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Nationals not pursuing Manny

Nats not pursuing Manny

WASHINGTON -- There have been several reports recently that the Nationals have expressed interest in free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez. Not so, according to general manager Jim Bowden.

Ramirez is 36 years old and had one of his best seasons in 2008, hitting a combined .332 with 37 home runs and 121 RBIs for the Red Sox and Dodgers, but at his age, he wouldn't figure in the Nationals' long-term plans.

"We are not pursuing Manny Ramirez," Bowden said in an e-mail.

The Nationals are looking for a left-handed-hitting slugger, however, and they are pursuing free agents Mark Teixeira and Adam Dunn, along with Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, which was reported by MLB.com a day before the annual General Managers Meetings in Dana Point, Calif.

The Nationals are also looking for a center fielder and have expressed interest in Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who was acquired from the Athletics as part of the Matt Holliday trade, which became official on Wednesday.

Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd acknowledged he has talked to opposing GMs about the left-handed-hitting Gonzalez.

"We like him, but no more than we like some of the players we have in our system, and we're not afraid to send him to Triple-A if we feel that's what he needs," O'Dowd said.

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Gonzalez has been on the Nationals' wish list since 2007. He was signed by the Diamondbacks as a non-drafted free agent on Aug. 3, 2002, and became one of the team's top prospects. Gonzalez's best season in the Minor Leagues was in 2006, when he led the Arizona farmhands with 99 RBIs and ranked fifth with 23 homers.

A little over a year later, the Diamondbacks traded Gonzalez to the Athletics as part of an eight-player deal on Dec. 14, 2007.

Gonzalez made his Major League debut on May 30, 2008, with Oakland and hit .242 with four home runs and 26 RBIs.

Last year's center fielder for the Nationals was Lastings Milledge, who was adequate at the position. However, the team considers him as a corner outfielder.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. Thomas Harding contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["hot_stove" ] }