Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
The Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins played to a 2-2 on Sunday afternoon. The NL East rivals go at it again this afternoon in Space Coast Stadium with new Nats' starter Dan Haren on the mound for the first time this Spring. And he'll have the Nationals' starting outfield backing him up.
Washington Nationals' outfielder Bryce Harper argued his way into today's lineup so that he could play alongside new Nats' center fielder Denard Span, in center, and Jayson Werth, in right. The 20-year-old, 2012 NL Rookie of the Year is 6 for 8 so far this Spring after a 3 for 3 day against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday. When he saw his name wasn't listed in today's lineup the 2010 no.1 overall pick reportedly went to his 70-year-old manager, Davey Johnson, to find out why. As Washington Post writer James Wagner quoted Johnson recounting the conversation, Harper asked, "'What am I doing out of the lineup? I want in the lineup,’" and the skipper acquiesced, knowing that trying to slow the youngest National down was pointless.
With Ryan Zimmerman still rehabbing his surgically-repaired shoulder the Nationals have Harper hitting second with Span leading off and Werth third against the Miami Marlins and right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, a 23-year-old former LA Dodgers' prospect acquired in the trade last summer that sent Hanley Ramirez to Los Angeles. The Nationals throw Dan Haren for the first time this Spring. The early reports on the 32-year-old former LA Angels' starter were that he was looking a little too good early in camp with his new team. Davey Johnson reportedly told Haren to take it easy and save some bullets for the season. After signing a 1-year/$13M dollar deal with Washington this winter, coming off a season in which a back injury affected his delivery, Haren has something to prove this year. He told reporters this winter, after he signed with the Nationals, that he thought he could have gotten a multi-year deal if not for the injury concerns.
Now Haren will seek to prove his doubters wrong, and prove the Nationals right for bringing him in and bolstering an already-strong rotation with a player D.C. GM Mike Rizzo has said this winter he expects to return to the form that's resulted in Haren having a career (119-97) record, a 3.66 ERA, 3.64 FIP, 7.60 K/9 and 1.89 BB/9 in ten major league seasons. Here's the lineup that will be backing Haren up this afternoon:
#Nationals lineup vs. MIA: Span 8, Harper 7, Werth 9, LaRoche 3, Tracy 5, Espinosa DH, Suzuki 2, Lombardozzi 4, Walters 6...Haren RHP.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) February 27, 2013
• Game time 1:05 pm EST. Today's game is being broadcast on 1580 AM in D.C. and it is available via MLB.com's Gameday Audio.