- The Washington Times - Monday, June 12, 2006

Q: With Jose Guillen back from the disabled list, where do you see him fitting into the lineup? It seems like the top five in the Nationals’ order is starting to come together as an offensive force. — Eric Stuart

A: It’s an interesting question, and one that was posed to Frank Robinson before yesterday’s game. Robinson suggested if Guillen continues to struggle, he might be dropped to sixth in the lineup.

Then Guillen doubled in his first two at-bats yesterday. Hmm, perhaps the Angry One heard about his manager’s feelings and decided to take matters into his own hands.

Q: Now that the Lerners have taken over the Nationals, what will Tony Tavares do next? — Ryan Hickey

A: Tavares, who has been the franchise’s president since 2002 in Montreal, will go back to his home near Lake Tahoe. He plans to have long-delayed knee replacement surgery this fall. Once he recovers, he has visions of starting a company that consults other pro sports franchises. Tavares believes the knowledge he accrued from his time in Anaheim, Montreal and Washington would be valuable to others in the sports world.

Q: We all hear that Ted Lerner and Stan Kasten want to build the team like Kasten did in Atlanta, but if the Nationals are in the playoff picture in the next month, why would they trade Livan Hernandez, Jose Guillen, Jose Vidro or Alfonso Soriano? That just doesn’t make sense to me. Right now they are the hottest team in baseball. — Connie Schneider

A: See today’s Nationals Insider for my long-winded answer to this question, but here’s the condensed version: Despite their impressive run these last few weeks, the Nationals have too far to go to be true playoff contenders.

And with nothing to play for this season besides a .500 record, the smart move would be to trade any or all of those veterans (provided they bring top-flight prospects or major-league-ready talent in return).

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

submit a question, go to the Sports Page

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