By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., March 5 -- The Washington Nationals brought in D'Angelo Jimenez as a veteran who would battle for, and possibly win, a job as a backup infielder. But three games into his Grapefruit League season, Jimenez might be fielding his way out of the competition.
Jimenez committed a pair of errors in Monday's 14-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Disney's Wide World of Sports, giving him four errors in his first three outings.
"Things happen," Jimenez said. "The errors are going to come."
Jimenez, who is not on the 40-man roster, said he was unconcerned because he made the Texas Rangers in a similar situation last spring. Plus, he is hitting .375 in the early going.
But Jimenez threw away a perfect double-play ball that sparked the Braves' six-run second inning, then couldn't handle a line drive off the bat of Edgar Renteria in the fourth, when the Braves scored seven more.
"Everything we do here counts," Manager Manny Acta said. "We're evaluating everybody here, and we don't have all the time in the world."Fick Gets Ticked
Robert Fick played the entire game at first base, hitting a three-run homer. But Fick's spark showed in the ninth against Atlanta lefty Mike Gonzalez, who came up and in on him with a fastball. Fick jawed with Gonzalez after the pitch, and then more so after he made the final out of the game by flying out.
"I was asking if he wanted to go get a beer," Fick said. Asked if he thought he was being brushed back, he said, "Were you watching?"
Gonzalez, acquired in an offseason trade from Pittsburgh, said: "He should've kept his mouth shut. That's his bad, not mine." . . .
Catcher Brian Schneider, who was scheduled to rejoin the club Monday following the birth of his first child Saturday morning, stayed with his wife until she checked out of the hospital. He is due to play Tuesday against Atlanta in Viera. . . .
First baseman Travis Lee, getting his first at-bats of the spring after battling a strained oblique muscle, played in the morning "B" game in Viera, going 1 for 2 with a homer. He hit the first pitch he saw from Anastacio Martinez over the right field fence for the home run and later flied out. Shortstop Cristian Guzman served as the designated hitter in that game, going 1 for 3 with a two-run homer off lefty Mike Hinckley, who allowed five runs in his two innings of work. . . .
Outfielder George Lombard, originally scheduled to play Monday, has a sprained ligament in his left thumb. X-rays were negative, and he will be reevaluated in five to seven days.
Pitcher of the Day Lost in the two innings and seven earned runs allowed by rotation candidates Tim Redding and Jerome Williams were three shutout innings from right-hander Josh Hall. "I just need to take advantage of every opportunity I get," he said. Up Next vs. Braves in Viera, 1:05 p.m.