Sunday, March 21, 2010

Riggleman: No Guzman at 2B

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
If Cristian Guzman's in the lineup, he'll be at shortstop.
JUPITER, Fla. -- Despite lingering concerns over the status of Cristian Guzman's right shoulder, the Nationals are not considering moving him to second base.

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.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like Guzman is going to get Duked, which will allows them to put Desmond and Bruntlett out at SS and Morse and Maxwell in RF.

natscan reduxit said...

... sorry, but it sounds as though our boy Riggs really doesn't know what to do in the Guz situation. In the end, I suspect it will be a Rizzo determination at any rate. "Duke-ing" him could be an option, and I'd support that based on his rejoinder when asked if he was in an 'open competition' with Desmond.

... I just can't see hanging onto the guy in some capacity which would have the effect of making him feel slighted and therefore sulky. Not a good situation. Time to cut ties, eat contract and move on.

... BTW Mark, can you explain just how a team's ST schedule against other clubs is made up? Is it done through MLB? It sure doesn't appear there's any rhyme nor reason to it.

Go Nats!!

Mark Zuckerman said...

Natscan reduxit: The spring schedule always has some quirks. The real complicating factor lately is that there are fewer and fewer teams on Florida's East Coast after the Dodgers and Orioles left. That's why the Nats are playing in Tampa and Fort Myers for the first time this spring. Also results in a lot of trips to the few nearby sites (especially Kissimmee, Jupiter).

JayB said...

Just got back from watching several hours of action in the Minor League Camp. Morgan when between AAA and AA games with the Tigers organization. He did not hit the ball well and struck out at least once. It was really interesting to watch. When he did get on (walk and a weak hit that I saw) they would pinch run for him and he would jog over to the other game and get right in the box. Nats head trainer did not sound happy that he was playing at all. Morgan was told not to run hard. Foli was keeping close tabs on him.

Colin Balistar got rocked in the AAA game....some kind of pitch rule in the game keep him from getting out of an inning. It was strange to watch, the last batter hit a bases loaded triple off the batters eye and then the inning just ended without 3 outs.

In the AA game Nats left the 2nd Base unmanned on a cut off play. Same thing happened a week or two again with the MLB club. Bob Boone and some other FO types I did not recognize told Foli it was his job to clean this crap up. Love it!

Ross D was in street cloths but moving well without any aids. Not sure where the top prospects were. Danny E. Burgess and several others were not around.

Mark Zuckerman said...

JayB, special Viera correspondent! Those minor-league games can be pretty funny. Totally controlled environment, which is how Morgan can rotate between games and keep leading off every inning and how a pitcher can get off the hook without recording three outs. Basically, once he hits his pitch count for the inning, they call it off. Thanks for the live report!

Anonymous said...

Best Nationals news source. Period. Thanks Mark for your continuing outstanding coverage and thanks JayB for writing a report from minor league camp.

logan said...

Great coverage! Any discussion of putting Guz at 1B and Dunn in RF? That is where a lot of infielders who can't throw anymore end up.

sjm105 said...

why is everyone trying to move/change things when the FO has made it clear that they are not moving Guzman to another position? obviously Guzman is not a fan favorite but he has just one year left on his contract. we are not in a place to contend this year so lets just get on with it. Best case scenerio is Guzman has a good start, we can trade him for prospects and Desmond takes over by all-star break.

SonnyG10 said...

Good point sjm105, I like that idea. Still, its hard to throw in the towel.

Anonymous said...

A Kennedy-Gonzalez platoon at 2B could be pretty outstanding. Check the splits.

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