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Versatility abounds

Feb 21, 2011, 2:37 PM EDT

VIERA, Fla. — It's the final day of pitcher and catcher workouts, and not a moment too soon. Everyone around here is ready for the full squad to take the field tomorrow morning and really get this camp cranking.

Every position player has been accounted for, no visa issues to report. (Pitchers Henry Rodriguez and Elvin Ramirez, meanwhile, remain in Venezuela waiting for their cases to be resolved.) So we'll get our first look at Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth tomorrow, with both guys (along with all the other position players) taking live BP from members of the Nationals pitching staff.

Full-squad defensive drills will also begin tomorrow, and one thing I'll be interested to see is how various members of the roster shuttle back and forth between multiple positions. The Nationals have no shortage of versatile players in this camp; just about everyone is capable of playing multiple positions, and just about everyone will be counted on to play multiple positions before the season ends.

Jerry Hairston can play second base, shortstop, third base and all three outfield positions, and Jim Riggleman said this morning the veteran utilityman will probably split his time this spring evenly between theRead more »

  1. TimDz - Feb 21, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    The 42-year-old (Stairs) has lost some weight in recent seasons, and Riggleman was given reports that said Stairs can be counted to help out in the field….That has to be the scarriest quote I've heard since Jack Nicholson uttered, "Heeeeeeerrrrreeeee's Johnny…" in the Movie, "The Shining."

  2. Anonymous - Feb 21, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    Regarding the comments from the last post: A poster said something about Norris dropping his glove while the ball is in flight as if this was a bad thing. Rotating the wrist downward, while not altering the actual position of the glove, relaxes the muscles in the arm and allows for the catcher to receive the ball softer than if he kept those muscles flexed. This is not a bad thing. The catcher isn't altering the target pre-pitch so the pitcher isn't losing focus. Also, it has no bearing on the umpire, because the arm doesn't actually move at all.

  3. Doc - Feb 21, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    As long as the ball is hit directly to Matt, I see no problem with him fielding it. The pitcher and the batter will need to co-operate with each other to insure Stairs' success.

  4. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 21, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    Doc… kinda like Dunn.

  5. 6thandD - Feb 21, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    I'd love to see an outfield with Werth, Bernadina, and Morse.

  6. Feel Wood - Feb 21, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    ""The way it's been told to me is, he'll never embarrass you in left field or first base," Riggleman said."When Riggleman says sh*t like this, one of you beat reporters ought to break out of your lockstep lockbox and ask the followup question: "Jim, could you define 'embarrass' for us? For instance, was Cristian Guzman an embarrassment in right field?"

  7. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 21, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    And try to work in something nasty about his mother while you're at it, because, well, just to keep with the theme of pointless and disingenuous negativity.

  8. Will - Feb 21, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    Feel Wood,Riggleman is not the authority on defensive ability. After all, he was in charge as we trotted Dunn out to LF game after game. It also seems as if it was his idea to play Guzman in RF.With that said, what do you expect of him? I'd be more upset if he threw Stairs under the bus, and said Stairs' defense is an embarrassment to the team.

  9. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 21, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    Put me in the Werth, Benadina, Morse camp, as well.

  10. Sec314 - Feb 21, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    What's the difference between Bowdn's emphasis on "tools" and "Versatility"? Give me some guys that can hit and put runs on the board. The 2-0 1-0 and 2-1 losses last year were painful. As Boswell's column today points out, Livo was the victim of crappy run support on several occasions last year… and he wasn't the only one.

  11. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 21, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    He wasn't the only one, but it wasn't an accident. That is the reason they need a true #1. Lacking a genuine ace, it's Livan who gets Ubaldo Jimenez et al. every fifth day or so, and you can expect a lot of 2-0 losses if that's the case. Livan deserves better.

  12. Les in NC - Feb 21, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    Livan may have been the loser of some tight games last year, but the real victim was the team as we had a tremendously horrible well of talent to draw from in the late innings when the game could have been won. That said, the bench has been completely overhauled with an exponential increase in talent. Whether or not it preforms has yet to be seen.

  13. Les in NC - Feb 21, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    *performs

  14. McKinley2 - Feb 21, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    Rather than waiting for that big bop from the non-clutch Dunn or the non-healthy Willingham, Rizzo has fashioned a team with less power but one that can presumably take the extra base when the ball is put in play. Combined with a vastly improved defense, the ability to manufacture runs should provide Nats pitchers with far superior support than they received last year. It's refreshing for those of us who believe the Nats are holding a glass (whether half-full or half-empty) to finally carry spring optimism for better times.

  15. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 21, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    Ben Guessling ran his blog on this topic and I found it interesting that only one single name is mentioned one time only and that is Nyjer Morgan. Every other position players name (other than catcher) is mentioned at least twice.

  16. Doc - Feb 21, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    Good point NatsJack! Morgan is the least versatile Nats player in the field, or in the batting order. I'm not so sure, that with his bandy arm and random throws, that he is that versatile in CF.

  17. Samantha - Feb 21, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    I agree with those who said they'd like to see an outfield comprised of Werth, Bernadina and Morse.

  18. SonnyG10 - Feb 21, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Go Nats!!!!!!!

  19. Anonymous - Feb 21, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    mark,Just read a rumor on ESPN that said the nationals and astros have been in talks about splitting a spring training site near disney world, heard anything about this?

  20. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 21, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    Anything coming out of ESPN baseball wise is usually really old or pure conjecture. Osceola County which operates the complex currently leased to the Astros, has been jonesing for about a year to entice either one or two more teams to some property out by the 192 corridor close to Disney.I would not expect them to vacate the facility that they currently operate making the Astros as doubtfull partners for the Nats. And it would be fairly expensive for the Nats to work their way out of the current agreement with Viera and Brevard County.Doesn't mean it won't happen because the Nats, Mets, Cardinals and Marlins are severely isolated from almost all the teams located on Florida's west coast.There is also a prime piece of real estate adjacent the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando that could be enticing to a couple of teams should all the stars align properly.

  21. Souldrummer - Feb 21, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    @NatsJackMorgan play both left and center. He's only playing center for us because his bat doesn't play in left. Now if he were to become a fourth outfielder…..

  22. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 21, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    I disagree… He's not good enough an outfielder to be used as a defensive replacement. That's why he's not listed in left. The other candidates are MUCH better.

  23. Theophilus - Feb 21, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    Morgan played left for the Pirates. I remember a Nats game in Pittsburgh when he butchered a fly ball. So when the Nats traded for him I wondered what they thought they were getting. The story was that some sabremetrician had convinced the F/O he would be a better centerfielder than leftfielder. So for lies, damn lies and statistics.

  24. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 21, 2011 at 11:31 PM

    and I remember a Pirates game against somebody else, not the Nationals, where Morgan looked great in left, and had me wondering out loud who THAT was. So first impressions can be no better. Just saying.

  25. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2011 at 1:48 AM

    Morgan is a better left fielder for one very good reason: his arm is his true physical weakness in center or right. Bernadina may play better in left but he seems to be more valuable in CF/RF given Morse and the host of others including (say it ain't so Jim! Matt Stairs).

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