Nats talk to former Met, free-agent catcher Estrada

WASHINGTON -- Catcher Johnny Estrada is negotiating with the
Washington Nationals, who learned this week that Paul Lo Duca will
be sidelined for up to six weeks.

The 31-year-old Estrada is coming off knee and elbow operations
and became a free agent last month when the New York Mets declined
to offer him a contract for next season.

Estrada played for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2007, batting .278
with 10 homers and 54 RBIs, and drawing only 12 walks as part of a
.296 on-base percentage. He threw out six of 79 base stealers.

The Brewers traded him to the Mets in the offseason.

An All-Star in 2004 with Atlanta, Estrada is a .280 career
hitter with 42 homers and 281 RBIs in 589 games spanning seven
major league seasons. He has spent his entire career in the
National League, also playing for Philadelphia and Arizona.

Lo Duca, who signed a $5 million, one-year deal with Washington
as a free agent, had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Monday.
The Nationals also have catcher Jesus Flores, who never played
above Double-A before last season.

The Nationals traded last season's starting catcher,
Brian Schneider, to the Mets in December.