The leaders of several groups bidding on the Washington Nationals will be interviewing with top officials at Major League Baseball during the next week as the sale of the team continues to progress, according to several sources familiar with the process.

Those sources said the league contacted some bidders over the last week or so, including the following groups: the Franklin Haney Sr. family; Yusef Jackson-Ronald Burkle; Al Lord-William Collins; and Jeffrey Smulyan.

Spokesmen for those groups declined to comment, as did baseball officials.

Seven bids were filed with baseball on May 31, and an eighth bid could be forthcoming, according to baseball sources. Including the groups listed above, the other bidders are Jonathan Ledecky group, which includes billionaire George Soros; Mark Lerner and family, and the Fred Malek-Jeffrey Zients group, sources said. Top league sources said other groups will be contacted for interviews and no one who placed a bid has been eliminated from the auction.

New York City developer David Walentas is no longer bidding on the Nationals, according to sources. And former Atlanta Braves president Stan Kasten has not yet placed a bid, although he is expected to, according to baseball officials. Kasten declined to comment.

Baseball is hoping to have a new owner selected by this summer and approved by the league shortly after the end of the season, according to sources involved in the process.

-- Thomas Heath