The Washington Times - April 17, 2009, 06:49PM

Lot of speculation flying around today about Ryan Zimmerman and a potential long-term deal in the works between him and the Nats. That deal may ultimately be signed, perhaps even soon, but it is not by any means a done deal right now.

Are the Nats and agent Brodie Van Wagenen talking? Yes. Have they made some progress? Sounds like it. Is a deal imminent? Not necessarily.

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In fact, Zimmerman shot down the reports today when asked by a group of us what was going on.

“I haven’t heard anything,” he said. “Unless they’re talking or doing something, I don’t know. I’m just worried about playing.”

Now, I suppose you could surmise that Zimmerman is playing coy and trying to keep himself out of the discussion, even though he knows it’s taking place. But when pressed further, he didn’t really sound like a guy who knows he’s on the verge of signing a five-year contract. Zimmerman reiterated his stance from Opening Day: He doesn’t intend to negotiate any contracts during the season.

“Like I said before, I’m not involved in any of that stuff now,” he said today. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s over with until next offseason.”

“I was under the impression that what I said before about we’re not doing it during the season is how it’s going to be,” he added. “Unless they’re doing something or unless it’s changed, I’m under the impression of what I told you guys before.”

Acting GM Mike Rizzo wouldn’t comment when asked about any negotiations involving Zimmerman.

So take that for what’s it worth. In the meantime, two other pregame bits of news to report…

— Adam Dunn is starting in right field tonight, with Josh Willingham in left field. I wrote about this possibility yesterday, pointing out how Manny Acta approached Dunn the other day and asked if he’d be willing to play right field on occasion to get Josh Willingham in the lineup. Dunn agreed, so that’s the alignment we’ve got tonight.

— Doesn’t sound like Cristian Guzman will return to the lineup tomorrow. His hamstring is still acting up a bit. The plan is to re-evaluate him tomorrow before a final decision is made, but it’s possible he ends up going on the DL (retroactive to Monday) just to be safe. As Manny Acta said, “You don’t want to put someone out there who’s not 100 percent.”

OK, tonight’s lineups…

NATIONALS

2B Anderson Hernandez

1B Nick Johnson

3B Ryan Zimmerman

RF Adam Dunn

CF Elijah Dukes

RF Josh Willingham

C Jesus Flores

SS Alberto Gonzalez

P John Lannan

MARLINS

CF Cameron Maybin

C John Baker

SS Hanley Ramirez

1B Jorge Cantu

2B Dan Uggla

LF Jeremy Hermida

RF Cody Ross

3B Wes Helms

P Ricky Nolasco