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Washington Nationals vs St. Louis Cardinals: Sunday Grapefruit League GameThread.

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March 16, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) throws a pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
March 16, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) throws a pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The dream of an Opening Day outfield featuring Michael Morse, Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper died a few weeks back when the Nationals decided that Harper, their 19-year-old 2010 no.1 overall pick, needed more seasoning in the system. Harper will start the year at Triple-A Syracuse. Morse's injured lat would likely have ended the dream anyway even if Harper had somehow managed to make the 25-Man Roster out of Spring Training. Instead, reporters in Florida, having seen the starting lineup the Nationals are using this afternoon in the penultimate Grapefruit League game of the Spring, are speculating that the outfield on Opening Day in Wrigley Field on Thursday could consist of Mark DeRosa in left, Jayson Werth in center and Xavier Nady in right field. DeRosa figured to get some time in the outfield occasionally as soon as the Nats signed the utility man this winter. Nady is a surprise. Signed to a minor league deal late this Spring, he impressed Nats' skipper Davey Johnson and has somehow worked his way into the picture.

DeRosa, Werth and Nady will back Gio Gonzalez up this afternoon as the 26-year-old left-hander takes on the St. Louis Cardinals in Gonzalez' final Spring Training outing. In his last two starts, Gonzalez has allowed a combined 17 hits, five walks and 11 earned runs. Ten of the hits, four of the walks and eight of the earned runs were collected by the same St. Louis team Gonzalez faces again today. Here's the lineup that will play behind Gonzalez today as the Nats take on the Cards:

  1. Ian Desmond - SS
  2. Danny Espinosa - 2B
  3. Ryan Zimmerman - 3B (Word.)
  4. Jayson Werth - CF
  5. Mark DeRosa - LF
  6. Adam LaRoche - 1B
  7. Xavier Nady - RF
  8. Wilson Ramos - C
  9. Gio Gonzalez - LHP
• This afternoon's Grapefruit League game is available via MLB Gameday Audio. St. Louis' feed unfortunately. But soon enough Nats fans will be able to listen to Charlie and Dave on an almost nightly basis. Who's Listening to the Nationals?