The Nationals have concerns about the opening day availability of Rick Ankiel, who is dealing with tightness in his left hamstring. But they have not counted him out. Today, Ankiel traveled with the Nationals to Jupiter. He launched a few balls over the fence during batting practice. He participated with his teammates and without restriction.
“He’s feeling better,” Manager Davey Johnson said before Ankiel hit. “I haven’t seen with my eye how he’s feeling. That’s going to be on a daily basis.”
Ankiel’s in-or-out health status is one reason Johnson would not call the lineup he used today his opening day lineup. He also wants to see how Adam LaRoche’s left foot comes through the final three days three days of spring.
Johnson said he would unveil his opening day lineup Tuesday at Nationals Park, for the Nationals’ exhibtion against the Red Sox. (Edwin Jackson will face Clay Buchholz in the pitching matchup.)
“When you ask about this lineup being the one I’m going to have in Chicago, you’re jumping the gun again,” Johnson said.