Jesus Flores's shoulder and Jason Marquis's bat
First, a quick update on catcher Jesus Flores, who is recovering from surgery on the labrum in his right shoulder: He still has not swung a bat this spring and he has still not set any kind of timetable for his return. "It's going to be a while," he said. His best milestone so far has been throwing 120 feet. Pessimism remains the general theme for Flores, still an amiable presence.
When the Nationals signed Jason Marquis in order to place him atop their rotation, they also added a potential bench player. Manager Jim Riggleman said today Marquis, an outstanding athlete, may be used as a pinch hitter and a pinch runner this season. In his career as a pinch hitter, Marquis is 6 for 26 with a double, a triple, and eight strikeouts. He has served as pinch runner 29 times in his career.
"As that need arises, we'll do that," Riggleman said. "There are times in a game when your starter is just not having a good day and you don't want to use up one of your guys who you might need later in the game, one of your position players. There may not be anybody on base. Rather than let that day's starter hit, you might use a guy like Jason to hit. You can't ignore that he's an asset there, too."
Marquis owns a reputation as a good hitter, but that may owe more to the the pitchers he's being compared with. As a pitcher, yes, he's a pretty good hitter, but his ability doesn't extend too far beyond that. He's accumalted 552 plate appearances in his big league career, about what a position player receives in one season. He's at .202/.223/.295 with a 32 OPS+ and five home runs.
One more quick thing: Cristian Guzman is in today as the designated hitter as a way to ease him into spring. He'll play shortstop Monday, Riggleman said. "He could play today," Riggleman said. "We just want to let him build up a little more." Guzman had shoulder surgery in October.
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