- The Washington Times - Friday, February 24, 2006

VIERA, Fla.

A camp that had started to become pretty lifeless sure got a kick in the pants yesterday, didn’t it? If the Nationals were looking for attention all along, all they needed to do was promise the arrival of Alfonso Soriano.

A horde of television cameras, photographers and reporters converged on Viera for the big Soriano shindig and immediately turned the small interview room at Space Coast Stadium into a circus. Told that the press conference would probably begin around 10 a.m., everyone took their places, cameras turned toward the back door to catch that all-important first shot of Soriano wearing a Nationals cap and jersey.

Unfortunately, the only people to come walking through the door for the next 90 minutes were people not named Soriano, Frank Robinson or Jim Bowden. Not that all those assembled didn’t jump the gun anyway. When Class AAA pitching coach Steve McCatty burst through in full uniform, several flashbulbs popped, much to McCatty’s shock.

Finally, at 11:30 a.m., the moment arrived, and everyone got those precious pictures and sound bites they were so desperately looking for.

Oh yeah, purportedly some baseball was played yesterday while this was all going on. Just don’t expect to see any footage of it on the 11 p.m. news. Gotta get Frank, Alfonso and Jim arm-in-arm, smiling like all is right with the world, you know?

THE BUZZ

ALFONSO SORIANO

Have we resolved anything? Seriously, we’re not sure.

JOSE VIDRO

He looks great and sounds better.

BRIAN LAWRENCE’S SHOULDER

No. 3 starter says he feels good enough now to play golf.

THE REST OF THE POSITION PLAYERS

Some other guys reported to camp yesterday, too. Not that anyone noticed.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Sunny, 45 degrees.

Viera: Afternoon showers, 73 degrees.

Mark Zuckerman and Ken Wright

BY THE NUMBERS

87

Games Jose Vidro played last season for the Nationals.

156

Games Alfonso Soriano played last season for the Texas Rangers.

OVERHEARD

“I think we’re being very clear about being unclear.”

? GM Jim Bowden on the club’s non-definitive answer to Alfonso Soriano’s position.

SEVEN-DAY SCHEDULE

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

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

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

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

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

WEDNESDAY: vs. KIA Tigers in Viera, 1:05 p.m.

THURSDAY: vs. Pirates in Viera, 1:05 p.m.

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