Mar 24, 2011, 2:17 PM EDT
Photo courtesy Bill Scheuerman
Rick Ankiel could be the Nationals' Opening Day center fielder.
VIERA, Fla. — Feeling refreshed after their lone off-day of the spring, the Nationals return to the field this evening against the Tigers in Lakeland, the beginning of the home stretch here in Florida.
There are six more Grapefruit League games in the next six days, and then the team charter heads north to D.C. for Wednesday's NatsFest and the following afternoon's Opening Day clash with the Braves.
Between now and then, the Nationals must trim their roster from 36 to 25, name a starting center fielder, align their five-man rotation, assemble their bench and figure out who's in the bullpen. That's plenty that still must be accomplished in a short time.
At this stage of the spring, pretty much everyone appears in every game (aside from the pitchers). And 17 of the 18 position players remaining in camp are scheduled to make the trip to Lakeland tonight, with only Ryan Zimmerman staying back. Zim expects to return to the lineup tomorrow after missing more than a week with a sore groin, and he's confident that playing in four of the team's final five spring games will leave him ready for the regular season.
At some point in the next few days, it's probably going to become obvious who has won the center field job. Jim Riggleman is going toRead more »
NL EAST STANDINGS
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
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.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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