- The Washington Times - Monday, June 9, 2008

When July rolls around, the Washington Nationals won’t be shy about listening to trade offers, general manager Jim Bowden said. But that doesn’t mean they’re offering all their veteran players up for 10 cents on the dollar.

Bowden outlined the team’s trading philosophy this weekend, saying the Nationals will listen to offers that “make our team better” for the future, but would not classify Washington in traditional buyer-seller terms. While some veterans could be moved, he said, the ones who have a future with the team aren’t likely going anywhere.

“We’re building. We’re not going to tear down,” Bowden said. “Anytime we have a chance to improve our long-term organization, we’re going to do that. We’re not going to be sellers. We’re going to keep building.”

He conceded that the way to move forward could be to unload veterans the team doesn’t see as part of its core, but qualified it by saying that the Nationals wouldn’t deal simply to shed salary.

“We’re not going to look at trades to dump guys, but if we can make trades for players that help us long term, we’re going to do it,” Bowden said. “That doesn’t mean we’re interested in trades for guys that are going to be free agents ” that doesn’t make sense ” or control for one year ” that doesn’t make sense. But if we get a player for long term, then we’re interested in that.”

Pitching update

Shawn Hill said his persistent forearm pain was “no better, no worse” than it has been all season after his seven-inning start Saturday and that he again would throw a bullpen session before his next scheduled start Thursday. Hill credited the bullpen session with the improved control he had on his off-speed pitches in his start against the Giants in which he gave up two runs on seven hits.

Odalis Perez did not play catch as planned Saturday and will wait until Monday to see how much his left shoulder tendinitis, which caused him to miss his Sunday start, is still bothering him. Perez would be slated to pitch Friday against the Mariners.

No Mackowiak message

Both Bowden and manager Manny Acta said the team was not trying to send a message to its struggling offense by releasing outfielder Rob Mackowiak on Saturday.

“I don’t think it was that kind of a move,” Bowden said. “I think it was a move that was made, and it was the right decision both for Rob and for us. It just didn’t work out for either one of us.”

Mackowiak signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal before the season and hit .132 in 53 at-bats for the Nationals.

“What are you going to do? There’s a lot of guys that are not hitting good. You can’t get rid of all of them. I think everybody can look at it the way they want to look at it,” Acta said. “But let’s face it, the whole team is pretty much struggling offensively. I think it’s easy for them to see, ‘Well, they’re not going to release me because I’m not hitting, because 10 more guys are not hitting,’ I think it was just a baseball decision.”

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