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Nats vs. Cardinals — 3/31/10

Mar 31, 2010, 4:00 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Josh Willingham is tagged out trying to steal third in the second inning.

JUPITER, Fla. — We're back at Roger Dean Stadium. Why does it feel like we just left this place? Oh, that's because the Nationals played here yesterday against the Marlins. Today, they've got the Cardinals.

Manager Jim Riggleman, his coaching staff and some roster members were forced to make the trip back and forth from Viera the last two days, and they'll do the same tomorrow when the Nats play against the Mets in Port St. Lucie (only about 30 minutes north of Jupiter). Your trusty reporter, on the other hand, already checked out of his hotel yesterday and spent last night at another hotel only 10 minutes from this stadium. So I'm refreshed and ready to go.

John Lannan gets the start today, but there probably won't be much noteworthy about that. Lannan will only throw 70-75 pitches, as the Nats try to keep him fresh for Monday's season opener against the Phillies.

The larger storyline in this game will be Cristian Guzman's debut at second base. He did play one inning there yesterday — and yes, I missed it completely because I was in the clubhouse interviewing Garrett Mock at the time — but today he's starting. Guzman spent some considerable time this morning fielding grounders and turning double plays with Ian Desmond, who was at shortstop. Desmond (who has barely played any second base in his career) actually at one point walked over and showed Guzman the proper way to turn a double play without getting your legs broken by a hard-charging baserunner. Have to say, though, Guzman didn't look half-bad over there. As I type this, I'm also noticing he's working out at first base, taking throws in the dirt, etc., while wearing what I have to assume is someone else's first baseman's glove (Adam Dunn? Mike Morse?).

Check back for updates all afternoon…

Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter, Fla.
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV/Radio: None
Weather: Sunny, 73 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from LF

CF Nyjer Morgan
RF Willie Harris
2B Cristian Guzman
LF Josh Willingham

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  1. Doc - Mar 31, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    They're about 8 mos. late in having Guzman working out at 2nd! Yeah, I think that he'll make a pretty good 2nd baseman. Good for Desmond, and his coaching efforts; should make ID him Guzman's personal 2nd base coach. It was Desmond who said last September, "…a ground ball is a ground ball…".

  2. sec314 - Mar 31, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    I'm surprised not to see any of the outfield contenders playing in the outfield. I realize Willingham and Harris need ABs… but the guy who really seems to need them is Dunn and Morse is playing 1B.

  3. peric - Mar 31, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    @314,Have to suspect that both Willy Harris and Morse may be part of trade talks with some of the competitors. Texas is looking for a corner infielder. The Nats also seem to have a surplus of pitchers they may need to move. Perhaps the right field situation gets temporarily resolved when / if Church is released by the Pirates? Church would hit well enough to hold down right field for now and his fielding is probably decent enough.

  4. Anonymous - Mar 31, 2010 at 5:11 PM

    Mark, we will be in attendance on Friday vs Red Sox in Ft. Myers. Do you know who will start and also will they play the starters or will they be heading north already? thanks.

  5. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 31, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    Anon: Scott Olsen is scheduled to start Friday in Fort Myers. And the entire squad should be there (and theoretically playing) because the team charter will fly straight from there to D.C. after the game.

  6. Nervous Nats Fan - Mar 31, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    Mark, Is there any word that they are definitely keeping Olsen and paying him the $1 mil, or have they just not announced that he's been cut?

  7. Positively Half St. - Mar 31, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    So, Lannan gave up 2 unearned runs, then.

  8. Positively Half St. - Mar 31, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    Olsen is staying, came out not long ago.

  9. Paul - Mar 31, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    One bunt hit, 2 errors, 2 unearned runs. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  10. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 31, 2010 at 5:46 PM

    Regarding Olsen: He's still in camp, still is scheduled to pitch Friday against the Red Sox. The team isn't going to come out and say he's not getting released — just like they're not going to come out and say Ryan Zimmerman isn't getting released — but I think it's pretty safe to say Olsen will be making his $1 million, whether he's pitching in Washington or Syracuse.

  11. Bill C-H - Mar 31, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    Mark – has there been any discussion in the last two week about moving Willingham back to right field?

  12. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 31, 2010 at 6:14 PM

    Bill C-H: No talk whatsoever of moving Willingham to RF. He's no better defensively in RF than any of the other guys in the mix. In fact, I'd say he's significantly worse than Harris, Taveras and Bernadina.

  13. Steve M. - Mar 31, 2010 at 6:37 PM

    Mark, that is very safe to say re: Willingham's "D" vs. Harris, Taveras and Bernadina.The bigger question is do the Nats keep Bernadina or Taveras or both and of course then Brunlett and Gonzalez.To me if you are keeping CGuzman and Willie Harris and Mike Morse you have 3 infielders while also 2 of those guys can play the outfield too so you really don't have to keep any more infielders which allows you to keep Bernadina and Taveras.Mark, any discussion along those line?

  14. Anonymous - Mar 31, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    Any thoughts about Adam Kennedy being the utility guy and Guz being the everyday 2B?

  15. raymitten - Mar 31, 2010 at 6:55 PM

    My thoughts is forget Guzman and play Kennedy. Kennedy is solid and was quite impressive with the glove while I was in FL. Trade Guzman and Harris for a right fielder, if you can find a trade partner.

  16. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 31, 2010 at 7:00 PM

    The way Riggleman has described it, Desmond and Kennedy will be the regulars, but Guzman will make several starts a week between the two positions. And much of this will depend on production. If Kennedy's struggling and Guzman's hitting, he could end up getting more time at second base. And if after, say, one or two months Desmond doesn't look big-league ready, Guzman could be back as the shortstop.

  17. Bill C-H - Mar 31, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    Mark – another question…what's the deal on Capps? He does not seem to be coming around; working hard? In shape? Focused? Your thoughts please.

  18. Anonymous - Mar 31, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    Who would have thunk it. Lannan 5 IP and only 3 H, 2 BB, 0 ER and Wainwright 5 IP and 10 H, 2 BB, and 5 ER.And of course, Capps gets lit up again.

  19. Anonymous - Mar 31, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    Is Capps the "new" Hanrahan.

  20. Anonymous - Mar 31, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    Any chance Bruney opens the year as the closer?

  21. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 31, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    Doubtful Riggleman would change closers before the season even begins. But I do think he'll have really short leash on Capps and won't hesitate to make a change at the first sign of trouble.

  22. Moe Greene - Mar 31, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    Anyone want to explain why Ian Desmond can't throw the ball?

  23. Sasskuash - Mar 31, 2010 at 8:16 PM

    Calling Capps the "new Hanrahan" is a little over the top- Hanrahan got lit up EVERY appearance; Capps only gets lit up every 0THER appearance. It's a clear improvement…(please note sarcasm)

  24. peric - Mar 31, 2010 at 8:29 PM

    Moe Green? אתה shmuck ו זין

  25. Knoxville Nat - Mar 31, 2010 at 8:39 PM

    "Anyone want to explain why Ian Desmond can't throw the ball?"Perhaps a case of Ryan Zimmerman disease?Zim seems to have worked himself out of a throwing problem maybe he can pass some tips on to Desmond, real soon!!

  26. Anonymous - Mar 31, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    Kilgore is saying the Nats won 6-4. You guys watching the same game?

  27. Moe Greene - Mar 31, 2010 at 8:46 PM

    I'd love to label it a case of the "Zims" but I fear, since it's always been one of his flaws, that it's more a case of the "Knobs". By all accounts, he has the skill to play the position. Perhaps it's all in his head? I'd love (wouldn't we all) to see it corrected.

  28. Traveler8 - Mar 31, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    ESPN also thinks the score was 9 – 6.

  29. Richard Moore - Mar 31, 2010 at 9:05 PM

    As for the suggestion that the Nats reacquire Church if the Pirates release him, I disagree completely. He is prone to fits of sulking, which is unbecoming in a player at his talent level. We don't need him in the clubhouse

  30. Moe Greene - Mar 31, 2010 at 9:17 PM

    @ Richard More – I completely agree.

  31. Moe Greene - Mar 31, 2010 at 9:18 PM

    *Moore, my apologies.

  32. peric - Mar 31, 2010 at 11:44 PM

    The Olsen decision (not to release) makes an inordinate amount of sense. At the very least he is a valuable chip to be used in a trade with a contender. OH Yes Mista Moe. Why? He is a left-handed starter who appears to be improving with each start now. Its the left-handed part that makes Bedard so valuable if he were right handed he probably would have been released. Is Olsen better than Bedard? Right now, yes. Is Olsen starting an pitching in games, building his strength? Yes. Is Bedard? No. Case closed.

  33. Moe Greene - Apr 1, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    In other words, Peric, if you were Omar Minaya, you'd trade Jose Reyes (since he's not playing due to injury) for Christian Guzman ?since he's showing some signs of life)? Yeah, sounds about right.





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