Lidge to close today, plus other non-Lannan notes

CHICAGO - Yes, a baseball game will be played at Wrigley Field today. No, John Lannan will not be here for it.

We've talked a ton about Lannan over these last three days, but there are other notes to pass along as we close in on first pitch.

Manager Davey Johnson said today that Brad Lidge will be his closer today, but don't take that to mean that Lidge will be in for the ninth inning every time the Nats have a save situation prior to Drew Storen's return from elbow inflammation.

Johnson will use "A" and "B" bullpens to start the season, meaning that Lidge will be his closer today, with Tyler Clippard in a set-up role. Those two will be a part of the "A" bullpen, while Henry Rodriguez would gave the nod in save situation when the "B" group is up.

Stephen Strasburg will be on a pitch limit of 100 today, and will likely not go more than five innings, Johnson said.

The Nationals skipper also said that both left fielder Michael Morse (lat strain) and center fielder Rick Ankiel (quad) will kick off their rehab assignments with Double-A Harrisburg tonight. The Senators open on the road in Bowie, Md., against the Baysox at 7:05 p.m.

Ankiel will DH tonight, while Morse will play left field. Ankiel will not be available to come off the disabled list until April 14 because he wasn't placed on the 40-man roster until March 30. As a result, that's the last day the Nats can backdate his DL stint.

Morse is still eligible to come off the DL on April 10, "But knowing Michael Morse, I'll probably get a phone call in about 3-4 days saying he's ready," Johnson said.

Both Chien-Ming Wang (strained hamstring) and Drew Storen (elbow inflammation) have gone down to Viera to begin extended spring training at the Nats' Space Coast Stadium complex.

Wang will throw off a mound in three or four days, while Storen will continue throwing bullpen sessions and then will be able to face hitters in a week or 10 days.

Storen will likely begin his rehab assignment at Harrisburg, and Johnson said he still expects both Storen and Wang back with the big league club towards the end of the month.

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