Wednesday, April 4, 2012

DeRosa, Bernadina in Opening Day lineup

US Presswire photo
Veteran Mark DeRosa will start in left field and bat sixth in tomorrow's opener.
CHICAGO -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson revealed his Opening Day lineup 24 hours early, opting to go with Mark DeRosa and Roger Bernadina as his fill-in left and center fielders with regulars Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel on the disabled list.

Morse (lat strain) and Ankiel (quadriceps tightness) were officially placed on the 15-day DL yesterday, though each is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Class AA Harrisburg tomorrow. Morse is eligible to return as soon as Tuesday; Ankiel is eligible to come back on April 12.

Those injuries forced the Nationals to turn to their bench for temporary starters at two outfield positions, but the club feels like it's in a much more equipped to handle such a situation than it's been in the past.

"We're a lot deeper," third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "DeRosa, [Chad] Tracy, [Xavier] Nady, they've been big-time players on big-league teams before. Davey said it all along: You're starting guys are your best guys, but the goal is to not have a big drop-off when your bench guys need to play. And I think for sure we have that here."

DeRosa will take Morse's spot in left field and bat sixth. The 37-year-old utilityman may prove to be one of the Nationals' most important offseason acquisitions, a proven hitter with a career .341 on-base percentage who has fully recovered from three wrist surgeries over the last 2 1/2 years.

Bernadina, meanwhile, will get another crack in center field after bouncing around between that position, left field and Class AAA Syracuse over the last four seasons. The 27-year-old figures to platoon for now with right-handed outfielder Brett Carroll, though Bernadina could start all three games at Wrigley Field this weekend with the Cubs sending three right-handers (Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija) to the mound.

In his search for a cleanup hitter while Morse is sidelined, Johnson has elected to go with Adam LaRoche, the left-handed-hitting first baseman who missed much of spring training with a bruised foot. LaRoche wound up starting the Nationals' final six exhibition games, though, and appeared fully recovered from the injury.

Right fielder Jayson Werth, who had been serving as the Nationals' cleanup hitter this spring with both Morse and LaRoche out, will bat fifth but could be bumped up to the No. 4 spot against left-handed starters.

Here's the full Opening Day lineup...
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Jayson Werth
LF Mark DeRosa
CF Roger Bernadina
C Wilson Ramos
P Stephen Strasburg

32 comments:

Unkyd said...

Me Likey...

Section 222 said...

Dang those injuries! The best thing about this Opening Day lineup is that it's going to be Opening Day. And Strasburg is pitching!

On the subject of the Nats' pitching rotation and, particularly, its future strength, this graphic from the Post is quite interesting.

MicheleS said...

We have just over 24 hours and this season is FINALLY going to start!

sm13 said...

Sec222 has it right. 24 hours or so until first pitch. Let the games begin!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Pettite is now pitching for the Yankees.

Doc said...

Anyway Mark, you know more about this team than I do, but I still think that 84 wins is low-ball.

If the offense lives up to current expectations, and goes beyond last year's forlorn output, I think that 92-94 is more realistic!

Well see!!!!!!!!!!

Go Nats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steady Eddie said...

Sec. 222 -- thanks for the graphic. It's a pretty dramatic illustration of exactly why the Nats could afford to lay out $16 million for a #4 and #6-7 starter this year. As Rizzo has said, Jackson is largely here to help fill out the innings deficit for Stras and Wang, and is very unlikely to be back unless he gets a lot more consistent.

UNTERP said...

Doc said...

Anyway Mark, you know more about this team than I do, but I still think that 84 wins is low-ball.

If the offense lives up to current expectations, and goes beyond last year's forlorn output, I think that 92-94 is more realistic!

Well see!!!!!!!!!!

Go Nats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I'm in for 93 Wins...

Ryan Eades said...

Mark, can you ask Davey his rationale for Ramos hitting 8th? I believe I recall hearing he liked it and that Davey had some good reasons for it, which is fine, but I'm curious to be reminded as to why.

My guess is Bernie would be in little to no position to succeed in the 8 hole with a pitcher behind him, but my question is - do you pay a bigger price by negating a higher run production ceiling of Ramos' bat in the name of giving a slight chance for a bench player to be a touch more successful? I guess part of Davey's job will be to figure out which tips the scales in the Nats favor for an offense that needs to maximize every run scoring opportunity it can.

I assume Ramos hits 7 with Morse, Ankiel (hitting 8th) and everyone else healthy?

Anonymous said...

If the offense lives up to current hopes, 90 wins is possible.
84 is about right for current expectations.
But then again, if the pitching is great, but the crappy-to-mediocre hitting is timely, things can happen. Ask the Giants.

Anonymous said...

DeRosa, Bernie, Ramos in 6-7-8 is good for me in that DeRosa can be an RBI guy if Werth gets on and can also take a pitch or two should they elect to run Werth. Bernadina is probably the best bunter on the club and if he gets on or moves guys over and the opposing team wants to walk Ramos to take on the pitcher then the Nats could get the odd big inning if they get some luck from the 9 hole. Who knows. We'll see.

dfh21

NatsJack in Florida said...

According to Davey, by batting Ramos 8th, it's like having a second clean up hitter in the line up.

Not sure how that works when he's followed by the pitcher but it does lend itself to that theory in later innings when pinch hitters come into play.

Adam said...

Ramos hitting 8th is nuts..he is probably the 3rd best hitter in the lineup right now and is a future all-star, i guarintee it.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back for what seems like a fun and exciting year!!!

baseballswami said...

One thing that strikes me about this line - up is that if you didn't know that Ankiel and Morse were supposed to be playing there, then you would just think it was a regular major league line-up. Bernadina has been our starting centerfielder many times and I am sure that DeRosa still sees himself as a starter. You don't look at it and automatically say "who?" or have "substitute" screaming out at you. They sure don't look like sloppy seconds to me. DeRosa has been productive with his bat, too. Once again, the depth is off the charts. It seems like having the right players waiting off-stage can really get you through those dl stints that are going to happen,no matter what.

Les in NC said...

I concur 'swami. I really like the depth on this team. I feel like when someone goes down like Morse and we have the Shark backing him up we can still compete. I'm not counting Ankiel as much as I just don't have a lot of faith in him.

Anonymous said...

I think part of the rationale for Ramos hitting 8th is that he is a very patient hitter. Pitchers don't necessarily give hitters in that spot a whole lot of good pitches to hit. The more aggressive batters will swing at some bad pitches; I think that's what we saw when Desmond hit there last year.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Swami.... Don't let JayB read that 'cause you are inferring that the bench is pretty good.

sjm308 said...

Swami: I had never thought of that and its a great point! I am really hoping to see a lot of DeRosa and Lombardozzi throughout the season. I know that Desi and Danny love to play but I think Davey is strong enough to give them the appropriate days off.

As to Ramos, I also recall reading last year that he is extremely comfortable hitting in that 8th spot and lord knows we didn't have anyone else who was doing anything there last year.

Go Nats!

Tom in AR said...

I would think that you put Bernadina at 8, so that if he gets on you can use the pitcher to sac. bunt him into scoring position and then have some speed on the bases when Desmond and Espinosa are hitting. But what the heck do I know? Maybe since he is left handed he breaks up a run of righties with Werth, DeRosa and Ramos.

Anonymous said...

Swami.... Don't let JayB read that 'cause you are inferring that the bench is pretty good.

JayB, is worried about the hitting as am I and now so apparently is Ladson. DeRosa definitely does not fall under that category but there are maybe 3 to 4 reliable hitters on this team. The rest are either still developing or never will like former Marlin Brett Carroll.

JayB, is just impatient feeling that he has waited too many years for a quality on the field major league product. You can't blame him.

But, to do it the right way to reverse what was done by Bowden and major league baseball takes time and Rizzo and FO have to learn to manage up and that means ownership as a part of that process. So far they appear to be doing better than past years ... apparently with help from Boz.

Callis seems to think Anthony Rendon will be ini AA before this season is over. We know where Harper is. That's two potential impact hitters at the major league level. That's a lot! Both would help this lineup. But, patience is required.

baseballswami said...

And another thing I have been thinking about (since I think about the Nats waaay too much) is that I wish it wasn't automatic that the pitchers just bunt,( of course with a runner on), JZim and Stras can handle a bat, Stammen is a decent hitter. I know they don't necessarily want them running the bases, either, but it just seems like it would help our offense if we let them try to make contact in some situations if they handle a bat well. It just seems like in the NL we accept that the pitcher is an out - it might be a move-the-runner productive out, but it's an accepted out. Does it have to be that way?

erocks33 said...

I think I'd like to see DeRosa batting second when he starts, with Espinosa in the 6 spot.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

Off-topic, but this seems as good a place as any to share this:

'We're gonna need a bigger jail...' Arizona proposes to imprison Internet trolls

jd said...

The injuries to Storen and Ankiel can be absorbed without much if any pain in the W/L column. The effect of CMW's absence depends entirely on how well Detwiler does but I suspect that this won't prove to be that big of a deal either.

Morse is a different issue; he was at the heart of much of the offense produced last year and is expected to do that again this year; a lengthy absence by MM would IMO be devastating to the Nats.

JayB not withstanding the bench is fine; especially after you drop Carrol and Tracy. DeRosa, Nady, Flores, Lombardozzi and Bernadina are well above average for this role.

JayB wants to keep harping on the cheap Nats issue but after Werth, EJax and RZim these arguments are hollow. I am not sure what his motivation is but the sheer redundancy of his arguments proves that he is coming at this from a predisposed angle.

jd said...

erocks33

That's not a bad idea except DeRosa goes to the bench when Morse returns and you don't want Morse batting 2nd.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I really like the Moose hitting eighth. Gives us a little pop at the bottom of the order. From now until April 12, I am only whispering around the house so I can save the vocal chords to give Moose all I've got during his standing O next Thursday. If anybody deserves it, he does.

Best 25 Have Come North!

The bell is ringing. It is now post time.

Drew said...

Greetings from your temporary Paris correspondent. The Lannan news is a stunner, but I'm looking forward to seeing what Detwiler and Stammen can do.

As for today's Paris update: My wife and I spent the day strolling through the Musee d' Orsay and the Louvre, delighting at the revelations around every corner.

For instance, it turns out the Venus de Milo has better hands than Ian Desmond.

Wally said...

Hey Drew - check out the Musée de l'Orangerie if you like Monet. It looks like a gov't annex building in that big park.

I had no idea the Waterlilies were so big.

Drew said...

Thanks Wally. It's on the list!

David said...

Bernadina can bunt for hits... and then Ramos and a PH in the 8th can get him over. I totally get putting Ramos 8th.

natsfan1a said...

Sitting in a quiet museum room, surrounded by the large waterlily canvases and with soft light filtering in. Suffused with a sense of calm and peace. That's one of my all-team peak museum experiences, anywhere. Well, there's a Rodin museum experience, too...but I digress.

If you're so inclined, Drew, have a crepe for me, from one of those sidewalk stands. I like Nutella but buy whatever you like. :-)

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