Soriano leaves, spot with Nationals unresolved

Alfonso Soriano left the Washington Nationals to join the Dominican Republic team for the World Baseball Classic with his position unresolved.

Soriano doesn't want to move from second base to the outfield as the Nationals, who have Jose Vidro at second, have asked.

"They have three weeks to fix it," Soriano told The Washington Post before leaving town. He told the paper he didn't know what would happen if the issue remains unresolved.

Manager Frank Robinson, who didn't have either second baseman in the Nationals' lineup for the first two exhibition games, expects the next move to come from Soriano.

"Hopefully [he will] come to us when he comes back -- or while he's there, maybe have his agent call us and say, 'OK, Alfonso said this is what he's going to do,' " Robinson told the Post. "That's what we're hoping for."

A two-hour meeting with team officials last week failed to produce a breakthrough, and the parties essentially agreed to put off the problem.

"We've been pretty clear about being unclear," general manager Jim Bowden said Feb. 23.

Soriano worked out at second base with the Nationals for the first few days of spring training because that is the position he will play for the Dominican Republic. Soriano reported to the Dominican team Friday and could return as late as March 21.

The Nationals acquired Soriano, a four-time All-Star second baseman, from Texas in a December trade that sent outfielders Brad Wilkerson and Terrmel Sledge and pitcher Armando Galarraga to the Rangers.

With three-time All-Star Vidro already on the roster, Washington made it clear that Vidro will not be moved and that Soriano would be asked to play left field. Soriano made it clear that he wasn't happy about it.

Robinson told the Post that he hasn't had an in-depth conversation since the meeting last week with Soriano, his agent and Bowden to sit down. The team had limited contact with Soriano in the offseason because he was going through arbitration -- the panel chose the team's $10 million offer over his
$12 million request.

Robinson has dismissed the notion of moving Vidro to another position. Vidro has been bothered by knee problems for 2½ seasons, but said he "100 percent" and ready to play a full season when he reported to camp. He announced he would not play for Puerto Rico in the WBC in order to focus on the Nationals.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.