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Washington Nationals Grapefruit League GameThread: Nationals vs Mets

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The Washington Nationals and New York Mets meet in Grapefruit League action this afternoon with Gio Gonzalez on the mound in Space Coast Stadium against Mets' lefty Jon Niese. No TV or radio coverage for this one. Follow Twitter or the box score...

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Dr. James Andrews confirmed the original diagnosis of an MCL sprain in Anthony Rendon's left knee. Washington's 24-year-old infielder is now headed for a third opinion from Dr. Steve Singleton, a knee specialist in Vail, CO. One thing is clear, however, the Nationals' 2011 1st Round pick will not be available and on the field next Monday when the Nats take on the New York Mets in the season opener. So who starts at third? One National reportedly stepped up and told Nationals' manager Matt Williams he could move there if necessary.

When the Nationals posted their lineup for this afternoon's game, Yunel Escobar was penciled in at third base for today's game in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium:

NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman wrote this afternoon that Williams told reporters Escobar actually approached him and offered to fill in at third if necessary, though he hasn't played there since he was a rookie with Atlanta in 2007.

"[H]e came to us and said: ‘Listen, if there’s a need for me to play third, I’d be happy to do it.’" Zuckerman quoted Williams explaining. "'That’s great. That’s a great attitude to have. So we have options in that regard.'"

Danny Espinosa, who was getting work at third base in recent games, is back at second base today, batting eighth.

Is this going to be the Opening Day lineup? With Wilson Ramos catching and Max Scherzer on the mound...

Gio Gonzalez is on the mound today in Viera, making his fifth start of the Spring. In his previous four outings, the left-hander has allowed nine hits, six walks and four earned runs in 13 ⅔ IP in which he's struck out 13 batters while holding opposing hitters to a .176 BAA.

WATCH/LISTEN/FOLLOW GAMEDAY: There is no radio or tv coverage of this afternoon's game from Space Coast Stadium, so you'll have to follow the GameDay box score from MLB.com or keep up with your favorite tweeting reporters who are on the scene in Viera, FL.

Who's Following the Box Score?