Nationals' Skipper Matt Williams On Lineup For Grapefruit League Opener

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

There are a few veterans taking the trip to Port St. Lucie, Florida's Tradition Field for Friday afternoon's Grapefruit League opener with the New York Mets. Washington Nationals' new skipper Matt Williams talked about putting the lineup together for the game...

Nate McLouth is leading off. Danny Espinosa is hitting second and playing second base. Ryan Zimmerman is batting third and hitting there. Veteran first baseman Adam LaRoche is playing first and hitting cleanup. Ian Desmond hitting fifth? Wilson Ramos sixth? [Nationals fans cheer.] Tyler Moore is the DH. Scott Hairtson's playing left field with Eury Perez penciled in batting ninth and playing center. The first Grapefruit League game of the spring is a road game for Washington in Port St. Lucie, Florida's Tradition Field, but the Nats are bringing veterans with them for new manager Matt Williams' Spring Training debut on the bench.

Williams talked today about putting together his first lineup as skipper.

He said he put the lineup together with the big picture in mind.

"There's no getting around going on the road here, so we try to space that out as much as possible for our veteran guys certainly." - Matt Williams on veterans making road trips

"Just planning the whole thing out for spring," he told reporters this afternoon. "Understanding that, one, we want to get a look at guys. Two, we want to stack our main guys to ramp at the end of spring, certainly get more playing time, as everybody knows, you just ramp it up. And, of course, the road trip as opposed to a home game. Making sure that we kind of space that out. There's no getting around going on the road here, so we try to space that out as much as possible for our veteran guys certainly. So there's really not much to it other than trying to set the next few games, make sure everybody gets in, try to get everybody in the first couple of them and go from there."

Williams has been clear that his veterans will be making road trips this spring.

"There's no getting around it," he explained. "With the frequency in which we want them to play then you have to. There's a stretch in the middle of spring where we have a bunch of home games in a row, but other than that, I mean, we're on the road a lot, so we've got to get them out there and get them going."

Asked if that meant Jayson Werth would be making road trips too, Williams laughed.

"It certainly does," he said. "It most certainly does."

Taylor Jordan was announced as the starter for Friday afternoon's game against the Mets. Williams explained on Tuesday that after the 25-year-old right-hander the Nationals will run a lot of relievers out to the mound. He said today he would like to get two innings out of his starters the first time around.

"You want to get out there, hopefully they get out, they breeze through the first and you get them a second and see where they're at pitch-wise," Williams said, but there won't be any strict pitch counts.

"They've had multiple bullpen sessions," he said. "Multiple live sessions. And I would anticipate that their first time out in a game wouldn't even be as heavy as their last couple of live BP sessions. But, you don't know that, so, I want them to feel good when they're out there. The goal would be to get them a couple of innings and then take the next step the next time out."

Nationals vs Mets: 1:10 pm on Friday.

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