(John McDonnell / The Washington Post) (John McDonnell / The Washington Post)

Bryce Harper, off to a scalding 6-for-8 start to spring, did in fact talk his way into today’s starting lineup. Davey Johnson slotted him in left field and hitting second, between Denard Span (who turns 29 today) and Jayson Werth.

“He gets on every time, so I figured I might as well get him up earlier,” Johnson said. “No, just fooling around.”

Johnson joked with reporters that he had see Harper penciled into second in some of their lineups. He asked me if that’s where I had him, and I told him no, I had figured on Werth hitting second and Harper batting third. “Well,” Johnson said, “you’re a smart son of a [gun].”

So, anyhow, Werth and Adam LaRoche will make their spring debuts today. Johnson said Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos are roughly “a week away” from getting into game action as designated hitters.

Ramos had planned on sliding yesterday, but the Nationals’ training staff put the kibosh on those plans. Johnson said team doctor Wiemi Douoguih will come to Viera this weekend to run some tests Ramos’s surgically repaired right knee. Johnson said Ramos has “92 to 95 percent” strength back in his knee.

Here are today’s lineups:


1. Denard Span, CF

2. Bryce Harper, LF

3. Jayson Werth, RF

4. Adam LaRoche, 1B

5. Chad Tracy, 3B

6. Danny Espinosa, DH

7. Kurt Suzuki, C

8. Steve Lombardozzi, 2B

9. Zach Walters, SS

-Dan Haren, SP


1. Christian Yelich, LF

2. Donovan Solano, 2B

3. Matt Downs, 3B

4. Joe Mahoney, 1B

5. Alfredo Silverio, DH

6. Chris Coghlan, RF

7. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS

8. Kyle Skipworth, C

9. Gorkys Hernandez, CF

-Nathan Eovaldi, SP