Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Disqualify him and hand him a one-way ticket to the Dominican Republic
Alfonso Soriano Refuses to Play Outfield

VIERA, Fla. (AP) -- Alfonso Soriano refused to play the outfield for the Washington Nationals in what was supposed to be his spring training debut Monday night, and general manager Jim Bowden said his biggest offseason acquisition will go on the disqualified list if he doesn't agree to switch positions this week.

"The player refused to take the field, which we believe is a violation of his contract," Bowden said.

Soriano, a four-time All-Star second baseman, was listed as batting leadoff and playing left field on a lineup sheet posted in the Nationals' clubhouse before Monday night's 11-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But when the Nationals took the field in the top of the first, Soriano wasn't out there. With play just about ready to start, left field was empty…

When Soriano first reported to camp last month, the question of whether he would accept the switch was left open until his return from the World Baseball Classic.

Soriano played for the Dominican Republic, which was eliminated in the tournament semifinals Saturday. He joined the Nationals on Monday and worked out with teammates in the afternoon, but he wouldn't speak to reporters…

"We told him if we get to Thursday, and he refuses to play left field, we told him at that point we will request that the commissioner's office place him on the disqualified list, at that time - no pay, no service time," Bowden said…

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