At the time it seemed nothing was wrong. Jose Guillen had gone hard into third base intent on breaking up a double play after Vinny Castilla's sacrifice bunt attempt had not rolled far enough away from Atlanta catcher Brian McCann. McCann threw to third and Guillen's slide took him right into the legs of Braves third baseman Chipper Jones.

Jones stared at Guillen, but the Nationals' right fielder kept apologizing profusely. It seemed the incident was defused.

Then Jones noticed the spike cut high up on his leg. "I was walking back to my position and I got instant air conditioning in my crotch," he said.

Asked about Guillen's apology, Jones said the player wouldn't have apologized if he didn't think he didn't think he had done something "dirty."

Which, of course, angered Guillen. "I apologized, I try to be nice to him because he's one of the nicest players in baseball," Guillen said. "But if you want me to be dirty, I can be that way too."

Ownership Update

Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig said here Thursday that none of the eight suitors to buy the Nats had been eliminated nor had any moved into the lead. He again insisted the new owner would be selected by the end of August.

Selig also said the league would not stand in the Nationals' way if they want to add a costly player at the trade deadline, leaving that decision to club president Tony Tavares.

"They don't come to us, they're on their own," Selig said.

It's Just a Kick, Not a Balk

Robinson on Thursday asked umpire Gerry Davis why Braves reliever Jay Powell is not called for a balk almost every time he throws the ball when he raises and drops his left leg before winding up. The umpires told him the move was okay because Powell's hands were not completely "set" before he threw, allowing for the extra leg kick.

Robinson had been watching video of Powell for two days, convinced the pitcher was balking because Powell will come to a stop on occasion before throwing.