agent Speaks on González

ESPN.com got an interview with the buscone involved in the Esmailyn González case. Street agent Basilio Vizcaino said of González, "He's sad. He did it because he thought if he didn't change his identity he would never sign."

Vizcaino denied any knowledge of the deception by González, who shaved four years off his age and whose real name was Carlos Alvarez Daniel Lugo.

ESPN.com reported that the Yankees and Red Sox, like the Nationals, received reports from Major League Baseball confirming that Alvarez was 16 in 2006.

The Week Ahead

Acta revealed his pitching rotation for the first week of spring training: Wednesday against the Astros in Kissimmee, John Lannan; Thursday against Detroit, Collin Balester; Friday against the Astros, Shawn Hill; Saturday in Jupiter against the Cardinals, Daniel Cabera; Sunday against Baltimore, Scott Olsen.

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