Soriano was pulled by Nationals manager Frank Robinson for not
running out a popup during Washington's 9-5 victory over the New
York Mets in 10 innings Wednesday night.
"That's the rule around here," Robinson said. "They've all
been told. It's been said more than one time."
Soriano, hit in the helmet by a pitch in the second inning,
popped up to the catcher in fair territory in the sixth and hardly
budged from the batter's box. He said he thought the ball might
fade into foul territory, but Robinson's decision was fair and he
wasn't surprised by it.
Soriano's habit of not running balls out also agitated Yankees
manager Joe Torre when Soriano played in New York.
"Everyone knows how Frank is. He doesn't ask for much," said
Nationals teammate Jose Guillen, who hit a go-ahead homer in the
Acquired from Texas in a December trade, Soriano refused to play
the outfield one day this spring before reluctantly agreeing to
switch positions from second base. He was asked if he wants to play
"Yeah, why not?" he said. "I feel comfortable. I like the
team. I think we have a good team."
Zimmerman hit a tying homer off new Mets closer Billy Wagner in
the ninth, and Guillen connected for a two-run shot off loser Jorge
Nick Johnson hit a three-run drive in the sixth to start
Washington's comeback from a 4-0 deficit against right-hander Brian
Bannister, who began his big league career with 5 1/3 hitless
Patterson said he doesn't think he'll need to miss a turn, but
Robinson said that might be something to consider.
Wagner entered in the ninth to protect a 4-3 lead, but Zimmerman
led off and drove a 3-2 fastball over the left-field fence to tie
"Pretty good guy to get it off of," Zimmerman said. "To hit
it off someone like that makes it even more special."
The first amateur draft pick in Nationals history a year ago,
the third baseman out of Virginia hit .397 in 58 at-bats last
season and is considered one of baseball's most promising rookies.
"Don't put him in Cooperstown. Slow down," Robinson said.
"It's great to see him hit it -- I don't care if he hit it off Joe
Zimmerman and Wagner know each other from workouts at Virginia.
"I wanted to blow his doors off," Wagner said. "I don't want
to go to the Cavaliers banquet and hear this."
"Hanging slider right in the middle. What do you expect me to
do in that situation?" Guillen said.
New York scored on Felix Rodriguez's balk in the bottom half.
Washington hit only 117 home runs last season, fewest in the
majors. Wagner gave up just six in 77 2-3 innings for Philadelphia
before signing a $43 million, four-year contract with the Mets.
The hard-throwing lefty closed out a 3-2 victory in the season
Bannister, the son of former big league pitcher Floyd Bannister,
got his first major league start 30 years after his dad was the No.
1 pick in the 1976 amateur draft by Houston out of Arizona State.
"It was a lot of fun," the rookie said.
With his parents sitting behind home plate, Bannister allowed
only two hits in six innings.
"It's a big thrill. It's hard to explain. It's kind of
surreal," his father said during the seventh-inning stretch.
Showing confidence, poise and a major league curveball, the
25-year-old right-hander did not allow a hit until Vidro's one-out
double in the sixth. He got a warm ovation from the sparse crowd of
19,557 on a 44-degree night.
Bannister then hit Guillen with a pitch and gave up Johnson's
opposite-field homer for his first hit of the season. But Bannister
regrouped after a visit from pitching coach Rick Peterson and
struck out Clayton with a runner on second to end the inning.
"Inside he's really excited and nervous, but he's able to
channel it outside to where it's probably an asset for him," said
Floyd Bannister, an All-Star with Seattle in 1982, when he led the
AL with 209 strikeouts.
Soriano said he was fine after getting plunked in the second,
though his headgear might have been cracked. He said he expects to
be ready to play Thursday night, and Robinson said there will be no
David Wright had an RBI single for New York. ... Nady's
home run was his first with the Mets. It made him 5-for-5 with his
new team after a huge debut Monday. ... Patterson gave up four
runs, four hits and three walks in four innings, striking out