- The Washington Times - Monday, April 17, 2006

Q: Early in the season wouldn’t it be better to leave Alfonso Soriano in the game to give him practice and/or confidence in left field? You never know when you’ll need his bat late in the game. Dustin Chaffee

A: This is going to be one of those season-long things to watch, Dustin. Obviously, Soriano isn’t going to be the Nationals’ best defensive left fielder, so the smart move would be to replace him when you have a late lead. But Frank Robinson surprised some people last week in Houston when he pulled Soriano in the seventh inning of what was a three-run game at the time. In that ballpark, a three-run lead is nothing, so perhaps you don’t want to remove Soriano’s bat so early.

Perhaps Robinson is starting to have a little more faith in Soriano’s defense, though. Saturday night in Florida, he left him in for the final innings of a 2-1 victory, and Soriano rewarded the decision by gunning down Wes Helms, who was trying to stretch a single into a double.

Q: Any timetable for the recall of Billy Traber? — Keith Engle

A: Maybe the end of the week, Keith. With Ryan Drese on the disabled list with an elbow injury, the Nationals need a new No. 5 starter. They haven’t announced their intentions, but Traber (who impressed in spring training and is off to a good start at Class AAA New Orleans) appears to be the favorite to get the call.

Q: Are there any recent draft picks, other than Ryan Zimmerman who show real promise to be impact players in the major leagues? — Brian T.

A: Good question, Brian. The guy most likely to make an impact in the near future is left-handed reliever Bill Bray, the Expos’ No.1 pick in 2004. He nearly made the roster this spring and probably isn’t far from getting the call.

If/when Bray does join the Nationals, they’ll be the only team in baseball with their last three No.1 draft picks already in the major leagues: Zimmerman (2005), Bray (2004) and Chad Cordero (2003).

Q: What comes first this season: The Nationals get an owner, or the Nationals win 10 games? — Bert Harbinson

A: Hmm, MLB may name the owner as soon as Friday. And the Nationals (4-9) will have played only four more games through Friday.

Here’s a better one for you, Bert. What comes first: The Nationals’ new owner actually takes over day-to-day control of the organization, or the team gets to 30 wins? That could be a close call.

Got a question about the Nats? Mark Zuckerman has the answers. To

submit a question, go to the Sports Page

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More

Click to Hide