Notes: Soriano shifts focus to Classic

Notes: Soriano shifts focus to Classic

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Manny Acta, the manager of the Dominican Republic during the World Baseball Classic, announced on Monday that Nationals second baseman Alfonso Soriano will leadoff against Venezuela on Tuesday.

The Dominican team has been working out in the Astros' complex, and Soriano said on Monday afternoon that his mind these days is on representing his country, not on what position he will play for the Nationals.

Soriano has stated numerous times that he wants to remain at second base, but the position belongs to Jose Vidro.

"[The future with the Nationals is] something I have to think about, but after I play with the Dominican team," Soriano said. "After a while, we may have a problem or maybe everything will work out and everybody will be happy. So, we'll see."

The relationship between Soriano and manager Frank Robinson is off to a good start. Asked if he would play center field if requested only by Robinson, Soriano said, "I don't know, man. I don't have this in my mind. I'm not thinking about if I want to move, because I'm a second baseman in the [World Baseball Classic]. I don't know.

"When the World Baseball Classic finishes, I don't know how I'm going to feel mentally. It depends how I feel when I finish here. I have a good relationship with the manager. He knows what I think."

Soriano has been reading up on what's going on with the Nationals. He is aware about Jose Guillen's left wrist problems. Soriano was happy to learn that his good friend was going to be out seven to 10 days, not the three months that was originally reported.

"I tried to call him, but he didn't answer the phone. It's good for him and the team that he only going to be out for one week," Soriano said.

Asked what it means to have both him and Guillen in the lineup, Soriano said, "It's very good for the team, because we can add a lot of offense. I hope he stays healthy and me, too."

More on Vidro: Vidro played in his third consecutive game and went 0-for 2 in a 11-1 lost against Astros. He also committed an error in the game.

Vidro said that his right knee, which has been bothering him for more than two years, is still pain free, but that his legs were tired.

"Other than that, my body felt good. I have to get used to wearing the spikes again. My feet hurt and the ground is a little hard," he said. "Everything feels good. No problems at all."

Vidro will take the day off on Tuesday and start at second base against the Cardinals at Space Coast Stadium the following day. The plan for Vidro is to play three straight games and take a day off during Spring Training.

"He looked fine," Robinson said. "When I look at him, the question is, is the knee holding up? So far, so good. He gets the day off tomorrow and we'll look and see if he wants to play another three games."

Injury report: Catcher/first baseman Robert Fick had arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow on Monday. Dr. Tim Kremchek, who performed the surgery, removed three large, loose bodies. Fick will return to the Nationals' Spring Training complex in Viera, Fla., on Tuesday and is expected to begin hitting and throwing within a week. The club expects him to be ready for Opening Day against the Mets on April 3.

Infielder Damian Jackson was supposed to play against the Astros on Monday, but he was scratched because of an esophageal spasm, which means he has shortness a breath. He saw several doctors during the offseason and they don't know how he got it. Jackson is taking medication for the illness.

Jackson may play against the Marlins on Tuesday.

Reliever Kevin Gryboski was scheduled to pitch against the Astros on Monday, but he didn't make the trip to Kissimmee, Fla. because of a sore right forearm. He is listed as day-to-day.

Not so good: Starter Mike Basick struggled on the mound on Monday, pitching two-thirds of an inning against Houston and giving up six runs -- three earned. Since Basick didn't get out of the inning, Robinson was worried that he may not have enough pitchers for the nine-inning game.

"He wasn't real sharp today. When he got ahead of hitters, he couldn't finish them off. There were a lot of pitches in the strike zone," Robinson said.

Coming up: The Nationals return to Space Coast Stadium to play the Marlins at 1:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Ramon Ortiz will get the start, while Felix Rodriguez, Joe Horgan, Andrew Good and Jim Crowell will pitch in relief.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.