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02/23/09 11:37 AM EST

Nationals release no-show Perez

Left-hander did not report to Spring Training over contract issue

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals released left-hander Odalis Perez on Monday morning because of his failure to report to Spring Training.

Perez signed a Minor League deal with the Nationals on Feb. 5. If he made the team, Perez would have made $850,000, the same salary he made last year. But when pitchers and catchers reported on Feb. 14, Perez was a no-show and hasn't had any contact with the team since that date.

The mandatory reporting date for all players was Sunday.

It turned out that Perez regretted giving his agent approval to agree to terms with Washington because he wanted a Major League deal. But the Nationals had no intention of renegotiating the contract.

"He would not return our phone calls and after talking internally with [manager] Manny Acta, [pitching coach] Randy St. Claire and the organization, we all feel it's important that we want players that want to be here and help us win," general manager Jim Bowden said. "We made that decision this morning. We left messages yesterday for his agent, we left messages for Odalis. Again, I left messages for him this morning. They made their point pretty clear. We need to turn the page. We have a lot of pitchers in camp that are committed to helping us win. "

Perez, 31, pitched for Washington last year and went 7-12 with a 4.34 ERA in 30 starts.

Perez is expected to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, which starts March 3.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.