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Roger Bernadina is in the mix, plus a Jordan Zimmermann update

Roger Bernadina can now "definitely" be included in the mix for right field, Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman said. Bernadina will be among the group trying to replace Elijah Dukes, which includes Willie Harris, Mike Morse and Justin Maxwell.

Nationals officials did not bring up Bernadina's name this week when they released Dukes and discussed possible replacements. But Bernadina, a speedster who broke his ankle last year, has been working with hitting coach Rick Eckstein and altered his swing last week. Bernadina took to the change quickly, and the results have convinced the Nationals to take a hard look at him.

Bernadina may apply pressure to Maxwell. The question with Maxwell has always been his bat, never his defense. So far this spring, Maxwell is 4 for 33 (.121) with a double. In 27 games at the end of the last season, his third stint with the Nationals, Maxwell hit .292 with a .924 OPS. His performance this spring, while it's a small sample, has not validated that stretch.

*Jordan Zimmermann will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, his first time throwing off a mound since undergoing Tommy John surgery last summer. Zimmermann hopes to return in a bullpen role by September, and he is still on schedule for that.

*Jim Riggleman has not considered using Cristian Guzman at second base, even as Guzman has been slow to show to his arm has returned to full strength.

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 21, 2010; 12:31 PM ET
 
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Next: Nyjer Morgan scheduled to return Thursday

Comments

Excellent news/admission! I think Bernadina is the best candidate of the four

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | March 21, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Any talk of playing Duncan in right? Is he viewed strictly as a back up first base man?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | March 21, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

If you're going to cut Dukes, you've got to keep Bernadina. And I don't get why they're wasting ABs on Willie Harris in RF. Just rotate Morse and Bernadina. I mean, once they cut down Roger's strike zone, and shorten his stroke, he's a major league ballplayer. Plus he fills that role for backup to Morgan. Maxwell is too tall for his talent - his strike zone is too big, he has too much area to cover. It's the same thing with all the guys 6'6" and up, and the good ones learn to cut their strike zone down. It's too bad he hasn't.

Posted by: Brue | March 21, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

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