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Posted at 08:56 AM ET, 03/29/2011

The last lineup of spring training

The Nationals, already packed up for the season, are playing their final game of spring training today before they fly north to Washington tonight.

As expected, Adam LaRoche will play first base despite a slight tear in his labrum. Manager Jim Riggleman said yesterday he expects LaRoche to play the same number of games he would have, anyway, just while not putting as zip on his throws. The Nationals are hoping a cortisone injection will help LaRoche regain most of his arm strength.

Today’s lineup, against Mets left-handed starter Chris Capuano, provides a look at how the order the Nationals might use against lefties during the season.

Nationals

1. Ian Desmond, SS

2. Jayson Werth, RF

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Michael Morse, LF

5. Adam LaRoche, 1B

6. Wilson Ramos, C

7. Danny Espinosa, 2B

8. Jerry Hairston, CF

9. Jordan Zimmermann, SP

Notice that Morse and LaRoche are flipped against a lefty – Morse at cleanup, LaRoche batting fifth. That will allow Zimmerman to bat without a lefty behind him, which theoretically should get him better pitches to hit.

Also, notice that Jerry Hairston is batting eight and Wilson Ramos sixth. I wonder if Ivan Rodriguez started how they would order those bottom three hitters. Perhaps Espinosa would move to sixth, Hairston to seventh and Rodriguez would remain eighth, where he’ll bat against right-handed starters. Ramos sixth may also be a clue that Rick Ankiel will bat eighth on days Ramos starts against right-handed hitters.

Anyway, we probably put more time into discussing the order of the lineup than it’s worth.

UPDATE, 8:56: The Nats made a change to their lineup. They decided to let Ivan Rodriguez start, slotted him eighth in the batting order and moved Hairston up to sixth. So, there you go.

Here’s the new order:

Nationals

1. Ian Desmond, SS

2. Jayson Werth, RF

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Michael Morse, LF

5. Adam LaRoche, 1B

6. Jerry Hairston, CF

7. Danny Espinosa, 2B

8. Ivan Rodriguez, C

9. Jordan Zimmermann, SP

By  |  08:56 AM ET, 03/29/2011

 
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