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Dunn To Participate In WBC

Last night, Adam Dunn received a call from Davey Johnson. The Team USA manager, preparing his team for the upcoming World Baseball Classic, had a question: Did Dunn want to temporarily leave his new team for an even newer team?

This morning, after speaking with Manager Manny Acta, Dunn committed to the WBC, a tournament that will take Dunn away from the Washington Nationals just as he adapts to his new surroundings. The WBC tournament begins on March 5, but today, Dunn departed for Clearwater, Fla., to join with the US team.

In the previous four days, Johnson's team has lost four players -- including outfielders Brad Hawpe and Grady Sizemore -- from its roster.

"I didn't want to do anything until I talked to Manny, because I think that's only fair," Dunn said today, just before leaving. "As soon as I talked to him, he was very ecstatic about it."

Dunn figured that the benefits of the tournament -- especially the competitive atmosphere -- outweighed whatever problems resulted from the time missed. Questions remain about whether the Nationals will use Dunn at first base or in the outfield, but during the first weeks of spring training, and even during the first week of exhibition games, Dunn has gotten work at both spots.

"I think I've played everywhere they want me to play," Dunn said. "Hopefully. If they don't want me playing catcher or something."

Acta, who helped coach the Dominican team in the 2006 WBC, has long been one of the tournament's ardent supporters. The Nationals now have two members of their 40-man roster, including reliever pitcher Saul Rivera (Puerto Rico), participating in the WBC.

"He's excited, because I told him about it," Acta said of his conversation with Dunn. "I told him every game counts. It's important. It's intense. It seems like you have to win every game because of the format, and he was gung-ho about that."

NOTE: Catcher Jesus Flores was diagnosed after today's game with a right elbow strain. He is scheduled for an MRI tomorrow, but the team does not believe the injury is serious.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 1, 2009; 3:44 PM ET
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Good for Dunn, OUCH for the Nationals. At least this will give players like Willingham, Whitney & yes, even Eldred & DaMeat more plate appearances with the big club, for what its worth.

Posted by: BinM | March 1, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Sec 204 Row K Seat 11

Jimbo is gone. I guess can close up shop. But I guess, Lernersarecheao is still a go aand after TH's post, CIL can sign in as coverageisserverelylacking. Me, I am going to enjoy my twenty games in the new season.

Posted by: ehardwick | March 1, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Can someone name me one other player in the WBC that is with a new MLB team?

Posted by: Keenan1 | March 1, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

BinM, I'm inclined to share your views on Dunn's participation.

ehardwick, don't forget about JB's domain reservation for MANNYMUSTGO. I suspect that there may also be an IHATEBOZ site in the works.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 1, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm late to the party on commenting about Bowden, but wanted to offer the following:

Today he did the right thing. For four years he has worked hard to build this franchise. There should be no doubt that he did his best. For that we owe him our thanks for the effort. By all accounts he is a hard worker. Congratulations on the effort.

It was time for the Bowden era to end. His position was unworkable once the Smiley issue escalated. We don't know if he is inncoent or guilty, but the organization needed to move on regardless. So thanks are offered for the self sacrifice.

Now its up to the Lerners and Kasten to ensure that the next GM has the necessary assets to accomplish the job.

Posted by: natbiscuit | March 1, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Not only was I getting tired of having one player after another bail from the WBC (I think that someone has to re-think the dates and process...Oh, wait, that would be Bud the Dumb, who can't think)but I honestly think that this was perfect for the Nats.

They really have a good idea of what Dunn can and can't do, but now they will have a very good opportunity to look at the other four (five?) possibilities, giving them more playing time and allowing at least one of them to eliminate himself and (possibly)providing a carrot for someone to go after.

Posted by: Catcher50 | March 1, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

This is what I have worried about for a long time:

"Then, I thought... screw that! Bodes is toast! Leatherpants is gone! No more ex-Reds! No more media showboating! No more toolsy outfielders who can't play! No more comparing B-level prospects to Tom Seaver and Mike Schmidt! No more Jim Bowden!!!!!!!!!!!!"

That's from Steven on Capitol Hill's side-project. The only problem is none of those things are going to end, except the leather pants (one hopes). Everything else is exactly what always occurs on a last place team that's rebuilding from nothing.

But maybe the bloodlust is sated for awhile and with a barely missed sacrificial goat down, we can cage the monsters inside us long enough to enjoy a season like baseball fans.

Hey, let's play two.

Posted by: Section506 | March 1, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

One of the OP's is reporting that Flores will have an MRI due to an elbow strain.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 1, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

right on target, natbiscuit

Posted by: 1of9000 | March 1, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Dunn in WBC is SNM (serious Nats mistake).
Mark my words, this will result in a season-long series of negative repercussions.
Big mistake!

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | March 1, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

I asked in a previous blog if it might be time for Jim Bowden to be relieved as the general manager of the Nationals. Not only was his tenure tainted with controversy distracting to the ball club, but the club's record went steadily downhill under his guardianship.

Despite the recent addition of Adam Dunn, I wasn't always that pleased with the Nats becoming Cincinnati North. Living in Asheville,NC (the No. 1 Nats fan there) I can watch Cincinnati regularly on Sports South and they've become mediocre over the years. The announcers there are more taken with Bronson Arroyo's music career than his pitching prowess. They seem resigned to mediocrity there despite players like Dunn, Ken Griffey (one of my favorites) and others. Exchanging players with Washington during the Bowden years wasn't helping either team.

As a former D.C. native - actually PG County, MD - who has suffered the loss of two Senators teams, I was tickled to death to see Washington get a team again. (I lived in Hagerstown during that time until moving to Asheville in June, 2006.) I want to see this team rise to respectability, and I hope that quickly signing a new general manager will speed that process. Go, Nats!

Posted by: sfr123 | March 2, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

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