The Nationals finalized their 25-man roster by trading utility infielder Alberto Gonzalez to the San Diego Padres for minor league pitcher Erik Davis and cash. The trade of Gonzalez makes it official that Alex Cora, a 35-year-old veteran, will be the Nationals’ utility infielder to begin the season.

Gonzalez, 27, was out of minor league options, and therefore the Nationals would have lost him had they tried to send him down. Gonzalez appeared in 114 games for the Nationals last season, hitting .247/.277/.301. Gonzalez’s best attribute is his defensive versatility; one scout called him the best defensive utility infielder in the majors.

Last season in 62 games with the Mets and four with the Rangers, Cora hit .210/.266/.278.

Davis, 24, went 14-3 last season with a 3.52 ERA in 27 starts across three levels. Davis, a right-handed starter, made 19 starts at high-Class A Lake Elsinore, moved to Class AA San Antonio and made one start at Class AAA Portland. In 143 1/3 total innings, Davis struck out 133 batters and walked 48. The Padres drafted Davis in the 13th round of the 2008 draft.

And so, barring a surprising twist in the next 48 hours, here is your 2011 Nationals opening day roster:


1. Ryan Zimmerman

2. Ian Desmond

3. Danny Espinosa

4. Adam LaRoche

5. Alex Cora


6. Michael Morse

7. Rick Ankiel

8. Jayson Werth

9. Laynce Nix

10. Jerry Hairston

11. Matt Stairs


12. Ivan Rodriguez

13. Wilson Ramos


14. Livan Hernandez

15. John Lannan

16. Jordan Zimmermann

17. Jason Marquis

18. Tom Gorzelanny


19. Drew Storen

20. Sean Burnett

21. Tyler Clippard

22. Todd Coffey

23. Doug Slaten

24. Chad Gaudin

25. Brian Broderick