When asked a question by a Nationals fan in Bill Ladson's recent washington.nationals.mlb.com article entitled, "Mailbag: Will Mitchell Report hurt?", from 12/17/07, about whether or not Nick Johnson would be ready to play for the Nationals in 2008, and where the team would find room in the lineup for both Johnson and Dmitri Young, Mr. Ladson responded:
"In terms of the first-base situation, Young is the starter
entering Spring Training, and it's too early to tell how
Nationals will get them both in the lineup."
I noticed immediately that there was no source for this information, so I originally regarded it as merely Mr. Ladson's opinion, educated on team matters as his opinion obviously is, and waited until I heard the same from a team source before I lent the news any credence.
Then, on 1/5/08, Bill Ladson checked in once again with his article, "Q&A with Jim Bowden", in which Mr. Bowden is quoted by Mr. Ladson, in response to Mr. Ladson's request that the Nationals GM, "...go around the horn and tell us where you see the players at each position," prompting Mr. Bowden to state:
"As we walk into Spring Training, Dmitri Young is our first
baseman. He deserves it. He finished in the top 10 in
hitting. He improved defensively and his leadership skills
in the clubhouse were phenomenal. So he is obviously the
Mr. Bowden then reports that Johnson is on the way to Spring Training and should be healthy enough to compete for the starting job. Which reminded me of an article Mr. Ladson had written at washington.nationals.mlb.com on 12/12/07 entitled, "Notes: Johnson preparing for return", about a conversation he had with Nick Johnson, which started by noting, "When speaking with first baseman Nick Johnson, it's obvious that he is a happy man," because, Mr. Ladson reported, Johnson would be back and ready for Spring Training after missing the entire 2007 season.
Mr. Ladson then concludes:
"Johnson's return would mean that Dmitri Young would
join Aaron Boone as one of the go-to guys off the bench.
There was talk of Young playing the outfield, but manager
Manny Acta said that was not going to happen."
So what had Nationals Manager Manny Acta said previously on washington.nationals.mlb.com? Exactly?...about the situation at first and the possibility of DY in the OF in '08? Well, Mr. Ladson interviewed Acta, in a 10/12/07 article entitled, "Q & A with Manny Acta", about Mr. Acta's first season at the helm of the Nationals, in which Mr. Ladson asked:
"The local reporters spoke to Dmitri Young twice and he
said on the record that he was going to play the outfield.
Do you envision him playing the outfield or do you see
him as a first baseman?"
To which Mr. Acta responded:
"He is our first baseman right now. Nick Johnson has to
get healthy and prove to people that he is able to play at
this level again. And if you have Wily Mo Pena -- and we
are going to give him a chance to play left field, plus you
have Austin Kearns in right field -- I don't see Dmitri
Young playing the outfield for us."
So that finally clears up that controversy right? What? Still confused as to the official message? Well, Mr. Ladson says on 12/12/07 that the job is Nick Johnson's when he returns. No source is quoted to support this, but in the very next sentence, Mr. Ladson quotes Mr. Acta's opinion from the interview on 10/12/07, with the Nationals Manager saying that DY would not play the outfield, giving the impression that Johnson's also been given the nod at first by Mr. Acta...
BUT, on 10/12/07, Mr. Acta stated that the job is DY's, and that Johnson must once again prove himself? Then on 12/17/07 Mr. Ladson states that DY is the starter, followed by GM Jim Bowden's pronouncement to Mr. Ladson on 1/5/08 that, "As we walk into Spring Training, Dmitri Young is our first baseman." So who said Nick Johnson was the starter on 12/12/07? Or what did Mr. Acta, or Mr. Bowd...No? Mr. Ladson said that....uh? Sorry?? I'm confused...
*DY/Nick Johnson Links-(in chronological order)*
mlb.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Q&A with Manny Acta" on washington.nationals.mlb.com on 10/12/07:
mlb.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Notes: Johnson preparing for return" on washington.nationals.mlb.com on 12/12/07:
mlb.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Mailbag: Will Mitchell Report hurt?" on washington.nationals.mlb.com on 12/17/07:
mlb.com's Bill Ladson's articlem "Q&A with Jim Bowden" on washington.nationals.mlb.com on 1/5/08: