March 20, 2012; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) during the spring training game against the New York Mets at Digital Domain Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
Davey Johnson correctly predicted when the Nationals' cut Andres Blanco this week that the Phillies would have interest in the 27-year-old Venezuelan infielder. Washington's skipper was right. Philadelphia signed Blanco this morning as they search for infield help while dealing with injuries to Chase Utley and Michael Martinez. The Nats cut veteran bench option Jason Michaels this week as well, but the 35-year-old outfielder apparently decided to remain with the organization and report to Triple-A Syracuse when the season begins. Roger Bernadina, who's flying back from his father's funeral in Curacao, was originally in this afternoon's lineup, but he wasn't going to be back in time for today's game, so he's replaced by Corey Brown, who'll hit seventh and play center...
According to reports by both the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore and the Washington Times' Amanda Comak, the Nationals' manager all-but confirmed that 23-year-old Nats' '08 19th Round pick Steve Lombardozzi would make the Opening Day roster when Johnson included the 2011 Minor League Gold Glove winner in a discussion of contingency plans should any of his infielders deal with injury issues this season. When it was pointed out that Lombardozzi's place on the roster hadn't been officially announced, Johnson jokingly told reporters, "You guys are sneaky."
Stephen Strasburg makes his sixth and final start of the Spring against St. Louis this afternoon, coming off a 5-hit, 5-inning shutout performance against the New York Mets last time out. On the Spring, the 23-year-old right-hander has given up 18 hits and nine runs, all earned, four home runs and five walks while striking out 14 in 19.2 IP. The '09 no.1 overall pick's next start after today will be in Wrigley Field on Opening Day. So close...
• Here's the lineup that will back Strasburg up this afternoon against the Cardinals:
- Steve Lombardozzi - 2B
- Danny Espinosa - SS
- Chad Tracy - 3B
- Jayson Werth - RF
- Adam LaRoche - 1B
- Jesus Flores - C
- Corey Brown - CF
- Brett Carroll - LF
- Stephen Strasburg - RHP