VIERA, Fla. - The Marlins have arrived at Space Coast Stadium, and after all the roster turnover that team underwent this offseason, Davey Johnson doesn't really know exactly what he's looking at.
"I'm still trying to learn their names," Johnson said. "And I'm not even sure what position the names are going in."
The Marlins will have Donovan Solano starting at second base today -he's the brother of Jhonatan Solano, a catcher in the Nationals' system. Other than that, there are very few recognizable guys in Miami's order today.
Johnson has Bryce Harper hitting second in today's lineup, with Jayson Werth third and Adam LaRoche cleanup. The Nationals skipper says not to read anything into that batting order, however, noting that he's "just fooling around" with things.
"He gets on every time, so I figured I'd get him up early," Johnson joked of Harper.
Johnson passed along positive information on Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos, saying that both guys could be about a week away from getting into a game as the DH.
Ramos will continue to be monitored closely by the Nats' medical staff, including medical director Dr. Wiemi Douoguih.
Back at the Winter Meetings, Johnson said that Kurt Suzuki would be his starting catcher come opening day, largely because he didn't want Ramos to feel rushed to get back healthy by a certain date. Johnson has since said that Ramos will definitely be on the 25-man roster come April 1, but maintains that Suzuki will almost certainly be his starter behind the plate for the opener.
"Willy's got to come back and show me he can play," Johnson said. "That (statement at the Winter Meetings) was a conjecture, but I'd say that still probably holds pretty true."
Johnson reported that left-hander Will Ohman is dealing with a hamstring injury that is holding him out of game action for the time being.
Cole Kimball, on the other hand, has already gotten into two games and delivered two scoreless innings. He pitched the eighth inning yesterday against the Braves, facing just three batters and striking out one.
Johnson had said earlier this spring that Kimball wasn't in the mix for a spot in his bullpen and would instead likely be ticketed for the closer's job at Triple-A Syracuse. But Johnson has since changed his tune a bit.
"I'll keep an open mind on Kimball, since he was mad at me when I said that barring injury, there probably weren't going to be many spots open," Johnson said. "Kimball was one that his chest started coming out. He said something to (pitching coach Steve McCatty).
"I'm really pleased with the progress he's made. A lot of people in the organization didn't even think he'd come back (from his shoulder surgery). But he showed a lot of improvement from his first outing to his second outing. He looked freer, more relaxed and the ball was coming out better out of his hand. So that's good news."
Here are your lineups for today's game:
For the Nats
CF Denard Span
LF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
3B Chad Tracy
DH Danny Espinosa
C Kurt Suzuki
2B Steve Lombardozzi
SS Zach Walters
P Dan Haren
For the Marlins
LF Christian Yelich
2B Donovan Solano
3B Matt Downs
1B Joe Mahoney
DH Alfredo Silverio
RF Chris Coghlan
SS Adeiny Hechavarria
C Kyle Skipworth
CF Gorkys Hernandez
P Nathan Eovaldi