The Nationals are on their way to Kissimmee, where Livan Hernandez will make his final tuneup before he takes the ball opening day. The Nationals’ lineup today, after two obvious alterations, almost certainly will serve as a previdw for opening day:


1. Ian Desmond, SS

2. Laynce Nix, RF

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Matt Stairs, 1B

5. Michael Morse, LF

6. Rick Ankiel, CF

7. Danny Espinosa, 2B

8. Ivan Rodriguez, C

9. Livan Hernandez, SP

Jasyon Werth and Adam LaRoche are staying back, Werth just because and LaRoche to rest his ailing shoulder. But substitute Werth for Nix and LaRoche for Stairs, and you’ve got what looks to be your Nationals opening day lineup.

Nyjer Morgan will also stay back. He will take a few at-bats in a minor league game to stay sharp. The Nationals are not going to cut him today, I’m told, or at least that was not the plan last night. But his days with the Nationals certainly appear as if they are drawing to a close. The Nationals have pretty much decided on Rick Ankiel as their center fielder, and he told he doesn’t expect to be a National within a week.

Morgan’s name has surfaced in trade rumors, and if Morgan is not going to start, the Nationals would certainly have reason to trade him. His skill-set does not translate to being a fourth outfielder. He has an option, but at 30, Morgan is not at age at which he’ll develop much more. Morgan played okay this spring, especially after a 1-for-16 start. And his attitude has been roundly praised. The question becomes, why did the Nationals bring him to camp at all? The reality, it seems, is that Morgan’s time in Washington is short.

“I got nothing to say about that,” Morgan said yesterday of trade speculation. “All I can do is just play. I can’t worry about that stuff. But you know what? It feels good that somebody still likes me.”