LAKELAND, Fla., March 7 -- The Washington Nationals made their first cuts of spring training Monday, keeping with the policy of General Manager Jim Bowden to send to the minors players with no chance to make the major league club but forcing Manager Frank Robinson to play his regulars more frequently than he prefers this early.
Robinson said this is the earliest cuts have been made in his managerial career.
"That's not all bad," Robinson said. "But you still need people. It's still early here to be playing your regular guys an awful lot."
Bowden, though, believes that having 60 players in camp "is almost an impossible number to work with." The cuts Monday brought the roster to 49.
The players cut were pitchers Seth Greisinger (McLean High and University of Virginia), Chad Durbin, Luis Pineda, Micah Bowie, Josh Karp and Bill Bray; infielders Rick Short, Jared Sandberg and Phil Hiatt; catcher Drew McMillan; and outfielder Brandon Watson. Bray got the win in the Nationals' 6-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium Monday. Bowden said the next round of cuts likely will come within the next week.
Righty Tony Armas Jr.'s line wasn't pretty -- three innings, five hits, three runs (all earned), two walks, two strikeouts and a solo homer to Bobby Higginson.
"I'm looking for results," Armas said. "I'm going out there, and I'm feeling great. I just got to go out there and perform." Robinson said Armas kept the ball up in the strike zone too much. . . .
Ian Desmond, the 19-year-old shortstop who made a spectacular play Saturday against Baltimore, made another with a man on first. He ranged behind third to snare a popup, wheeled and threw to second because he knew he couldn't reach first. Second baseman Brendan Harris doubled the runner off. "You cannot teach that," Robinson said. "That's two of the best plays I've seen. Not just in spring training. That I've seen."