Ian Desmond and Cristian Guzman in 'open competition'
Manager Jim Riggleman today offered the clearest proclomation to date that the Nationals will give Ian Desmond, the breakout start of Nationals spring training, the opportunity to beat out incumbent shortstop Cristian Guzman for the starting position.
"i think it's an open competition," Riggleman said. "But they're both such good offensive players that we're finagling a way around for both of them to get a lot of playing time. At this point, we've got two weeks to go. I don't want to get too ahead of myself and get two excited about two weeks of baseball, but Desmond has played great."
Desmond, 24, made his major league debut last season and in 89 plate apperances punched up an .879 OPS and a 128 OPS+. Throughout spring training, he has been perhaps the Nationals' best player, batting .387 with a .441 on-base percentage and a .645 slugging percentage. Despite the small sample size, Desmond has played as if he has moved beyond the minor leagues, where he has played since the then-Expos drafted in the third round in 2004.
Guzman's health concerns allowed Desmond the opportunity to showcase himself. While both tending to his wife as she gave birth and also still building his arm strength after last fall's shoulder surgery, Guzman has only played in five games. In one of his 15 at-bats, he hit a three-run home run. Guzman had only an 83 OPS+ last year, falling well below average largely because of his inability to draw walks.
Today, Desmond is start at shortstop, and tomorrow Guzman will play. "We just want Guzie to keep building arm strength, and we'll see where that takes us," Riggleman said. "I'm glad Guzie hasn't been tested too much. Here pretty soon, I'd like to see one of the plays he has to make. He hasn't had one ball hit to his right."
March 19, 2010; 3:54 PM ET
Categories: Ian Desmond
Save & Share: Previous: Today's lineups
Next: Willie Harris will be the Nationals' opening day right fielder, but then what?
Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 19, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JohninMpls | March 19, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: eyestreet | March 19, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Sunderland | March 19, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: paulkp | March 19, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ArtMonkToTheSticks | March 19, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: DCPowerGator | March 19, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: autobits | March 19, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: CJArlington | March 19, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 19, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: BinM | March 19, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: eddie5 | March 19, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.