Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Wherever Ian Desmond plays this season, he'll be at shortstop.
General manager Mike Rizzo said the 24-year-old needs to play every day this season, no matter if he's in the majors or the minors.
"He's  years old, and he's going to be an everyday shortstop in the big leagues," Rizzo said. "He's going to play every day at shortstop somewhere this season."
Desmond has been torrid at the plate this spring, carrying a .476 average (10-for-21) with five extra-base hits and 11 RBI into today's game against the Cardinals. He's also drawn three walks, leading to a .542 on-base percentage.
With Cristian Guzman guaranteed $8 million in the final year of his current contract, manager Jim Riggleman has sought to get Desmond more playing time by using him in center field and right field this spring. The manager has said he believes Desmond has the athletic skills to play the outfield if needed, leading to speculation he could make the Opening Day roster as a utilityman.
Rizzo, though, shot down that possibility today. The GM also indicated the strong possibility rookie reliever Drew Storen could make the Opening Day roster.
Storen, the 10th overall pick in last summer's draft, has tossed three scoreless innings so far this spring, allowing only one hit (on a misplayed pop-up) and one walk so far. Because he spent last summer pitching at low-Class A, high-Class A and Class AA, he carries more professional experience into camp than fellow first-round pick Stephen Strasburg, who is unlikely to make the Opening Day rotation no matter how well he pitches this spring.
"He's in the same boat as all of our young prospects are," Rizzo said. "Whatever's best for him developmentally and best for the organization, not only in 2010 but in the long-term, we're going to do that. Now, Storen's had what I call a 'full' season in the minor leagues under his belt, with half a minor-league season and the [Arizona] Fall League. He's a little bit farther along as far as development than Stephen is. But our plan is not going to waver on either one of them."