- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 30, 2009

MILWAUKEE | The Washington Nationals could make a deal in the next two days that reverses the course interim manager Jim Riggleman believes they’re on, or it could be that Riggleman isn’t able to both run the team and stay up-to-the-minute on the Nationals’ discussions two days before Friday’s trade deadline.

But if Riggleman’s hunch is right, the Nationals’ roster won’t look much different after the deadline.

Riggleman said Wednesday afternoon that he does not expect the Nationals will trade any of their veterans before Friday’s nonwaiver deadline. Washington has been fielding offers for several of its players, but the Nationals’ asking price for a veteran has been rumored to be high. The Nationals were scouting the Cubs’ minor league system last week - believed to be in response to discussions about reliever Joe Beimel - and there were scouts from the Phillies and Royals at Tuesday’s Nationals-Brewers game.

“I personally don’t think we’re going to lose any of them. We’ve seen some trades made in the last few days that would probably lower the chances of our guys getting traded,” Riggleman said. “Some of our guys were mentioned in the same [rumors]. I don’t really anticipate losing anybody. If we do, I hope it’s a good situation for our player to move on and play on a contending club. But my first priority is to keep this club together and see what we can do with it.”

Beimel is still thought to be the player most likely to depart in the next two days - his $2 million contract is up after this season, and a number of teams are seeking bullpen help - but Riggleman hopes the team he’s managed to six wins in the last eight games will stay intact.

“As a manager, you like to manage the game and you get close to your players,” Riggleman said. “From an emotional side, you don’t want to lose any of them, because they start to jell a little bit.”

Tavarez, Patterson gone

Two of the veterans the Nationals signed before this season are no longer with the organization. Julian Tavarez, who was designated for assignment on July 19, has cleared waivers and elected free agency, the Nationals announced Wednesday. Tavarez, who was signed in spring training to fortify the Nationals’ bullpen, saw his numbers fall off in the last six weeks he was with the team. He wound up with a 3-7 record and 4.89 ERA in 42 appearances.

Outfielder Corey Patterson, who had been at Class AAA Syracuse all year save for a brief call-up in June, was released after clearing waivers, the team also announced.

Those moves mean the Nationals have 39 players on their 40-man roster and would have room to add a prospect or two in a deadline deal.

Dunn not in lineup

Outfielder Adam Dunn was out of the starting lineup Wednesday, taking his turn to rest during the Nationals’ 25-game stretch without an off day.

The move gave the Nationals’ lineup an unusual look; Josh Willingham hit third for just the fifth time in his career, while Ryan Zimmerman dropped from his normal No. 3 spot to hit cleanup for only the fourth time this season.

Dunn did get into the game as a pinch hitter in the ninth, striking out against closer Trevor Hoffman to end the game.

• Ben Goessling can be reached at bgoessling@washingtontimes.com.

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