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Nationals feel they can contend now

Sunday - 3/18/2012, 6:15am  ET

By ROB MAADDI
AP Sports Writer

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Gio Gonzalez heard the rumors in the offseason that the Philadelphia Phillies were interested before the Washington Nationals traded for him.

He's just fine with that. He says he's happy to be with Washington.

These aren't the same old Nationals, who are used to being the doormats of the NL East. They haven't had a winning season since they were the Montreal Expos, and have finished last five times during their seven years in Washington.

But the Nationals are optimistic they can make a move in a division that might be even tougher now than recent years.

Closer Drew Storen says the Nationals want to make it to the playoffs.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)