Washington Nationals' utility man Steve Lombardozzi started 29 and played 41 games total in left field last season as the rookie filled in where necessary with the NL East Champs. Davey Johnson was impressed with the young infielder's versatility last season and expressed some regret toward the end of the year about how little time Lombardozzi was seeing once the Nats' starters had returned to full strength and were back on the field. "Lombo was basically a regular for 75% of the season," Johnson told reporters, "Now that everybody's doing the things that they're capable of doing, it's going to be harder for me to get him the at bats."
Johnson was impressed with what then 23-year-old Minor League Gold Glove winner at second was able to accomplish in a difficult situation in 2012. "Lombo has been impressive because he has been adjusting to a very difficult role this year," Johnson said, "I mean, left fielder, second base, now he's back in kind of a utility role. But he's more experienced..."
Lombardozzi played one game in left in September 2012, but for the most part returned to his role as a utility infielder. Before today, he hadn't played the outfield at all early this season, but Nats' skipper Davey Johnson has him in left field for the series finale with Chicago. Tyler Moore is 3 for 26 with a home run in eight games so far this month and was 1 for 8 with two Ks in the first two games of the series with the Cubs. Eury Perez was called up to take Jayson Werth's place on the roster when the veteran outfielder hit the DL. Instead of giving either of the two, or Roger Bernadina another start in the outfield, Davey Johnson's turned to Lombardozzi in left for the first time this season.
Here's today's lineup for the 1:35 pm EST finale with the Cubs:
Today's Mother's Day lineup vs. CHI: Span 8, Lombo 7, Harper 9, Zimmerman 5, LaRoche 3, Desmond 6, Espinosa 4, Suzuki 2, Gonzalez 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) May 12, 2013
Bryce Harper returns to the lineup for the third of three with Chicago in D.C. after missing the previous two games after having a surgical procedure for an ingrown toenail. Before he sat out the last two games, he was 3 for 23 over the last seven games, leaving him with a .302/.383/.629 line so far in his second major league season.
Game Time: 1:35 pm EST. Gio Gonzalez vs Scott Feldman in the rubber match.