Soriano, Nats at impasse over outfield
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
VIERA, Fla. -- Second baseman Alfonso Soriano informed the Nationals on Monday afternoon that he will not play outfield for them, while the team told him that he could be placed on the disqualified list if he failed to do so.
Soriano, who played most of March representing the Dominican Republic World Baseball Classic, was set to hit leadoff and play the outfield for the Nationals against the Dodgers on Monday night. But when the players went out on the field, only eight players were present.
Manager Frank Robinson then went to home plate umpire Mike Estabrook and told him that a lineup change was going to be made. Brandon Watson, who was supposed to sit out the game, went to center field, while Ryan Church switched from center to left field.
A few minutes later, general manager Jim Bowden indicated that Soriano will be given a second chance to play the outfield on Wednesday afternoon against the Cardinals. If Soriano refused to play the outfield that day, the team most likely will put him on the disqualified list without pay.
"He made it pretty clear that he was not going to play," Bowden said. "We hope that when he reflects on it, we hope that he changes his mind and plays left field."
Soriano was acquired from the Rangers this offseason for outfielders Brad Wilkerson and Terrmel Sledge and right-hander Armando Galarraga.