The Nationals finalized the position player portion of their opening day roster, cutting speedy infielder-outfielder Jeff Kobernus and switching-hitting catcher Sandy Leon from big league spring training after Wednesday’s game. Kobernus was optioned to Class AAA Syracuse, Leon to Class AA Harrisburg.
Neither move was unexpected after the Nationals signed veteran utility infielder Kevin Frandsen to a big-league contract Wednesday morning, the day after he opted out of his deal with Philadelphia. The moves also sets the Nationals bench for opening day. It will include Frandsen, along with catcher Jose Lobaton, outfielders Nate McLouth and Scott Hairston, whose spring struggles cast some doubt on his status.
The Nationals have also operated as if Anthony Rendon will be the team’s starting second baseman and Danny Espinosa will be his backup, and also the reserve shortstop. Manager Matt Williams has yet to formally announce any choice, preferring to leave the competition play out until the end, but it is clear Espinosa will be on the team. He entered spring with much to prove after a season of injuries and struggles at the plate.
The Nationals now have 26 active players in camp. The only remaining question is the rotation’s final starter, which is expected to be either Tanner Roark or Taylor Jordan.