Barring any injuries or setbacks, and if you substitute Wilson Ramos for Jose Lobaton and Anthony Rendon for Jeff Kobernus, does this look like the Washington Nationals' Opening Day lineup?:
#Nats lineup vs. #Tigers: Span CF, Desmond SS, Werth RF, Harper LF, Zimmerman 3B, LaRoche 1B, Lobaton C, Kobernus 2B, Zimmermann P— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 16, 2014
Rendon is off to Kissimmee, Florida's Osceola County Stadium where he's leading off as the Nats play the away half of today's split-squad games with the Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers:
#Nats lineup @ #Astros: Rendon 2B, Espinosa SS, Hairston DH, Moore LF, Walters 3B, Peterson 1B, Leon C, Souza Jr. RF, Goodwin CF, Gio P— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 16, 2014
Nats' skipper Matt Williams talked about Rendon as a no.2 hitter when he discussed potential lineups last week. Williams was asked if the Nationals' 23-year-old infielder could end up hitting second?
"Potentially," Williams said. "I like Ian [Desmond] as well. Depends on how the lineup is constructed that particular day."
While Denard Span's looking like Williams' leadoff hitter, the manager has clearly given some thought to other possibilities, and options should Span get a day off.
"You look at [Span] and you go, okay, well, traditionally you give him a day off against a lefty," Williams explained. "But it may be just a day off and it may be a righty, so Nate [McLouth] can step into that spot as well. So, I mean, there are multiple options there but all of those guys could fill that role on any given day."
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Asked what he was looking for in a leadoff man, the Nats' new skipper said, "Speed, on-base percentage. All of those things."
"If we really want to take a hard look," Williams said, "I would imagine you go, 'Well Jayson [Werth] is the guy. His on-base percentage. The ability to steal bases. Stole base percentage, all of that stuff. But then again he's not the guy because he's our three guy or our four guy. So, it depends on the day. It depends on who we're facing. All of those things."
So Span leading off, Desmond second, Werth third or fourth. Bryce Harper third, fourth or fifth as Williams has previously discussed. Ryan Zimmerman fourth or possibly fifth as he is in today's lineup?
Then Adam LaRoche sixth, Wilson Ramos seventh and Rendon eighth? Rendon second and Ian Desmond in the fifth spot where he spent most of his time last season (.306/.333/.491) or sixth (.261/.332/.464) where he made the second-most plate appearances in 2013? Williams has two-plus weeks to figure out what he wants to do, but he said last week that he had a lineup in his head that he wasn't going to share with reporters.
"I like what's in my brain, but it doesn't mean that that's going to be the case," the first-year manager said.
"But I've got a sense of it. Again, we'll get through spring and see where we're at and all of that."
On the mound this afternoon, it's Jordan Zimmermann at home in Space Coast Stadium and Gio Gonzalez on the road in Kissimmee. Each starter is making their fourth start of the spring. Zimmermann and the Nationals will be live on MASN this afternoon, while Gonzalez's start can be heard via MLB.com's Gameday audio.
Who's watching/listening to the Nationals?