- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 10, 2009

ACTA OFFERS ADVICE FOR ALVAREZ

VIERA, Fla. — The next phase of the Carlos Alvarez saga could begin as early as Friday — or whenever the former Esmailyn Gonzalez is able to obtain a visa from the Dominican Republic — when the shortstop reports for the Washington Nationals‘ minor league camp.

Alvarez’s arrival no doubt will attract plenty of attention. The prospect, whose signing was at the heart of a federal investigation into leaguewide practices in the Dominican Republic, now faces a different kind of challenge: He’s four years older than the Nationals thought and, at age 23, needs to progress through the minors much quicker.

Manager Manny Acta, asked Monday whether he had any advice for Alvarez, said he would tell the shortstop not to worry about his age and play well enough that youth won’t be an issue.

“Regardless of his age, if he can really play, he’ll be able to make it to the big leagues. He’s not the first one. He’s not going to be the last one,” Acta said. “What is he now, 23? If he makes it to the big leagues in three years, he’ll be 26 years old. You have a bunch of guys in Double A and Triple A that are 26 years old.”



Even if other players make jokes about the name and age issues, Acta said, Alvarez can’t lose focus.

“People tease each other in school, on the streets, so he’s going to have to move on. It’s part of nature,” Acta said. “It’s being done right now to somebody somewhere — whether it’s because of their weight, their height or where they come from. He’s got to move on. He made a mistake, and now he’s got to live with it. I don’t think it’s going to last forever, though.”

NATIONALS 8, ASTROS 6 (10)

Washington scored five runs in the first inning off Felipe Paulino, three of them coming on Austin Kearns’ home run. The Nationals got another run in the second and had a 6-4 lead after three despite Collin Balester’s off-night.

Ross Detwiler gave up a run in two innings of work, and Terrell Young surrendered a run in the ninth. But Brad Eldred hit a two-run homer to left in the 10th off Sergio Perez to win it for the Nationals.

— Ben Goessling

TEMPERATURE CHECK

Austin Kearns [UP]

Three-run homer in the first inning is his first of the spring

Collin Balester [DOWN]

Gave up two homers; could be losing some ground to Zimmermann

Cristian Guzman [UP]

Went 3-for-4; spring average is up to .333

TUESDAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Cloudy, 50 degrees

Viera: Sunny, 82 degrees

THREE-DAY SCHEDULE

Tuesday: vs. Mets in Viera, 1 p.m.

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: vs. Braves in Lake Buena Vista, 1 p.m.

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