Xavier Nady, Roger Bernadina, Steve Lombardozzi and Mark DeRosa have been in the mix, but Manager Davey Johnson indicated today he is all but capping the rotation at two players in order to simplify the decision making process.
With Lombardozzi settling in as a reserve infielder, Nady and Bernadina are in line to get most of the time in left in the immediate future, Johnson said, while DeRosa will play less even though more at-bats could be beneficial to help him break out of an early season slump.
“I’ve kind of been wishy-washy in using the three of them in the outfield,” Johnson said. “DeRosa sometimes, Bernadina, and I was uncomfortable with that, and I’m sure if I’m uncomfortable that they were uncomfortable, so I kind of tried to clear the air with them.”
Nady is getting the start in tonight’s series opener against Miami, which enters two and a half games behind Washington for the National League East lead.
Nady, 33, signed a minor league contract with the Nationals on March 18 but made the opening day roster. Bernadina, meantime, is the longest tenured member of the organization after signing with the Montreal Expos in 2001 as a non-drafted free agent.
“Three variables in the equation is harder than two,” Johnson said . “I think it would make it easier for the guys.”
Bernadina started the last two games, collecting a tying double in the seventh inning on Thursday night to help Washington rally for a 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros to clinch the series win. He has started in both center and left field this season.
Nady has played left field in all five of his starting assignments this season. He’s hitting .182 in 33 at-bats but owns a lifetime average of .274.
“I’m not putting excuses on anything, to tell you the truth,” Nady said of his slow start. “I know I’m better than this. It’s obviously frustrating when you feel sometimes you have a good at-bat and you might not get the result you want.
“I’m just going to keep grinding away and try find someting that makes me feel little bit more comfortable in the box or put better swings on pitches and go from there.”