Notes: Soriano's transition continues

Notes: Soriano's transition continues

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals slugger Alfonso Soriano said on Tuesday that he is still uncomfortable in the outfield. He has played seven games in left field so far.

It is easy for him to catch a routine fly ball, but, according to Soriano, he has serious problems when a left-handed hitter hits a ball that slices away from him.

With one out in the first inning on Sunday, Astros switch-hitter Lance Berkman hit a line drive to left field. It looked like Soriano had a beat on the ball, but it sailed way over his head for a double and Willy Taveras scored all the way from first base.

On Tuesday, Indians switch-hitter Victor Martinez hit a soft fly ball down the left-field line. Soriano slowly ran after what was a catchable ball and it dropped in front of him for a double.

"The balls hit by the lefties move a lot," Soriano said. That's something I have to be a little bit more worried about. I have to get more concentration. The ball from the righties are not a problem."

Soriano said he is practicing his skills in the outfield when his team is taking batting practice.

"When the guys are taking BP, it's like being in a game," Soriano said. "I'm working on seeing the ball and [having] a good jump to the ball."

Roster moves: The Nationals transferred pitchers Luis Ayala and Brian Lawrence from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. The club then selected the contracts of shortstop Royce Clayton and first baseman Daryle Ward from Triple-A New Orleans.

Clayton, who will make $1 million, is penciled in as the Opening Day shortstop, while the Nationals are still deciding Ward's fate. Washington's front office has been raving about Ward's bat all spring. If he makes the 25-man roster, Ward will make $700,000. He is battling Michael Tucker for the final position spot on the roster.

Around the horn: The Nationals are 9-19-1 this spring. ... Outfielder Jose Guillen has played only seven games this spring, but he has three home runs and eight RBIs. ... Ryan Zimmerman leads the team in home runs (seven) and RBIs (15) this spring.

Coming up: On Wednesday, the Nationals travel to Vero Beach, Fla., to play the Dodgers for the fifth time this spring. Washington is 1-2-1 against Los Angeles.

Livan Hernandez will get the start for the Nationals, while Derek Lowe will get the nod for the Dodgers in the 1:05 p.m. ET start at Holman Stadium.

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