The Washington Times - January 23, 2009, 06:04PM

The biggest ovation — a standing ovation — at Friday’s Washington Nationals Hot Stove luncheon at Nationals Park was for former Senators slugger Frank Howard, who sat with owner Mark Lerner for the event.

Team president Stan Kasten, who had worked with Howard before in Atlanta, said there are talks going on between the team and Howard, who was let go this offseason by the New York Yankees, for a job with the Nationals.

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“Frank and I are having discussions,” Kasten said.

This is good news. The Nationals need to recogize the Washington baseball tradition and embrace it. There will be the statues that should be going up before Opening Day outside of Nationals Park of three Washington baseball greats — Walter Johnson, Josh Gibson and Howard, who hit 237 home runs for the Senators from 1965 to 1971.

It would be nice if the team had more former Senators come to the ballpark for events. It would be nice to have a few ex-Senators on hand for the team’s first Natsfest on Sunday. As of now, none are scheduled to appear.

By the way, at Friday’s luncheon, Mark Lerner was using a cane and wearing a soft walking cast on his right foot. He had hurt himself last season shagging fly balls in batting practice.

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