Originally posted on Baseball Prospectus  |  Last updated 4/8/12

CHICAGO | The Nationals have a pair of projected regulars rehabbing at Double-A Harrisburg in Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel. With both expected to return within the next week or so, Washington some roster decisions lying ahead.

Morse will be the Nationals' everyday left fielder this season, though he'll surely slide back to first base at times in place of Adam LaRoche when a tough lefty is on the mound. Meanwhile, Ankiel is being looked at as the stopgap in center field while Bryce Harper ripens in Triple-A. Harper is 4 for 11 with a double and walk in the early going for Syracuse.

To make room for the veterans, the Nationals are going to have pare down a bench that currently features just one natural outfielder in Brett Carroll, though Steve Lombardozzi is a utility-type that finished up Saturday's game in left. Lombardozzi played all 442 of his minor-league games as an infielder. Utility player Mark DeRosa started the first two games in left.

What I've picked up on from the Washington beat writers is that Wallace, Lombardozzi and Roger Bernadina are the most likely candidates to get heaved when Morse and Ankiel return. Bernadina has started Washington's first three games but is a replacement-levelish player, albeit with standout base-stealing skills. According to PECOTA, he projected as the club's second-best base runner behind Jayson Werth this season. Meanwhile, Wallace turns 30 in October and has a .203 career average in 322 career plate appearances. Neither Bernadina nor Wallace has any options remaining.

The Nationals of course aren't saying much on the subject just yet.

"They are four or five days away," Davey Johnson said. "Michael Morse got some treatment in New York and is back in the lineup today for Harrisburg, as well as Ankiel. They're both swinging the bat pretty good. We'll deal with (the roster) when they get ready."

Wallace's departure seems imminent, but the debate will be whether the Nationals keep Bernadina or Lombardozzi. Neither is going to get the edge over Ankiel, because Johnson has been impressed with the former pitching phenom's possible improvement at the plate.

"The thing I like about Ankiel is that he's using the whole field," Johnson said. "Last year, pretty much a dead pull hitter. This year, since day one of spring training he's been using the whole field. The other day, he had a couple of hits to opposite field, oppo home run and oppo base hit.

"The way he's setting up now, it's like his agent Scott Boras told me last year. He said, 'Get him back to where he was in high school. When he hit the ball all over, he was a great hitter.' I asked him, 'How do I do that?' I guess it worked out over the winter. He's doing it."

The Nationals are carrying 12 pitchers, but that's not going to change in the short term.

"I said in the spring, when my starters get really stretched out, I'm going to need less innings out of the bullpen," Johnson said. "That's a question for down the road because the starters are not stretched out. You guys in this case about a month ahead of yourselves."

Other tidbits from Wrigley Field on Easter Sunday:

  • Johnson "clarified" his Saturday sermon on dividing his bullpen into A and B groups: "So you guys don't get confused, when you have A and B, you have lots of A and B in both games. I didn't clarify that. I heard there was some confusion when I listened to some reports on the air. When you have an off day, A and B are kind of like red and blue running together. Now today, I go with guys with less of a workload. You guys figure that one out? You understand it completely?" … No, not really.
  • We'll have to see how Jeff Samardzija does in his first full season in the Cubs' rotation, but there will be one clear positive from his switch to the role: We'll get to see him hit. Samardzija is no Carlos Zambrano at the dish, but he clearly has replaced Z as the Cubs' pitcher to watch during p.b.p.
  • Anthony Rendon, the Nationals' first-round draft pick last year and Kevin Goldstein's top Washington prospect in the non-Harper division, hurt his ankle rounding third base in a minor-league game for Class A Potomac on Saturday. The club doesn't have a specific diagnosis because the swelling has not gone down on the injury, but termed the ankle as "badly sprained."
  • Before Saturday's game, some members of the Nationals were cooing over highlights of Yoenis Cespedes' mammoth home run against Seattle on Friday. At the same time, the consensus in the clubhouse was that Cespedes would take one on the elbow after admiring the shot, which hit the facing of the second deck at the Oakland Coliseum. Sure enough, King Felix Hernandez drilled Cespedes in the back with a fourth-inning pitch on Saturday.
  • Was chatting with a member of the Cubs' staff before game, who said that the front office's partnership with Bloomberg Sports to develop a Cubs-specific information model -- a la the famed Carmine in Boston -- is going well. I jokingly asked if there is a "crazy factor" in the database and he told me that make-up is one component of a player's profile, in which things like past comments about a player from former teammates and managers are compiled.


Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Bubba Watson's caddie owns heckler at PGA Championship

NFL denies sending Donald Trump letter about schedule

Michael Bennett calls out NFL stars for not speaking up on social matters

Nationals make astute move in acquiring Melancon

Son of former NFL player Antonio Armstrong charged with death of parents


U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions

Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Texans GM 'disappointed' in DeAndre Hopkins

Can Andre Johnson end his regression in Tennessee?

Favre opens up about painkiller addiction during career

Miami women’s basketball coach criticizes Texas A&M following slideshow

Twin Cities preparing for influx of sex trafficking during Super Bowl LII

WATCH: Bautista bat flip will be available as NHL 17 celebration

Former USMNT, current MLS forward Davies battled cancer, in remission

The definitive guide to U.S. Men's Basketball at Rio 2016

Tony Romo training camp picture leads to fat jokes, concern

Matt Cullen’s family eats cereal out of the Stanley Cup

Texas A&M suspends coaches for sexist slideshow

10 most dangerous college football defenders in 2016

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker