Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
If Cristian Guzman's in the lineup, he'll be at shortstop.
Manager Jim Riggleman said the club continues to think of the veteran strictly as a shortstop and intends to keep him there, with Adam Kennedy as the everyday second baseman.
"Kennedy's our second baseman," Riggleman said. "That's why we went and got him. Whoever's not playing shortstop can play some other positions, but right now we're looking at Guzie at short. If he can't handle that yet, then we'll back off that."
Guzman, who had offseason shoulder surgery, has yet to show he can throw a ball from the left-side hole with any velocity. He particularly looked weak yesterday afternoon after fielding a ball hit to his right, uncorking a soft, off-line throw to first for an error.
Riggleman has said there is an "open competition" between Guzman and rookie Ian Desmond for the shortstop's job. Last fall and over the winter, the club considered asking Guzman to move to second base but scrapped those plans after signing Kennedy to a one-year, $1.25 million contract.
General manager Mike Rizzo has said Desmond will play every day at shortstop this season, whether in Washington or at Class AAA Syracuse. Less clear is what would happen to Guzman if Desmond wins the starting job in the majors, especially if he's not used at all at second base.
"We've got a lot of good options there," Riggleman said. "We've got Desmond. We've got guys like [Eric] Bruntlett and [Alberto] Gonzalez. There's a lot to sort out. But I think we're going to be happy with however it plays out."
In other injury news, Nyjer Morgan (tight hamstring) won't return to the Nationals' lineup until Thursday. Morgan will get numerous at-bats in an intrasquad, minor-league game in Viera for the second straight day after getting 10 plate appearances in that game yesterday. Riggleman said the club's training staff prefers to keep him in Viera and not have him make long bus trips. (The Nats play back-to-back games in Lakeland and Tampa on Tuesday and Wednesday.)
Meanwhile, Jordan Zimmermann is scheduled to throw a bullpen session tomorrow in Viera, his first since undergoing Tommy John surgery last summer. Zimmermann still isn't expected to be ready to pitch in the majors until August or September at the earliest.