Nationals Notebook

Acting GM Mike Rizzo Says Adam Dunn Will Not Be Traded

By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 8, 2009

DENVER, July 7 -- Halfway through the most perplexing season of his nine-year big league career, Adam Dunn has dealt with enough losing and seen enough promise to arrive at one conclusion: He wants to stick around for the improvement. He wants to see things through.

"I'd love to," said Dunn, who signed a two-year, $20 million contract with the Washington Nationals in February.

Dunn, apparently, will get the chance. Acting general manager Mike Rizzo, speaking to ESPN 980 radio, said Tuesday that his left fielder will not be dealt before this year's July 31 trading deadline. Rizzo needed a little probing from host Kevin Sheehan to arrive at a definitive statement, but eventually, he made an unqualified assurance.

"We are not trading Adam Dunn," Rizzo said. "That's as definitive as I can be."

Told of his general manager's comments, Dunn said: "Good. That's good. I've heard a lot of different things, the rumors, and it's every year with me. But that's really nice to know. That's one thing I don't have to worry about -- packing."

It's Working Out All Right

Just a few weeks ago, Josh Willingham had never played right field. He'd played first base, catcher and left field -- but right field? Okay, he told Manager Manny Acta. He'd give it a try.

Slowly, Willingham is adjusting to his new position, and on Tuesday started there for the eighth consecutive game, and for the 11th time this season. By flipping from left field to right, Willingham has had to adjust to a world of opposites.

"It just takes seeing it to get comfortable," Willingham said. "And once I see enough time out there, I start to know what the ball is gonna do when it's hit out there."

So far, Acta has been pleased with his outfielder's progress.

"So far, so good," Acta said. "I think he has made the routine catches, which is all you can ask for. He's not embarrassing himself out there. He gets to the balls we think he should be getting to."

Colome a Free Agent

Relief pitcher Jesús Colome, designated for assignment by the Nationals on Sunday, refused a minor league assignment and has elected to become a free agent. Colome had an 8.40 ERA in 16 games (15 innings) with Washington this year. . . .

In his first start with Class AAA Syracuse since his demotion, right-hander Shairon Martis tossed six innings of one-run ball against Lehigh Valley on Monday, picking up the win for the Chiefs. In that game, Elijah Dukes hit a two-run homer.

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