Maldonado gets start, Desmond hitting fifth, day off for Espinosa

Carlos Maldonado gets his first start since being recalled from Triple-A Syracuse to replace the injured Sandy Leon, but tonight’s Nationals lineup against the Orioles also includes some other surprising shuffling.

Shortstop Ian Desmond gets his first shot at the five-hole this season, with Steve Lombardozzi hitting leadoff and playing second base. This isn’t the first time Desmond has hit fifth - he did so once in 2010 and three times in 2011, and is a career .353 (6-for-17) in that spot in the order, albeit in a limited sample size.

The other change involves right fielder Bryce Harper, who slides into the No. 2 spot, with left fielder Roger Bernadina, who has been hitting in that position, dropped to No. 8.

Oh, and Danny Espinosa will start the game on the bench for just the third time this season.

Here’s the Nationals lineup for the middle game of the Battle of the Beltways against the Orioles:

2B - Steve Lombardozzi
RF - Bryce Harper
3B - Ryan Zimmerman
1B - Adam LaRoche
SS - Ian Desmond
CF - Rick Ankiel
C - Carlos Maldonado
LF - Roger Bernadina
P - Ross Detwiler

For the Orioles:

2B - Robert Andino
SS - J.J. Hardy
RF - Nick Markakis
CF - Adam Jones
C - Matt Wieters
1B - Wilson Betemit
3B - Steve Tolleson
LF - Xavier Avery
P - Jason Hammel

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