Mar 28, 2010, 2:03 PM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Rookie Ian Desmond beat out veteran Cristian Guzman for the regular job at shortstop.
[UPDATED AT 12:15 P.M.]
VIERA, Fla. — Rookie Ian Desmond will open the season as the Nationals' starting shortstop, though veteran Cristian Guzman will remain on the roster and get regular at-bats at both shortstop and second base.
Manager Jim Riggleman said he came to the decision in the last few days and informed Guzman this morning. Guzman, who is making $8 million this season and has never played anything other than shortstop in the major leagues, accepted the decision and immediately began taking grounders at second base during morning workouts.
Riggleman said Desmond, 24, won the job with his stellar spring (he enters today's game batting .278 with seven extra-base hits and a team-high 12 RBI) combined with his strong performance last September (in 21 games, he hit .280 with 13 extra-base hits and 12 RBI). The club's long-term fortunes played a key role in the decision.
"This is one of those moves we can make that will help the club this year, and in the future," Riggleman said. "Pretty much, what we try to do is help the club now. But if you can help it now and in the future,Read more »
NL EAST STANDINGS
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
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