Soriano: 'I'm not going to change from second base'

If the Nationals acquired Alfonso Soriano to move him to the outfield, as has been speculated, they might be in for a rude awakening.

In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Soriano reiterated a position he maintained while with the Rangers: He's not moving from second base.

"I have the same position [on moving] as I always had when I was with Texas," Soriano told the newspaper. "I said that I'm not going to change from second base."

Although he said he hasn't spoken with anyone from the Nationals, Soriano told the Star-Telegram that he believes the club traded for him to play second base.

"I think that if they traded for me, it's to play second base," he told the newspaper.

However, Washington already has a past All-Star at second base in Jose Vidro, though he was hampered by leg problems last season that limited him to 87 games.

Soriano has been reluctant in the past to switch positions. When he was acquired by Texas in the February 2004 trade that sent AL MVP Alex Rodriguez to the New York Yankees, Soriano remained at second base and Michael Young moved to shortstop, where he became an All-Star.

Soriano was traded by the Rangers to the Nationals on Wednesday night for Brad Wilkerson, Terrmel Sledge and a minor league pitcher.

Since the Nationals traded two outfielders in the deal, it would make sense that the club would want Soriano to play in the outfield. But Soriano wants none of that talk.

"Obviously, I have the control. Of course I'm not going to play the outfield," he told the Star-Telegram.

With a rare combination of power and speed, Soriano has been one of the most productive infielders in the majors the past four years. He hit .268 with 36 homers, 104 RBI and 30 stolen bases last season, when he earned $7.5 million.

Eligible for arbitration, he almost certainly will get a substantial raise next year, and he can become a free agent after the 2006 season. He is a .283 career hitter with 162 home runs.

Soriano gives the Nationals the dynamic offensive player they desperately want. Washington finished last in the majors in batting
average (.252), slugging percentage (3.86), runs (3.94 per game)
and homers (117), along with an NL-low 45 stolen bases.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.