Nationals owner says payroll 'beyond topped out'

WASHINGTON (AP) - Washington Nationals owner Mark Lerner says the club's payroll is "beyond topped out" and that his family is "not going to do something where we're losing tens of millions of dollars a year."

In a rare, wide-ranging session with reporters before Washington's home opener against the Atlanta Braves on Friday, Lerner said the Nationals are still negotiating about their future Florida spring training home with current site Viera and possible new spot Palm Beach.

Even if the team decides to move its Grapefruit League base, Lerner said it's likely the Nationals will spend one or two more years in Viera.

He said season-ticket sales at Nationals Park were "a little bit ahead of last year," and "just short" of 20,000.


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