Rick Ankiel back in Nationals’ lineup

The most notable thing about the Nationals’ lineup for tonight’s 6:05 game against the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie is the return of center fielder Rick Ankiel, who has been out since March 9 with a strained hamstring. You can expect to see a lot of him from here on out (assuming he’s healthy), since he enters tonight’s game with only six at-bats so far this spring.

But another notable thing is the insertion of Steve Lombardozzi, playing third base tonight, as the leadoff hitter, with Ian Desmond hitting second behind him. Most of Lombardozzi’s starts this spring have come further down in the lineup, but it appears the Nationals are interested in seeing how he handles the leadoff role.

Here is tonight’s Nationals lineup.

1. Steve Lombardozzi, 3B

2. Ian Desmond, SS

3. Danny Espinosa, 2B

4. Mark DeRosa, 1B

5. Wilson Ramos, C

6. Rick Ankiel, CF

7. Brett Carroll, LF

8. Roger Bernadina, RF

9. Stephen Strasburg, RHP

Not very many folks around Space Coast Stadium yet this morning, given the off day yesterday and the night game tonight, so no injury updates yet on Michael Morse, Adam LaRoche and Chien-Ming Wang. But stay tuned.

Dave Sheinin has been covering baseball and writing features and enterprise stories for The Washington Post since 1999.

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