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Riggleman on Livo, Nyjer and Storen

Feb 15, 2011, 8:51 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ryan Mattheus was one of a handful of Nats throwing in the bullpen today.

VIERA, Fla. — There wasn't a whole lot of actual baseball activity on reporting day. Most guys simply showed up at some point, dropped their belongings off, caught up with teammates and then left the premises. A few conducted light workouts on their own, with a handful of pitchers throwing bullpen sessions and a handful of early arriving position players taking BP in the cage.

Tomorrow figures to be a light day as well, with all pitchers and catchers required to take (and pass) physicals. Things finally kick into high gear on Thursday, when pitchers and catchers participate in their first official workout.

Jim Riggleman did meet with media members for the first of what will probably be about 400 of these sessions by season's end. The veteran manager touched on a variety of topics, with a few highlights along the way…

— Livan Hernandez is all but a lock to start on Opening Day. "Unless something unforeseen happens, Livan has earned it," Riggleman said. "Not only has he had a good year [in 2010], but he's also a composed, veteran guy. The whole atmosphere of Opening Day, all the excitementRead more »

  1. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 15, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    I firmly believe that the achilles heel for the club this season is the leadoff spot and the dependence on Nyjer Morgan. They meaning both Riggleman and Mike Rizzo MUST get their head out of the sand and address the strong potential for Morgans failure in this slot.

  2. Tcostant - Feb 15, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    One of the under reported stories of late last season was how much the Capps trade screwed with Tyler Clippard's use. After the closer by committee appoach in the second, Clipper was used anywhere from the 6th to 9th inning and I think that effected him. In the first half, you rarely saw Clippard anywhere but the 8th.

  3. sjm 308 - Feb 15, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    Not really Riggs fault, but he is correct, he honestly doesn't have options for the lead-off spot if Nyjer fails. I guess he could go with Espinoza or maybe Brown (asuming that is who replaces Morgan) but I agree with NatJack that we are in sort of precarious spot depending on Morgan. Comments like today mean that he is going to be given every opportunity and I would have liked to have read somewhere that he was going to have to "earn" his spot back but that is not what I read today.What do you folks see as an option for the lead-off role?Go Nats!!

  4. Private Joker - Feb 15, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    Ala Vince Lombardi, did Riggleman begin Spring Training by holding up a ball and announce, "This, Gentlemen, is a baseball."

  5. DFL - Feb 15, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    If not Morgan, how about Boomer Whiting?

  6. Sam - Feb 15, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    Wow. I just found a new respect for Riggleman. The fact that he mentioned "small sample" in terms of Desmond hitting second and the idea of a mix-and-match bullpen until Storen is "ready." He's learning at the ripe age of 58! Granted, I'm not sure exactly how Sprint Training will help determine if Desmond should hit second if 202 PA against major league pitching is too small a sample. 30 PA against a bunch of minor leaguers working on their slider really shouldn't help determine it either.

  7. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 15, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    Unfortunately, finding a solid leadoff hitter is much harder than locating a closer. It seems to me that closer is a slot that will sort itself out due to the shear number of solid arms available.A bonifide leadoff hitter does not exist within the organization at this time, or at least one that is ML ready. And identifying a potential leadoff guy from another organization is hardly a choice as we are not the only team keeping our fingers crossed that we can get by with what we've got.If Rizzo can address this issue in Spring Training, I'll be extremely happy.

  8. P. Cole - Feb 15, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    I, for one, am ready for Nyjer to bounce back.Tony Plush is dead.

  9. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    For those who are in Viera, please make a public photo album and share photos at your convenience. We would really appreciate it.

  10. BinM - Feb 15, 2011 at 11:56 PM

    I hope Riggleman is keeping an open mind & paying attention in Viera this year. Granted, the pickings look slim for a leadoff hitter, but I think Espinosa should get a look there, particularly in away games. For OD, Livo might well be the best choice at the moment – I'm personally more concerned about the overall rotation than who gets the 1st start of the season. In the bullpen, with 12-14 arms for 7-8 positions, it could be a battle of 'options remaining'. I hope not, and would prefer that the top 7-8 go north in March, regardless. The closer role can be decided once the season is underway; If it comes down to one or two pitchers, go with the best BAA (batting average against) to start the season, imho.

  11. Theophilus - Feb 16, 2011 at 2:18 AM

    The dependence on Morgan is surreal. If the guy's gonna play like he did last year, then any warm stiff who doesn't pick his nose at first base, moon the stands or get suspended would be an improvement. This team lived w/ Soriano as a lead-off man; they've used Christian Guzman as a lead-off man. It's easy to replace Morgan — just write someone else's name on the lineup card. If he's gonna play like a zero, then any warm body would be an improvement.

  12. Tim the Enchanter - Feb 16, 2011 at 1:25 PM






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