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Mike Rizzo insists he's not making any phone calls to other GMs right now.
"We like the team we have right now," Rizzo said following today's 5-1 loss to the Astros, which dropped the Nationals to 0-9-1 since March 12. "If something comes up that we can improve ourselves, we'll certainly investigate it. But we're not selling anybody, shopping anybody or making a lot of phone calls. Because we're comfortable where we're at."
Despite speculation from other corners of the baseball world about the Nationals' desire both to acquire another outfielder and trade away from their pitching depth, Rizzo insists he's happy with his roster as-is.
That means left-hander John Lannan is likely to open the season as the No. 5 starter, filling the spot that would have been Chien-Ming Wang's before the latter suffered a hamstring injury that is expected to sideline him for at least part of April.
It also means the Nationals are likely to open the season with Rick Ankiel as the starting center fielder and perhaps Brett Carroll serving as a right-handed platoon alternative.
Both players are in camp as non-roster invitees, but each has made a case to make the club and receive significant playing time. Ankiel missed time earlier this month with a quad strain but returned this week and is hitting .364 in seven total games. Carroll, meanwhile, has impressed manager Davey Johnson with his versatility -- he may even serve as the club's emergency catcher -- and has received 40 at-bats this spring, third-most on the roster behind Chad Tracy and Ian Desmond.
With most of their regulars receiving little playing time to date, the Nationals have produced very little at the plate. They entered today's game having scored only two runs in 28 innings, then were no-hit by Astros right-handers Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell until Jayson Werth tapped a slow roller up the middle with two outs in the seventh for a seeing-eye single. Jason Michaels' solo homer in the eighth snapped a 16-inning scoreless streak.
Rizzo and Johnson, though, aren't expressing any concerns about their team's offensive woes. They expect to see better results next week as more regulars begin playing full games and as left fielder Michael Morse and first baseman Adam LaRoche potentially return from injuries.
"When healthy, we feel really good about where we're at," Rizzo said. "As of today, our health status, I feel good about it. Knock on wood, I think there hasn't been any catastrophic injury that's going to carry into the month of April and into the season. A lot of teams can't say that. So I feel good about that."