JUPITER, Fla. - The Nationals get another look at right-hander Chris Young today against the Miami Marlins, and it could be their last.
Signed to a minor league deal Feb. 22 as part of general manager Mike Rizzo's offseason attempt to bolster the Nats' starting pitching depth, Young has an opt-out clause in his contract. He can leave the club March 24 if he doesn't think he'll have a shot at a roster spot - or if he thinks he can find a major league job elsewhere.
The Nationals have him penciled in to start March 25, but there's no telling if he'll still be around by then. Over his past couple of starts, he took the place of Ross Detwiler when the lefty was with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Young has pitched to a 5.14 ERA in two starts this spring.
Here are today's lineups. Manager Davey Johnson kept to his promise and brought his starting lineup south down Interstate 95.
For the Nationals:
CF - Denard Span
RF - Jayson Werth
LF - Bryce Harper
3B - Ryan Zimmerman
1B - Adam LaRoche
SS - Ian Desmond
2B - Danny Espinosa
C - Kurt Suzuki
RHP - Chris Young
For the Marlins:
LF - Juan Pierre
3B - Placido Polanco
RF - Giancarlo Stanton
1B - Greg Dobbs
2B - Chris Valaika
C - Rob Brantly
CF - Chris Coghlan
SS - Adeiny Hechavarria
LHP - Wade LeBlanc
Outfielder Roger Bernadina is back in Viera after his Netherlands team was eliminated in the WBC semifinals by the Dominican Republic, which beat Puerto Rico last night to win the quadrennial tournament.
Johnson doesn't have any worries about integrating Bernadina back into the outfield rotation now that his regulars are playing deeper into games. Johnson got good reports on Bernadina from third base coach Trent Jewett, who checked in with Netherlands manager Hensley Muelens.
"It's all about having everybody on the club being up to snuff later this week," Johnson said. "He'll make the trip to (Lake Buena Vista) tomorrow. ... Bernie's used to playing sporadically and he handles it very well, better than most."
Closer Rafael Soriano flew to the Dominican Republic on the off-day and is expected to return to Nats camp this afternoon. Soriano has been dealing with an infected wisdom tooth, Johnson said, though he wasn't sure whether it would need to be extracted or whether oral surgery, if performed, would take place in the Dominican or the U.S.
What Johnson is sure of is that he wants the problem resolved before the wisdom tooth begins affecting the intricate network of nerves between the jaw and shoulder, creating a problem for the right-hander when he throws.
Assuming he's no longer pained by the wisdom tooth, Soriano is scheduled to pitch Friday against the Tigers at Space Coast Stadium, Johnson said.