US Presswire file photo
Mike Cameron never made it to Nationals camp before deciding to retire.
Cameron, 39, had a locker prepared at Space Coast Stadium, and his No. 44 jersey was hanging from it this morning as pitchers and catchers officially reported for spring training. The three-time Gold Glove Award winner, though, informed the Nationals of his decision before ever arriving in Viera, throwing something of a wrench into the club's short-term plans.
Though Cameron was due to participate in camp on a minor-league contract, he was expected to make the Opening Day roster and share the center field job with Rick Ankiel and/or Roger Bernadina, serving as the right-handed half of a platoon. The Nationals now will either have to find another right-handed-hitting center fielder, let either Ankiel or Bernadina take the job outright or perhaps move Jayson Werth to center field (opening up right field for top prospect Bryce Harper).
One other possible scenario: Werth could shift back and forth between right field and center field depending on the opposing starter on any given day. Against right-handers, Werth could be in right field with Ankiel in center. Against lefties, Werth could be in center field with veteran Mark DeRosa in right.
A 17-year veteran with the White Sox, Reds, Mariners, Mets, Padres, Brewers, Red Sox and Marlins, Cameron finishes his career with a .249 average, 278 homers and 297 stolen bases.