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Soriano wants to stay in D.C.; no progress on deal

WASHINGTON -- Alfonso Soriano says he wants to stay with the
Washington Nationals, but he doubts he'll reach an agreement on a
new contract before the July 31 trade deadline.

"I don't think so. I think that my agent and the club, they
have to talk a lot," Soriano said after homering in Washington's
7-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. "If we have something
working, we need a little bit more time."

The five-time All-Star said he spoke with incoming team
president Stan Kasten on Thursday, but they didn't discuss contract
details. Soriano added that he doesn't think his agent, Diego Bentz, has
discussed numbers with the Nationals, either.

Reached by telephone, Bentz wouldn't say whether contract
proposals have been extended by him or the club.

"That doesn't really mean anything. The bigger question is:
'Does he like it there or not? Does he feel comfortable there?'
Obviously. You can tell by the way he's playing," Bentz said.

Soriano joined Washington last offseason in a trade from Texas, and
the Nationals shifted him from second base to left field. Soriano
is batting .288 with 31 homers, 62 RBI and 25 steals.

Soriano is slated to become a free agent at season's end; the
Nationals figure to be able to get top prospects in return if they
deal him.

During Sunday's game, Kasten said he's had "numerous
conversations" with Soriano and his agent.

"I have been told unequivocally, from both of them, they would
like to remain here. No doubt about that," Kasten said.

"We love Alfonso, we love what he does -- lots of people do.
Let's face it: He's a potential MVP candidate. It goes without
saying that he's a superior player," Kasten added. "But, you
know, our No. 1 mission is getting to be the best team we can as
soon as possible."

One potential stumbling block if the sides try to agree on a new
contract: Soriano said he wants a no-trade clause, something Kasten
pointed out Sunday he refused to include in contracts he negotiated
in recent years while an executive with the Atlanta Braves, the
NBA's Hawks and the NHL's Thrashers.