And Batting Second For Your Washington Nationals, Nick (Nick) Johnson (Johnson).

If the rain had subsided even for a short time yesterday, allowing the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies to sneak in the second of a three game DC series, I might have had a chance to meet Rob Dibble, and Nick Johnson, according to the lineup Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin posted this afternoon on the Nationals Journal, in an article entitled, "Rainout Ramifications", would have been hitting second in the Nationals' lineup against Philly right-hander Joe Blanton as Washington tried to win their first game this season. 

  1. Anderson Hernandez - 2B
  2. Nick Johnson - 1B
  3. Ryan Zimmerman - 3B
  4. Adam K. Dunn - LF
  5. Elijah Dukes - CF
  6. Austin Kearns - RF
  7. Jesus Flores - C
  8. Alberto Gonzalez - SS

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Now, Johnson's move to the 2-spot is, obviously, not the only change from what was the Nationals' Opening Day lineup...Anderson Hernandez, who was injured, is back at second for the injured (but due to return) Ronnie Belliard, Elijah Dukes is in at center for the Syracuse Chiefs' new CF Lastings Milledge, and Alberto Gonzalez is in for the injured Cristian Guzman at short, but moving Johnson to the 2-spot is certainly the most interesting adjustment. (ed. note - "With the refusal, even now, to play Willingham a close second...")

Johnson hasn't hit second since 2006, and then only in 2 games for the Nationals, and before that it was 15 games in 2005, 2 in '04, and you have have to go back to 2003 when he was still with the Yankees to find a significant sample of Johnson hitting second, when he took 237 of his 324 AB's behind another former Yankee and Nationals' leadoff hitter, Alfonso Soriano. 

That season, in that spot, Nick Johnson hit .304, (72 H in 237 AB's over 64 games), with a .430 OBP, .502 SLG, 14 doubles, 11 HR's, 36 RBI's, (5 steals? Really? Nick?), 48 walks and 40 K's. Of course, an admittedly enhanced Jason Giambi hit behind Johnson for most of that season, so he probably saw his share of hittable pitches, but he still had to hit them, so his production's no less impressive. But let's not mistake Anderson Hernandez and his career .283 OBP for Alfonso Soriano, who, free-swinging as he is, still had a 38 HR's, 91 RBI's and a .338 OBP. 

A change might do Nick Johnson some good, however, since, even though he has been exceptional defensively, he's shown no power in the first 6 games, with only 1 double, 1 RBI and 6 hits in 22 at-bats, and his baseball-reference.com page where I gathered most of these stats, which is sponsored by the Nationals Review, has a note wishing Johnson and his OPS well, (Maybe Doghouse can explain that joke to everyone in the comments section?)...though how much you can judge Johnson after just six games when he hasn't played regularly since May of '08 is a legitimate question...(ed. note - "He's worth it for his glove alone, but I'm sure Nick's bat will come around.")

It's Blanton going tomorrow against the Nationals according to most reports, so I imagine you'll see that same lineup, and Nick Johnson will get his first AB's in the 2-spot since 9/23/06.

Further Roster Adjustments And Notes And Links... 

As MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported yesterday in an article entitled, "Nats call up Bernadina from Triple-A", Elijah Dukes' protege Roger Bernadina is on his way back up to the majors to replace Lastings Milledge on the roster. Shortly after Bernadina's promotion was reported, Steven at FJB, had an interesting article about the move entitled, "So What Message Does This Send", which asks exactly how the player Steven dubs "The Flailing Dutchman" is an improvement. Brian Oliver at the Nationals Farm Authority took a look, in a post entitled, "Jordan Zimmermann's Debut", at what the rainout meant to the impending debut of the Washington Nationals' right-handed sensation. Still no word from Bad Nats. (Boo!) estopple08 of 1500 South Capitol St. is following the Nationals from Japan, and he took a look back at the Nationals' stats over the first 7 games of '09 in a post  entitled, "A Look Back At 7 Successive Defeats". (Pardon the loose translation estopple)...While over at mlbtraderumors.com, (as ROSCOEtheNATSfan kindly pointed out, thanks), there's a link to an article at the Chicago Sun Times, where writer Joe Cowley throws a hypothetical deal out there for everyone to ponder in a quick post entitled, "Rumor to Ponder", where Mr. Cowley suggests that the Sox should look at Washington's TAWH, The Amazing Willie Harris...And finally, Manny Acta on his MASN blog, reached out to the Nationals fans after the home opener in a post entitled, "Tough Start...Staying Positive", where he explains what he thinks has gone wrong so far and why he thinks the Nationals will get better. (ed. note - Are any other Managers in the league writing weekly blogs?")

They'll try it again tonight...just after 7:00 pm EST...Shairon Martis vs Jumpin' Joe Blanton. The Old Capital vs The Nation's Capital. Youth vs The WS Champs. Flores vs Ultey. DC vs Philly, don't tell me there's no rivalry. You strike Howard out this time, Sa-ool, alright?

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