The Nationals released OF Jason Michaels, reassigned INF Andres Blanco and optioned Ps Ryan Perry and Atahualpa Severino to the minors after Thursday’s 6-3 Grapefruit League win over the Atlanta Braves, paring their roster to 34, and we can now envision who will comprise the 2012 Opening Day squad in Chicago next Thursday.
With Michael Morse, Drew Storen, Chien-Ming Wang, Chris Marrero and Cole Kimball slated for the Disabled List to start the season, the Nats lineup is taking a pretty clear focus.
OF: Roger Bernadina, Rick Ankiel, Jayson Werth, Brett Carroll, Xavier Nady
INF: Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Adam LaRoche, Steve Lombardozzi, Mark DeRosa
C: Wilson Ramos, Jesus Flores
SP: Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson, John Lannan
RP: Brad Lidge, Henry Rodriguez, Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett, Tom Gorzelanny, Ross Detwiler and either Craig Stammen or Ryan Mattheus
Ankiel, Nady and Carroll are all non-roster invitees on a minor league contracts, so they will have to be added to the 40-man roster, which stands at 38.
This would appear to leave Chad Tracy out of the equation, but the Nats could decide to keep Tracy, who also is an NRI and has played a lot this spring with the injury to LaRoche, and send Lombardozzi down to Syracuse if they think the younger player wouldn’t get enough at bats on the Major League roster.
As for Thursday’s action, Edwin Jackson went six strong innings, allowing just two hits and walking one, striking out two. One of the two hits was a massive home run over the batter’s eye in center field by Atlanta’s Jason Heyward. Ryan Zimmerman drove in a pair and Carroll hit a three-run triple and scored on a throwing error on the same play.
NATS NOTES: Washington signed recently released free agent LHP Zach Duke earlier in the day, who will report to Triple-A Syracuse. The one-time All-Star with the Pittsburgh Pirates went 3-4 with a 4.93 ERA and 1.565 WHIP with Arizona last season in 21 games.