Notes: Robinson to address team

Notes: Robinson holding a third team meeting

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Manager Frank Robinson is planning to hold another team meeting on Monday before his team takes on the Dodgers at Space Coast Stadium. It will be Robinson's third meeting this spring, and it's pretty much being held for the same reason -- the Nationals are just not playing fundamentally sound baseball.

The first meeting took place on March 8, a day after the Nationals lost to the Marlins, 22-12. At that meeting, Robinson told his players that they didn't play with enough energy, and expressed his frustration that they couldn't catch the ball consistently and were making fundamental mistakes.

Eight days later, Robinson spent most of his second team meeting going over signs with the players. According to two sources, the players had been confused about the signals being given by third-base coach Tony Beasley.

On Monday, Robinson will talk about the team's defensive lapses. In 21 games, the Nationals have committed 35 errors. On Sunday, they committed three in a 9-1 loss to the Dodgers. Two of them came in the first inning.

Damian Jackson booted the ball at second base, which allowed Rafael Furcal to score the first run of the game. Two outs later, Sandy Alomar Jr. hit a routine grounder to Ryan Zimmerman, who threw away the ball for a two-base error that allowed two more runs to score.

Three innings later, Kenny Lofton hit a routine ground ball to first baseman Daryle Ward, who bobbled the ball and allowed Lofton to reach base safely.

There likely should have been a fourth error. In the second inning, Zimmerman made a decent throw to first base on a Jose Cruz Jr. grounder, but Ward couldn't handle the throw, and Cruz was given a base hit.

"I'm not going to sit back and do nothing," said Robinson. "I'll come up with something by [Monday] to try to get the team's attention. I'm going to start focusing and executing. This just can't go on, Spring Training or not. ... This is something you can't, all of a sudden, turn it on and say, 'The season has started. We'll start playing the right way.' "

Robinson said that in his 17 years of managing professional baseball teams, he has never seen a team play this kind of sloppy defense.

"We are not asking them to do anything that you wouldn't ask a T-ball player to do -- catch the ball and throw it," he said. "We are making errors on routine, simple plays. It's not going to keep me up tonight, but it will occupy my thoughts."

Not what it seemed: On Sunday, left-hander Billy Traber pitched four innings and gave up six runs -- two earned -- on six hits. Robinson felt that Traber pitched well but was hurt by the bad defense behind him.

"In the first inning, the first couple of guys got on base, and he [settled down]," said Robinson. "He gave up one earned run that inning, but five is on the board. People are going to look at that and say that Traber pitched badly, and he didn't. We have our pitchers throwing more pitches than they should throw in games."

For his part, Traber said that wasn't rattled by the poor defense behind him.

"It can't be frustrating, because it would affect how I pitch," said Traber. "When something happens, you wipe it clean, and you let the guy know that it's all right. We are going to live again. We are going to have another shot."

Welcome back: Gary Majewski returned to the Nationals' Spring Training facility after representing Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. As was his teammate, Chad Cordero, Majewski was disappointed that he didn't see much work in the tournament.

Majewski pitched 2 2/3 innings and gave up a run in the Classic. It didn't help that a four-plus inning, 17-0 rout of South Africa put the pitching rotation out of whack for Team USA.

"That's an extra four innings that four guys could have thrown," said Majewski. "We have 10 relievers and were supposed to have a set schedule, but after that game, it kind of messed it up. I was throwing every five or six days instead of throwing every other day, like a regular reliever should. It's going to be tough to step it up these next two weeks before the season starts."

Majewski make his first Spring Training appearance on Sunday and gave up a two-run homer to Ricky Ledee in the fifth inning.

"I felt good," he said. "I just opened up [mechanically] a little bit on some of my pitches. Ledee was hacking, and he hit [the home run] to center field. I haven't pitched in five or six days. It's just one little thing. My arm feels great. I still have life on my fastball."

The Soriano report: Robinson said that Alfonso Soriano's being benched over the last three games of the World Baseball Classic won't make an impact on the Nationals' cause as far as having him play the outfield.

"I don't think that would have an affect on what his thinking is, as far as the situation or the decision he will make," said Robinson.

The Nationals are hoping that Soriano is ready to play the outfield, but he has repeatedly said that he wants to remain at second base, a position that belongs to Jose Vidro. Soriano declined to comment on Saturday whether he has changed his stance.

Robinson is planning to have a private meeting with Soriano once he arrives in camp.

You're out: Robinson and first-base coach Davey Lopes were ejected in the bottom of the third inning by home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt because, according to Robinson, someone in the Nationals dugout directed foul language toward him while arguing balls and strikes.

"[Wendelstedt] said, 'I'm out here to get my timing down, and I don't want anybody in my ear,' " said Robinson. "I said, 'This is Spring Training, and nobody can say anything to you? The game is supposed to be in silence?' He said, 'That's right.' "

Wendelstedt was not available for comment after the game.

Around the horn: The Nationals are 5-15-1 this spring. ... Catcher Brandon Harper was reassigned to Minor League camp, and outfielder Tyrell Godwin and infielder Bernie Castro were optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. Harper received only seven at-bats in eight games, Godwin hit .318 (7-for-22) with one home run and six RBIs, and Castro went 1-for-8 (.111) in 10 games. ... Outfielder Jose Guillen played another simulated game on Sunday morning, and didn't feel any pain. He is expected to start against the Dodgers on Monday evening and receive two at-bats. ... Livan Hernandez pitched in a Minor League game against Triple-A Richmond, the Braves' affiliate, on Sunday. He pitched six innings and gave up six runs on 10 hits (one of them a grand slam). He threw seven strikeouts and walked none. Catcher Brian Schneider caught Hernandez and went 2-for-4 with five RBIs. ... Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax went into the Nationals clubhouse to visit Robinson. After the meeting, Koufax jokingly told the media, "Grumpy [Robinson] is still in [the office]."

Coming up: The Nationals return to Space Coast Stadium on Monday to play the Dodgers for the second consecutive day. Right-hander Tony Armas Jr. will get the start for Washington, with Brad Penny getting the nod for Los Angeles.

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