- Enrique Rojas, ESPNdeportes
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KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Odalis Perez wasn't in the group of pitchers and catchers who, in the last three days, reported to the Washington Nationals' spring training camp in Viera, Fla., and there is no known date for the arrival of the Dominican left-hander.
Washington has been unable to contact Perez, but the pitcher did pick up the call from ESPNdeportes.com.
Martin Arburúa, the player's agent, said that the Nationals could not contact his client, but Perez said that he asked him to renegotiate his original contract.
"I really do not understand what is happening. I am waiting for Odalis since Saturday, but nobody has given me a reason for his absence from the field," Nationals manager Manny Acta said to ESPNdeportes.com.
Nationals general manager Jim Bowden wouldn't say whether the Nationals have been in contact with Perez's agent.
"The agreement has been signed," Bowden told The Associated Press. "We expect Odalis to honor his agreement with the club."
Perez regrets his verbal approval to the team's offer of a minor league contract two weeks ago and would not sign it unless it is improved.
Perez and the Nationals had agreed in principle to a deal identical to the one that he got in 2008, for $850,000 if he makes the team at the end of the spring training.
"I thought it best and I prefer to sit in my house if the Nationals do not show more appreciation for my work," Perez said from Santo Domingo.
"Appreciate my work means to increase the value of the contract and guarantee it. I will not accept any minor league contracts with no safeguards. I instructed my agent to report my position to the Nationals," Perez said. He also added that he's not negotiating with other clubs.
In 2008, Perez was 7-12 with a 4.34 ERA in 159 2/3 innings over 30 starts. He came to spring training via invitation, but he did such a good job that he earned the honor of pitching on Opening Day.
Nationals president Stan Kasten recently called Perez's performance as a "great job."
"The first time I became aware that something was happening was when ESPNdeportes.com contacted me to talk about the issue. The team informed me that there is a contract between the Nationals and Odalis in the commisioner's office," Acta said.
Perez, 31, has a lifetime record of 73-82 and 4.46 ERA with four teams in 10 major league seasons since 1998.
"I will play in the World Classic for the Dominican Republic and show everybody that I'm in great shape," Perez said. "I hope to find a team that values me, otherwise I'll go home."
Enrique Rojas is a reporter for ESPNdeportes.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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