Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden said yesterday that he believes he could increase the team's payroll immediately if he found the right player to trade for because the team's revenues are likely to be higher than projected.
"I think if the piece was available last week, yesterday or sometime in June, we'd be able to make the move," Bowden said.
Bowden said he "treats every day like the trade deadline," and that the club doesn't have to prove it can compete in a pennant race any longer to be able to make a trade for a player who earns more than the one he gives up. He said the Nationals' payroll is at about $47 million, $3 million under the budget established by Major League Baseball, which owns the club.
Bowden said if former Cincinnati closer Danny Graves was interested in joining the Nationals, he would have to take on a lesser role because the team is not going to tinker with set-up men Luis Ayala and Gary Majewski and closer Chad Cordero. . . .
With the major league draft set for Tuesday, the Nationals will hold workouts for high school outfielders Cameron Maybin of Asheville, N.C. and Jay Bruce of Beaumont, Texas. . . .
First baseman Nick Johnson, who left Thursday's game with chest problems diagnosed as reflux, was back in the lineup last night.