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Pudge now, Ramos and/or Flores soon

Feb 19, 2011, 12:07 AM EDT

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.”

Read my full analysis of the Nats’ catching plans on CSNwashington.com.

  1. Sunderland - Feb 19, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    If Pudge is not playing well early on, this is going to really stress Riggleman and Rizzo. Riggleman will not want to disrespect the HOF caliber veteran and bench him (see Guzman, Cristian 2010). Rizzo will not want to disrespect the veteran by releasing him. I hope Pudge is tradeable in July, but I'm not counting on it.

  2. Anonymous8 - Feb 19, 2011 at 12:54 AM

    Pudge came out of the gates on fire in 2010 then faded by mid-May after playing almost every game. I think if Pudge plays 3 to 4 games a week he will stay fresh and really help this team.I still could see him traded by the trade deadline to a playoff contender.

  3. Theophilus - Feb 19, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    If only one these guys batted left-handed . . ..

  4. SBrent - Feb 19, 2011 at 6:00 AM

    The headline for this story over on the CSN site seems to say that YOU are the Nationals' catcher of the future, Mark! Congrats!

  5. Section 222 - Feb 19, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Depth at catcher is a great thing to have. Odds are that one of these three will be injured for a significant period of time. So even if we don't trade Pudge midseason, simply a whole season of not needing to start a Wil Nieves or Josh Bard behind the plate will be a big improvement for this team.

  6. BinM - Feb 19, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    @222: Exactly – No immediate need to trade any of them, but if some other team comes up short behind the plate, who's got bank? Just like with Capps last year, Rizzo can hopefully deal from a position of strength come mid-season.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 58 -- 19
ATLANTA 72 66 7.0
MIAMI 67 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 74 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 63 74 15.5
Through Monday's games

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TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
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