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Posted at 9:56 AM ET, 02/26/2011

The Nationals first spring lineup, plus updates on Cla Meredith and Chien-Ming Wang

By Adam Kilgore

The Nationals' first game of the year is about 50 hours away, and Manager Jim Riggleman has got the lineup set for Monday against the Mets:

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF
2. Ian Desmond, SS
3. Roger Bernadina, LF
4. Michael Morse, RF
5. Matt Stairs, DH
6. Wilson Ramos, C
7. Kevin Barker, 1B
8. Danny Espinosa, 2B
9. Jerry Hairston, 3B
-Chad Gaudin, SP

Jesus Flores will also be on the trip, and he'll catch the latter half of the game, his first major league game action behind the plate since May 2009. (He did appear as a pinch-hitter late that season.) Riggleman called starting Wilson over Flores "a coin flip."

>>>Cla Meredith will receive more tests on his elbow after leaving yesterday's practice early. I had been told Meredith tweaked his back yesterday, but today Meredith sent word through a Nationals spokesman that his back, while a little sore, is not an issue. It's still his right elbow, which he underwent surgery to remove bone chips from last October, that's the problem. Either way, it's been a rough spring for Meredith. "I'm sure he's down in the dumps about it," Riggleman said.

>>>Chien-Ming Wang will throw live batting practice today, his final preparation before throwing in a game in the Nationals' accelerated minor league camp on March 4.

Wang has indicated that he would like to be ready to pitch in the majors by opening day, a change from his initial plan to start the season on the disabled list. "I was glad to hear that," Riggleman said.

By Adam Kilgore  | February 26, 2011; 9:56 AM ET
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Next: Cla Meredith received an arthrogram on his elbow


Unless they ask for more live-game work, give the Veteran players (Pudge, LaRoche, RZim, Werth) just a couple of games until mid-March; Let the kids / NRI's show what they've got.

Posted by: BinM | February 26, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

For those with access to MLB Network, I believe that Monday's game is scheduled to be carried on it.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 26, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Expanding on my post, just looked at the schedule, and the Monday game won't be aired until 9:30 p.m. ET.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 26, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Looks like they are pondering doing with Garret Mock as they did with Colin Balester: moving him to the bullpen. Just so Marquis gets a slot? If true its really ridiculous. They need top of the rotation starters not "innings eaters" who were unceremoniously shelved and left off of a play-off roster followed then by a horrific year with a new team. Its time to move in a different direction Mike Rizzo!

If Mock can prove his case they should let him.

Posted by: periculum | February 26, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Marquis won't be in the rotation past July. By then, he will either have pitched well enough to be traded, or poorly enough to be replaced by a pitcher who has a chance to be with the team in 2012 (Detwiller, Maya, Mock).

Posted by: hapster | February 26, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Marquis won't be in the rotation past July. By then, he will either have pitched well enough to be traded, or poorly enough to be replaced by a pitcher who has a chance to be with the team in 2012 (Detwiler, Maya, Mock).

Posted by: hapster | February 26, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Garrett Mock is not going to be a top of the rotation starter.

Posted by: 202character | February 26, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Garrett Mock has proven to have been 'a Million-dollar arm with a ten-cent head' since 2006 - Just another one of the Nationals' real-life versions of Nuke LaLoosh (Balester could fit the mold as well). At least moving Balester to the bullpen seems to have had a positive result.

Rizzo seems to want to give every chance possible for Mock to make good on his prospect rating (Rizzo did draft & sign him w/AZ, after all); I, for one have my doubts, as Mock will turn 28 in April and has never amounted to more than a 3A pitcher in actual value.

If Mock turns the corner this year & produces better numbers than Marquis in ST, then he earns my respect & I'll grouse about him a little less. We'll see how it plays out over the next month or so.

Posted by: BinM | February 26, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Even for a Spring Training game the lineup listed above looks absolutely dreadful. If the Natinals are counting on even one or 2 of those guys then it is going to be a very, very, very long season and the Natinals will be lucky to win 50 games, let alone their typical 60-so wins.

And counting on guys like Marquis and Mock to help "lead" the pitching rotation? Hahahahahahahahahaha, good luck with that.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 26, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

peric is obviously right. I mean, what good is it to give another chance to a guy who's been a double figure winner in the big leagues for six straight years when you can turn to guys who've never proven themselves in the big leagues? Or the Rule 5 guys peric keeps pushing, who haven't proven themselves in AA yet?

Makes total sense, doesn't it?

Posted by: baltova1 | February 26, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

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