- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pitchers dominate live BP

VIERA, Fla. - They always say it takes a while for hitters to catch up to pitchers every spring, with the guys throwing the ball holding a decided early advantage on those who swing at it.

That much was obvious Friday when Nationals pitchers threw “live” batting practice to their teammates - and dominated the session.

It should be noted that many hitters were instructed not to swing, simply to stand in the batter’s box and get a good look at the pitchers’ offerings. But some were given the green light, and few managed to make solid contact off the 14 hurlers who participated.

Particularly impressive were three young pitchers: right-handers Jordan Zimmermann and Garrett Mock and left-hander Ross Detwiler. Manager Manny Acta stood behind the cage to watch all three and walked away raving about each of them.

D-Day approaching for Odalis

Sunday is the mandatory reporting date for all players in major league camps, which means a resolution could be coming to the Odalis Perez saga.

Perez, who agreed Feb. 5 to a nonguaranteed, minor league contract for $850,000, is holding out for a better deal and has said he won’t report to camp until he gets one. The Nationals insist the contract is binding; they aren’t willing to renegotiate and are prepared to find the 31-year-old left-hander in breach of contract if he doesn’t report by Sunday.

There has been no contact between the club and Perez in the past week.

“It’s a first for me,” said team president Stan Kasten, who previously had Perez with the Braves. “I don’t know what’s behind it. I haven’t talked to the player and I haven’t talked to the agent. So I really don’t know what the thinking is.”

Right-hander Jorge Sosa also has yet to report, but he is dealing with visa problems in his native Dominican Republic.

- Mark Zuckerman

TEMPERATURE CHECK

Zim contract [SIDEWAYS]

Now it’s time to work on a long-term deal

Pop-up drill [UP]

Always good for some laughs and near-collisions

Faux-hawks [DOWN]

Guzman, Flores need to sport new looks

BY THE NUMBERS

1,105 Pounds of weight combined among Washington’s four first basemen (Adam Dunn, Nick Johnson, Dmitri Young and Brad Eldred).

SATURDAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Mostly sunny, 47 degrees

Viera: Mostly sunny, 70 degrees

THREE-DAY SCHEDULE

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

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

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

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