Rizzo says he wants Dunn and Willingham to stay

General manager Mike Rizzo met with the media a few minutes ago, in a kind of recap of the season’s first half. I’ll have more on the crux of what Rizzo said in a first-half recap tomorrow, but the two items you’re probably most interested in are Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham. While Rizzo said his preference is to keep both players, he reiterated the Nationals are open to deals and would consider moving either player if the Nationals got an extraordinary offer.

Dunn, whose contract is up after the season, has been a frequent subject of trade rumors. But Rizzo said his first preference would be to extend Dunn. “But like I said, we have to keep our options open to trade him if it impacts the club,” Rizzo said. “The third option is to keep him throughout the season and have him perform admirably for us like he has in the first half.”

Willingham is in his final year of arbitration after the season, and his name has also surfaced in trade rumors. But Willingham, Rizzo said “is part of the family, and we want him here long-term.”

Rizzo also said right-hander Jason Marquis threw his first live batting practice session on Sunday, but wasn’t ready to make any pronouncements about how soon the right-hander, who had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow in May, might return. “Like we always say, it’s not the day that you pitch. The day after is the telltale sign of how things went,” Rizzo said.