A few pregame notes plus Wednesday's split-squad update

VIERA, Fla. - In case you missed it over the weekend, former Nationals manager Manny Acta has joined ESPN as a bilingual analyst.

Acta had the reins in D.C. from 2007-09 and spent the last three seasons as the manager of the Indians, compiling a record of 214-266.

He has said that he hopes to get back into a big league dugout in the near future.

The Nationals have an off-day tomorrow and then split-squad games on Wednesday. Jordan Zimmermann will get the start against the Mets here in Viera, while Ross Ohlendorf will pitch in the away game against the Astros in Kissimmee.

Craig Stammen, Ryan Mattheus, Drew Storen and Fernando Abad will all pitch against the Mets, while Ryan Perry, Erik Davis, Cole Kimball and Pat McCoy will join Ohlendorf in Kissimmee.

All the regular position players will stay in Viera. Corey Brown, Chris Marrero, Anthony Rendon, Matt Skole, Zach Walters and Micah Owings are among those who will make the road trip.

Following the split-squad games, the Nats will likely have their next round of cuts.

Manager Davey Johnson said the other day that Henry Rodriguez has the edge for the final spot in the Nationals' bullpen, essentially saying that the job is Rodriguez's to lose.

Now healthy after working back from elbow surgery and some biceps tightness he was feeling early in spring, Rodriguez will make his second game appearance today against the Braves. The hard-throwing right-hander is out of options, meaning the Nats can't send him to the minors without exposing him to waivers, something that could factor into the decision of whether to keep Rodriguez on the roster.

"I'm aware that he doesn't have any more options," Johnson said. "I'm not going to lose a good talent."

Beyond that, however, Johnson openly admits that he likes Rodriguez and believes that he can work back to the form he showed last spring and early in the season.

"In (2011), he's shown he's got the stuff to close," Johnson said. "He was the backup closer for Storen. Then he was primary (closer early) in the year last year. So certainly he's not somebody that I'm overlooking. He's one of my favorites."

Johnson said that he plans on having a bunch of his relievers pitch in back-to-back games by the end of spring. Rafael Soriano will be among that group, but Tyler Clippard will not.

Clippard will, however, be stretched out to more than an inning this spring. Johnson wants to give every reliever with the exception of Soriano a chance to work multiple innings.

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