We’ve had a pretty good idea for a few days what the Nats’ opening day lineup would look like, but Manager Jim Riggleman made official today. Here you go:
1. Ian Desmond, SS
2. Jayson Werth, RF
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Adam LaRoche, 1B
5. Michael Morse, LF
6. Rick Ankiel, CF
7. Danny Espinosa, 2B
8. Ivan Rodriguez, C
9. Livan Hernandez, SP
>>> Jordan Zimmermann will wrap up his spring training, an encouraging month for him as he, in his mind, fully put his recovery Tommy John surgery in the rearview. Zimmermann will have an innings limit this season. The Nationals still have yet to decide the precise number, one official said, but it will likely fall within the 150-165 range.
>>> John Lannan threw seven innings in his minor league game yesterday, a good sign for his durability heading into the season.
>>> In detailing some his surprises from this spring, Manager Jim Riggleman listed Michael Morse’s nine home runs. “You hate to say Morse, but I mean, nine homers,” Riggleman said. “Anybody would be surprised with nine homers in spring training in Florida. I know he has a lot of talent, but that many homers in spring training. …”
I’m not sure exactly how many homers Morse pulled or hit to right-center, but from memory I would guess five or six were smoked to right-center field. Like many tall right-handed hitters, including Jayson Werth, much or Morse’s power is directed to the alley in right-center. He could do that last year, and he took it up a level in the spring.
“He’s got great power both ways,” Riggleman said. “If you can hit the ball out to right, that’s huge. The really big-time power hitters, almost all the guys who hit 20 or 30 a year, are hitting a significant number to the opposite field.”
>>> Laynce Nix’s inclusion on the opening day roster was cinched only after several other dominos fell. The Nationals signed Nix on Feb. 3, making his one of the final non-roster invitees they added. But when Morse claimed left field and the Nationals settled on Rick Ankiel in center, the Nationals came to believe he fit their needs best off the bench.
“When he signed, he certainly was not on the front burner of our expectations,” Riggleman said. “But as the club shook out and Morse was in left and [Rick] Ankiel in center, he gives us another veteran guy and allows us let Bernie go play. His track record coming off the bench for a playoff team in Cincinnati is something we were encouraged by.”