The 2009 Washington Nationals: Who Will Still Be A National On Monday?

Anderson Hernandez's Injury Opens Up Infield...

What does Anderson Hernandez's trip to the DL with a hamstring injury mean for the Washington Nationals' 2009 Opening Day roster? Count Alberto Gonzalez in, according to Washington Post writer Chico Harlan, who notes in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "Hernandez Will Start Year On DL", that the injury also opens up an opportunity for someone else in camp, as Mr. Harlan writes, "A final roster spot remains for a position player, almost certainly to be filled by either a third catcher (Wil Nieves or Josh Bard), Kory Casto or Alex Cintron." Cintron has played mostly short and second in his career, while Casto's played the outfield, first and third, but Casto is not a second baseman, and with Hernandez out for now, and Ronnie Belliard next in line at second, the situation would seem to favor Cintron, even though Casto's out of options and would have to clear waivers to get assigned to the minors. Kory Casto might be out of luck...

The Nationals need a third catcher as much as they need a seventh outfielder. But judging by the last few years in the franchise's history, it probably does make sense to have extra outfielders around since it's almost a certainty some injury will occur in the first few days of the season, when someone's groin or hamstring doesn't hold up under the stress of the first real sprint, slide or dive. So having Josh Willingham to play the outfield if Elijah Dukes, Austin Kearns or Lastings Milledge goes down, or if Adam Dunn, who'll start the season in left, were to move to first in the event of what many see as an inevitable injury to Nick Johnson...

...For once the Washington Nationals are prepared. Even if one of the starting three, (which I'm startled to see looks like it might be Dunn, Milledge and Kearns), goes down, with Willingham able to play left or possibly first, Dunn (supposedly) capable of playing left and first, and even right when necessary, as in the WBC, and Elijah Dukes pushing for time in center and right, the Nationals shouldn't end up with Willie Harris tied for second on the team in HR's again...So now, watch them trade Nick Johnson this weekend...one last time, DO NOT TRADE NICK JOHNSON.

John Lannan Gets Bad Outing Out Of His System...

His pitches were high in the zone and he was behind in the count. That's what DC lefty John Lannan told MLB.com's Bill Ladson the problem was yesterday, in an article entitled, "Nats come up short in loss vs Jays", after Lannan allowed 10 hits, 3 walks and 7 ER over 4.2 IP against the Toronto Blue Jays in the last Spring Training start he'll make before meeting the Marlins on Monday in Miami. 

Lannan ends Spring Training with a (1-2) record and a 3.97 ERA in 22.2 IP over which he allowed 25 hits, 12 R, 10 ER, 1 HR and 5 walks while collecting 5 K's.. Last spring, Lannan was described by MLB.com's Bill Ladson as, "...the Nationals' best pitcher in Spring Training (after) going  (2-0) with a 2.18 ERA In 5 games", but he lost the battle for the final spot in the Washington rotation to a high-kicking Matt Chico and was scheduled to pitch for the Columbus Clippers when Chad Cordero's trip to the DL prompted his return to the Nationals' roster. DC Manager Manny Acta told MLB.com's Bill Ladson in the same 4/5/08 article quoted above, which is entitled, "Lannan happy to be back in Majors", that he liked, "'[Lannan's] command. It's very good for a guy his age, especially being left-handed...He is able to hit that glove consistently and he shows no fear." Lannan's legendary cool will be tested on Monday, though it's the Marlins' opener, so the pressure's on them...

GAME THREAD...Washington at Philadelphia

Scott Olsen vs Jamie Moyer on the mound...1:05 pm EST, Washington and Philadelphia from the Phillies' Spring home, Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater, Florida, in the last game in Florida before the Nationals head north to Norfolk, VA and Nationals Park for two straight exhibition games with the Orioles...

Who's Watching The Nationals' Last Spring Training Game In Florida?

Before the Game...Check this out...

Paul Francis Sullivan of Sully Baseball.com emailed me to let me know that he'd taken a second look at DC baseball history for a series of posts he's written comparing each MLB team's best All-Time Home Grown team and the best All-Time Acquired team, this time excluding the Expos, and sticking solely to the nation's capitals' "original Senators, expansion Senators and the Nationals." Which Nationals' starter makes the "Home Grown" starting rotation? Who starts at third for the "Home Grown" team...over Ryan Zimmerman?

Who's Watching The Nationals?

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