Two days after whiffing in a crucial spot to end the Dominican Republic’s WBC title hopes, Alfonso Soriano has the Nationals pulling their hair out. Though the question remains, how’d they manage to trade for him without knowing this was the likely result? From the AP’s Tim Walters.

Alfonso Soriano refused to play the outfield for the Washington Nationals in what was supposed to be his spring training debut Monday night, and general manager Jim Bowden said his biggest offseason acquisition will go on the disqualified list if he doesn’t agree to switch positions this week.

“The player refused to take the field, which we believe is a violation of his contract,” Bowden said.

Soriano, an All-Star second baseman, was listed as batting leadoff and playing left field on a lineup sheet posted in the Nationals’ clubhouse before Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But when the Nationals took the field in the top of the first, Soriano wasn’t there. Brandon Watson replaced him in the lineup, playing center field, and Ryan Church shifted from center to left.

I watched a tape of Boston’s 3-1 win over Baltimore from yesterday afternoon — Bronson Arroyo’s final appearance in a Red Sox uniform, as it turned out — and Mike Lowell seems as overmatched this spring as he was throughout 2005 for Florida. Lowell, 0 for 3 on Sunday (.207) appears to have as little confidence or presence with a bat in his hands as any position player I’ve ever seen. Perhaps it would be premature to say on the 20th of March that he’s totally washed up, but there’s not much evidence to the contrary.