Washington Nationals: Spring Training 2010: Bench Battles.

With Washington Nationals' Skipper Jim Riggleman still deciding how he'll use Ian Desmond in 2010, senior advisor to the DC GM Mike Rizzo, Davey Johnson, offered his own advice in MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article this weekend entitled, "Johnson shares his view on Desmond", where he was quoted stating that he didn't think a utility role was a good idea for the young infielder, "To do that for somebody that doesn't know the pitchers and the league, it's not a good thing. You don't want to have rookies in that role."

MLB.com's Mr. Ladson broke down the rest of the decisions Mr. Riggleman still has to make this Spring in a post on his blog All Nats All The Time entitled, "Nyjer wants to hit lefties; Trying to figure out bench", where he writes that, "There are 15 players vying for roles off the bench," with Willie Harris and Wil Nieves two of the fifteen who are, "all but locks for the bench," which leaves eleven players vying for the final four spots on the roster given that Mr. Riggleman decides to carry just 11 pitchers instead of twelve.

The list of players Mr. Riggleman has to choose from: 

AFTER THE JUMP...

• The list of players Mr. Riggleman has to choose from:

"Outfielders Roger Bernadina, Chris Duncan...Justin Maxwell, Jerry Owens and Willy Taveras, infielders Eric Bruntlett, Ian Desmond, Alberto Gonzalez, Mike Morse, Pete Orr and Josh Whitesell and catchers Jamie Burke (and) Devin Ivany..." 

...Willie Harris is expected to play the outfield in 2010, after helping out in the infield occassionally the last few seasons, and Wil Nieves will split time behind the plate with Pudge until Jesus Flores is healthy, so Mr. Riggleman has to select 4 players, (1 OF, 3 IF? 2 IF, 2 OF?) to play behind Ryan Zimmerman, Cristian Guzman, Adam Kennedy and Adam Dunn around the infield, and Josh Willingham, Nyjer Morgan and Elijah Dukes left to right in the outfield, who are you picking? Can Roger Bernandina and Justin Maxwell separate themselves from Duncan, Owens and Taveras, who were brought in to compete with the Nationals' in-house candidates? Do you go with an all-purpose player like Eric Bruntlett or Pete Orr, who can back up at any position? Mike Morse who can play first and third, or Alberto Gonzalez and Ian Desmond, who can fill in for the middle infielders? Do you take Roger Bernadina or Justin Maxwell along with Willie Harris, providing talented defensive replacements for any of the outfielders? Or go for the speed off the bench Willy Taveras could provide? Do Jerry Owens and Josh Whitesell stand a chance? It's just about a month away from Opening Day...and there a lot of games to play before Mr. Riggleman decides...

Who's on the bench when the season starts?

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