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Washington Nationals' shortstop battle: Mike Rizzo and Dusty Baker on Trea Turner

Washington Nationals' prospect Trea Turner is in camp competing for the Opening Day job at short and he's impressed both Dusty Baker and Nats' General Manager Mike Rizzo. But can he earn the starting job? Is it Danny Espinosa's job to lose?

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Mike Rizzo talked about how close to major league-ready Washington Nationals' infield prospect Trea Turner is at this point with's Buster Olney on the Baseball Tonight podcast on Thursday.

Turner, 22, is in major league camp competing for the Opening Day job this Spring after making his MLB debut late in 2015 following a quick rise through the minor league ranks in the San Diego Padres and the Nationals' organizations.

"He ran through the minor leagues fairly quickly with the Padres and with us," Rizzo explained. "He's got one full season of minor league baseball under his belt. He's a guy that could use some more at bats in the minor leagues."

"He has poise. Even for somebody who looks like he's 12 years old. He actually plays with a lot of poise and plays with speed and goes out there and grinds it out..." -Max Scherzer on Nationals' prospect Trea Turner

Rizzo has said since the 2014 1st Round pick was acquired that Turner was a polished prospect coming out of college and a quick-to-the-majors-type player from the start who has succeeded at every level, and is close.

"He's just trying to fit in with the ballclub, get his reps in and we'll see where it goes here, but he's a guy that's not far away from the big leagues and a guy that we think that will impact the club when he gets here."

So when will that be? Opening Day? June 1st, when the Nationals will have guaranteed another year of team in control in the future?

Both Nationals' skipper Dusty Baker and Rizzo, again, talked about Turner when each appeared in separate MLB Network Radio interviews on Friday.

Baker was asked what chance there is that Turner will win the Opening Day job this Spring?

"I don't know," Baker said. "It's kind of an outside [chance]. Right now you've got to give an opportunity to [Danny] Espinosa. We're trying to make some changes ... on him, on his batting stance and his outlook.

"You know, Espinosa can play some short. It's just that we don't know how Trea is going to hit yet. We don't know about the breaking ball, we don't know about the pitch away.

"Trea is going to be the incumbent shortstop or second baseman here, some day, it's just a matter of him waiting his turn -- a lot of times I've noticed -- I mean, I love young players, I mean, nobody loves them more than me, but, on the other hand, we have a tendency to ruin and rush young players sometimes, you know what I mean, for the need to have somebody new. I don't think this guy has a thousand minor league at bats under his belt.

"There's no substitute for game time activities, and let's face it, we're an injury away from him being on my team. I need speed. I need a right-hand hitter..."

Rizzo reiterated in his own interview with MLB Network Radio hosts Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette that he's been impressed with what he's seen from Turner so far and he said he thinks the infielder can handle the job at short.

"We know what we've got defensively with Danny. He's a plus, plus defender with a rocket of an arm. He's got good feet, good range, and he's got power potential." -Mike Rizzo on Nats' shortstop Danny Espinosa

"He's got quite a talented skill set," Rizzo said. "He makes all the plays at shortstop. He's got good feet, good hands.

"He's got plenty of arm to play shortstop. We saw a play in the hole yesterday where it took a lot of arm strength to get the guy out and he made a really hard, difficult play look fairly routine and that's the type of guy he is."

Rizzo stuck to what he's said all winter, however, when asked about Turner's chances of starting at short on Opening Day.

"There's going to be a competition," Rizzo said.

"Danny Espinosa is the incumbent right now, he's the veteran presence. We know what we've got defensively with Danny.

"He's a plus, plus defender with a rocket of an arm. He's got good feet, good range, and he's got power potential.

"So he's -- I would say -- he's in the lead right now, but it's March [11th] and we're going to put the best players on the field on Opening Day and if it's Espinosa or Trea, we're going to go with the best guy."

Turner told the MLB Network Radio hosts he hasn't been told anything outside of the fact that he's competing for a job.

"They really haven't told me anything they haven't told everybody else," he said. "It's just come in and compete, try to enjoy it and try not to put too much pressure on myself. But I want to have fun and I want to be the best I can.

"I'm very competitive. Even in batting practice or whatever, I get mad at myself if I don't do something right, so I'm always competing with myself and I'm just glad I have an opportunity to be here."

He said he's just excited to be in camp soaking up what he can while he's there.

"It's crazy," Turner said. "Just being on the field with all of them... Bryce [Harper], [Jayson] Werth, [Anthony] Rendon, [Stephen] Drew, [Danny] Espinosa... you watch them on TV all the time and now you're in the middle of it.

"I try to learn from them as much as I can because they've played a lot more baseball than I have. I talk to Stephen Drew a lot. He's very consistent in the field and that's what I want to do.

"And then any chance I get to talk to Espinosa I do the same. I try to learn and grow a little bit."

Whether it's Opening Day or some time in early June, Turner is going to be up at some point this season. If Espinosa wins the Opening Day job and starts strong, will Turner spend the season in Triple-A? That seems highly unlikely with the way he's moved up so far. Will Espinosa hit given a chance to play every day? When will the Turner era begin?