>>> Davey Johnson may eventually go from 12 to 11 pitchers on his roster. But not yet, he said, with the Nationals’ starting pitchers not fully stretched out so early in the season.
That means that the Nationals will swap out two positions players when Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel return. After receiving treatment on his strained lat in New York yesterday – “a personal choice,” Johnson said – Morse returned to Class AA Harrisburg and will be in the lineup today. He is eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday.
Ankiel has been impressive in his rehab, hitting two homers, at least one of them an opposite-field blast. Ankiel this spring concentrated on using the entire field as a hitter.
>>> The Nationals’ bullpen is in good shape this afternoon despite pitching 5 1/3 innings yesterday. Brad Lidge and left-handers Tom Gorzelanny and Sean Burnett did not pitch yesterday, and Ryan Mattheus should be available after throwing only 10 pitches in a 1-2-3 inning Saturday.
The Cubs stacked their lineup with five left-handed hitters against Jordan Zimmermann, leaving no left-handers on the bench. They made a late change after second baseman Blake DeWitt came up with back spasms, putting Darwin Barney, a right-hander, in his place. “I’ve got a couple of left-handers down there,” Manager Davey Johnson said. “Last time I checked, their lineup had a few lefties in it, too.”
>>> Xavier Nady will be making his first start after playing in only six spring training games. “He’s not where he needs to be, obviously,” Johnson said. “He swung the bat very good for me in the short time he was there. He probably doesn’t need a whole of time because he’s one of those Thou Shalt Not Pass guys – if he sees it and he likes it, he’s going to hack at it.”
>>> Chien-Ming Wang continued his flawless rehab from a strained left hamstring. Wang threw off a mound “a little bit” yesterday, Johnson said. “He’s about three weeks away. I haven’t heard of any setbacks.”