Nationals’ bench competition will go down to the wire


Outfielder Jason Michaels has emerged as a favorite. (Julio Cortez/AP)

“I will be looking at every aspect of that,” Johnson said. “From the player standpoint and how it fits, offense, defense, you name it, I’ll look at it. I think that’s as important as position, the guys who fit with your position players. I’ve already polled my coaches two or three times. Very few agreed with anybody else.”

One player not in the mix, Johnson said, is first baseman Tyler Moore. He has had an impressive camp in his first major league spring training, but Johnson said unequivocally he is not considering Moore, 25, for a spot. The past two seasons, in Class A and Class AA, Moore has hit 62 home runs.

“He needs to go out and play,” Johnson said. “He’s one of our top prospects. He’s had a great spring.”

Johnson is also still considering how to line up his rotation. He had a conversation with pitching coach Steve McCatty today to discuss some ideas. The easy answer for opening day would be Stephen Strasburg, but Gio Gonzalez, an all-star last season, has impressed the Nationals so much that they are considering him for the nod.

Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.
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