- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Waiting for Odalis

VIERA, Fla. — Odalis Perez´s spring training holdout continued Monday as team officials tried to contact the veteran left-hander and persuade him to report to camp.

Manager Manny Acta said he and other members of the organization have tried to call Perez, who remains at home in the Dominican Republic, but haven’t talked to him.

Perez agreed to a nonguaranteed minor league contract Feb. 5 that would pay him $850,000 if he makes the Opening Day roster. He now believes he deserves a better deal and doesn´t intend to report until he gets one.

The Nationals say Perez´s contract has been signed and approved by both the players association and Major League Baseball. If he doesn´t report by Sunday, he’s subject to discipline by the club.

The longer Perez holds out, the longer odds he may face of making Washington´s rotation.

“It all depends when he reports,” Acta said. “Obviously, if he reports really late in the spring after most of our guys here have stepped up, it´s different. But I don´t think it´s going to come to that. He´s either going to report with enough time or not report at all.”

Heading to arbitration

Unable to work out contract terms on their own, the Nationals and Josh Willingham are headed to an arbitration hearing Wednesday in Phoenix. The outfielder is asking for $3.5 million; Washington countered with an offer of $2.55 million.

The Nationals likewise haven’t worked out a deal with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and are running out of time to do so before Friday´s scheduled arbitration hearing in Phoenix.

Zimmerman, who is asking for $3.9 million compared with the Nationals´ offer of $2.75 million, hasn’t appeared at camp yet and doesn´t plan to be in uniform until he´s under contract, not wanting to risk injury before then.

—Mark Zuckerman

TEMPERATURE CHECK

Position players [UP]

Dunn, Dukes, Kearns, Guzman, Pena all report to camp

Pitchers bunting practice [DOWN]

Guys didn’t exactly put on a clinic

Interest in Nats camp [DOWN]

While A-Rod drew 200 media members to Tampa, Nats had four writers, two bloggers and a radio reporter on hand

BY THE NUMBERS

2 Bullpen spots that manager Manny Acta said are already secured (Joel Hanrahan, Saul Rivera).

WEDNESDAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Rain/snow, 42 degrees

Viera: Sunny, 78 degrees

THREE-DAY SCHEDULE

Wednesday: Pitchers and catchers work out, 9 a.m.

Thursday: First full-squad workout, 9 a.m.

Friday: Full-squad workout, 9 a.m.

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