Nationals roster notes and tonight’s lineup

Jonathan Newton/WP

Jonathan Newton/WP

The Nationals’ opening day 25-man roster has essentially been set from the moment spring training began, and there are only a few matters to sort out on the fringes of their roster.

Six Nationals – Roger Bernadina, Tyler Clippard, Ross Detwiler, Roger Bernadina, Henry Rodriguez and Carlos Rivero – are out of minor league options. Every other player in camp is either a minor league free agent or can be sent to the minors without other clubs having the chance to pluck them away.

Of those six, only Rivero is not an obvious choice for the 25-man roster. Manager Davey Johnson has said an injury would have to occur for the Nationals to carry Rivero, and so far they have stayed as healthy as can be.

The Nationals, then, are in a position which forces them to try to trade Rivero – which, according to one baseball official familiar with their thinking, they are. Rivero, 24, spent all of last year on the 40-man roster, hitting .303/.347/.435 with 10 homers over 126 games. This spring, he has played third base, shortstop and both corner outfield spots.

A team in need of a stopgap – like, say, the Yankees at third base – or a versatile bench player may be willing to trade for Rivero. Opposing teams could also wait for the Nationals to designate Rivero for assignment, at which point the Nationals would have 10 days to release or trade him, and other teams would have the choice of grabbing him on waivers.

The Nationals figure to lose Rivero. At this point, it’s just a matter of if they can get a player in return for him.

In another roster note, the Nationals will likely lose both of the major league Rule 5 picks other teams grabbed from them. Speedster Jeff Kobernus, who played shortstop and stole a million bases in the Nationals’ farm system, has a solid chance to make the Tigers as a reserve outfielder, per MLive.com beat writer Chris Iott.

Left-hander Danny Rosenbaum, similarly, could crack the Rockies as a swing starter/reliever. Rosenbaum is “on the bubble” to make the 40-man roster, according to one person familiar with Colorado’s thinking, but the Rockies are leaning toward keeping him. A control pitcher, Rosenbaum had a 2.84 ERA in 507 2/3 career minor league innings, topping out at Class AA Harrisburg last season.

If either Kobernus or Rosenbaum are removed from their team’s active roster this year, they would be returned to the Nationals. If not, their contractual rights would remain with their current teams.

The Nationals are facing the “problem” that comes with being a contender – there are not enough roster spots to keep all they players they would like to keep.

As for tonight’s game, the Nationals will send their full, regular season to face the Braves. The pitching match-up features two veteran right-handers who keep it in the low 90s and once played for Oakland – Dan Haren vs. Tim Hudson.

Nationals

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Jayson Werth, RF

3. Bryce Harper, LF

4. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

5. Adam LaRoche, 1B

6. Ian Desmond, SS

7. Danny Espinosa, 2B

8. Wilson Ramos, C

9. Dan Haren, SP

 

Braves

1. Andrelton Simmons, SS

2. Reed Johnson, CF

3. Jason Heyward, RF

4. Justin Upton, LF

5. Juan Francisco, 3B

6. Chris Johnson, 3B

7. Tyler Pastornicky, 2B

8. Matt Pagnozzi, C

9. Tim Hudson, SP

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