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The "Wild West"

If you're curious for some more info about the federal investigation into baseball's Latin American scouting practices, here's the best article I've found detailing some of the shady practices. I spoke today to Jose Rijo, the Nats front office man in charge of the team's scouting and development in Latin America.

Three basic points he made...

* Yes, the Nats are being investigated, he said -- but so is every other team

* He said (in emphatic terms) that the Nationals are guilty of no wrongdoing.

* He also believes that the federal inquiry is a good thing. "I think this is a great idea. It is. That's the only way you're going to clean things up and protect those kids. And I think it's something that needed to be done a long time ago. I'm on board with that. It's a great thing for baseball, especially for the Dominican Republic. ... They are finally going to protect the players more now."

When I called MLB offices today, a spokesman declined to comment. (That's what tends to happen when a federal investigation is involved.)

A few additional notes before game time.

* Johnny Estrada (remember him?) is beginning a rehab assignment. He started yesterday with the GCL Nationals, going 1-for-2. Next stop, Potomac.

* Matt Chico had his elbow surgery today.

* Jesus Flores, in a little slump here, has been bumped to seventh in the order. It's partly a product of Kearns' return, but it's also attributable to his recent productivity. He's 4-for-25 since June 24.

* They serve Skyline chili here in the press box. Haven't tried yet.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 3, 2008; 7:00 PM ET
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Next: Holiday lineups (from the Great American Ball Park)

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