WASHINGTON -- Southpaw Doug Slaten hasn't pitched since early June because of a left sore elbow. But after almost two months of rest, Slaten is ready to begin a throwing program in Viera, Fla.

Slaten pitched in 23 games and had a 2.19 ERA. He last pitched on June 3 against the D-backs. In that game, he had problems throwing his breaking pitches and was placed on the disabled list the next day.

There isn't a timetable as to when Slaten will return to the big leagues.

Storen hopes to remain with Nationals

WASHINGTON -- Reliever Drew Storen said Wednesday night that he wants to stay with the Nationals.

He has heard his name in trade rumors -- including one that had him going to the Twins for center fielder Denard Span. But a baseball source said that the Nationals are not willing to trade Storen for Span, who is currently on a rehab assignment after suffering a concussion in a home-plate collision in early June.

Storen is having a solid season for Washington. Entering Thursday's action, Storen had 25 saves and a 2.68 ERA.

Storen said he was flattered that other teams would want his services.

"It is a compliment, but [trade rumors are] part of the business," Storen said.

Before the injury, Span was hitting .294 with a .361 on-base percentage in 56 games for the Twins. If the Nats were to acquire Span, he would be Washington's leadoff hitter. The club has tried Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, Jerry Hairston Jr., Roger Bernadina and Rick Ankiel at the leadoff spot, and none have worked out. They entered Thursday's finale vs. the Marlins hitting a combined .195 with a .266 on-base percentage.

Trade Include

Span is one of four center fielders -- along with B.J. Upton, Peter Bourjos and Michael Bourn -- the Nationals are scouting in the days leading up to Sunday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The baseball source also said that that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo would like to acquire Upton, who is hitting .227 with 15 home runs and 53 RBIs for the Rays, who are looking to add a shortstop and a catcher. It's has been known for several weeks that Tampa Bay has interest in Desmond, but two sources have insisted that Desmond is not going anywhere.

The Nationals are not comfortable with Roger Bernadina in center field and feel he is better suited as a corner outfielder. Their two other center fielders -- Ankiel and Hairston -- are considered bench players.

Gomes goes hitless in Nationals debut

WASHINGTON -- Left fielder Jonny Gomes made his Nationals debut on Thursday afternoon and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout in a 5-2 loss to the Marlins.

His debut came two days after Washington acquired his services from the Reds for two prospects.

Gomes' best opportunity to contribute offensively on Thursday came in the third inning with the bases loaded, but left-hander Brad Hand induced Gomes to hit into a double play to end the inning.

The veteran said he couldn't recall hitting into a double play with the bases loaded during his big league career.

"You have to go back into the archives to find [it] -- so a little bit out of my element and things like that," Gomes said. "I felt good at the plate and I came up a little bit short today. I want back out there."

Gomes is expected to platoon with Laynce Nix in left field and provide power off the bench.