Feb 19, 2011, 12:07 AM EST
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jesus Flores (and Wilson Ramos) are staring over Ivan Rodriguez’s shoulder.
VIERA, Fla. — It sounded like a forceful declaration from Jim Riggleman — “Pudge is our catcher” — and the Nationals manager meant it when he said this morning that Ivan Rodriguez would open the season as Washington’s starter behind the plate.
Truth be told, Riggleman knows Rodriguez’s tenure atop the catching depth chart is likely to be brief. Between Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores, the Nationals have two potential long-term answers at the position. And at some point this season, perhaps by early summer, one of those two youngsters will take over for Rodriguez, who at 39 is already on borrowed time.
Riggleman said as much this morning.
“Whether it’s Ramos and/or Flores, they’re very talented guys,” the manager said. “We’re not going to let them die on the vine. They’ve got to get playing time. So whichever guy is there, if not both of them, they’re going to get playing time and stay sharp. And as the year goes on, probably get a little more playing time.”
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