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01/11/10 8:09 PM EST

Inbox: Zimmermann's status for 2010?

Beat reporter Bill Ladson answers Nats fans' questions

What is the status of right-hander Jordan Zimmermann? Will he be able to pitch in 2010?
-- Alex C., Montreal

Zimmermann, who had Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery this past August, probably won't return to Major League game action for more than a full year. The Nationals believe that he will make a nice comeback and be part of the future.

Would the Nationals consider bringing Felipe Lopez back?
-- Michael B, Washington.

I continue to receive a lot of questions about Lopez, and I will say it again: There is no chance he returns to Washington. He left on bad terms. A lot of people in the organization felt he did not give his best effort all the time.

If the Nationals don't sign a free agent second baseman like Orlando Hudson, I see them making a trade for one.

I think J.D. Martin should be given the chance to earn a spot on the big-league staff. What do you think?
-- Ken N., Ridgecrest, Calif.

There is no question he will get a chance. I thought he did a good job on the mound after he was promoted to the big leagues last year. But, like Garrett Mock, Martin needs to have a great Spring Training to make the team.

Will the Nats try to extend Adam Dunn's contract or is he here for just one year?
-- Ed J., Gallup, N.M.

That's a good question. I have to believe the Nationals are going to wait toward the end of the season to decide on Dunn's future. In order for the Nationals to win more games, Dunn must improve his defense at first base. I personally believe he belongs in the American League as a designated hitter.

I don't agree that the Nats should not be looking for offense. Surely, there is a lower-priced outfielder who can come in and challenge Elijah Dukes in right field. Am I wrong?
-- Bobby M., North Potomac, Md.

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I have a good feeling that Dukes is going to produce this year. After talking to him recently, Dukes knows what is at stake. He needs to have a good year in order to stay with the Nationals.

What kind of contract is Hudson is seeking?
-- Bill M., Fairfax, Va.

Based on what I was told, Hudson wants $9 million for 2010, and the Nationals are not willing to give Hudson that kind of money.

Do you think the Nats will have their middle-infield needs resolved before pitchers and catchers report next month?
-- Ken G., Montreal

I don't know. Based on his great reputation, I will think general manager Mike Rizzo will get it resolved before Opening Day. I still don't see Cristian Guzman playing second base. I think they will get somebody who is better defensively at the position.

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