VIERA, Fla. - Nationals manager Davey Johnson used yesterday’s off-day the same way many of use spend our days away from the job: He got stuff done around the house.
Johnson went back to his home in the Orlando area and took care of a couple “dangerous jobs,” including replacing a handful of light bulbs that were 24 feet off the ground. He got through the tasks just fine, then took a playful jab at Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who broke his leg while skydiving yesterday.
“I guess he’s being a good example of what the players shouldn’t be doing,” Johnson joked.
Rafael Soriano will make his Grapefruit League debut today against the Astros after using the last couple weeks to build up arm strength with bullpen sessions by throwing live batting practice.
Soriano will be the third pitcher Johnson uses today, after Dan Haren and Zach Duke have gotten their work in. Ideally, each of those two will throw three frames and Soriano will then work the seventh inning.
Johnson has seen Soriano throw a couple times already this spring, and given the right-hander’s level of experience, Johnson said he isn’t looking for anything special out of Soriano in his debut today.
“Just to get on the hill with a new team and a new receiver and a new defense and get his work in,” Johnson said. “He’s been throwing several lives and he’s been throwing good. He knows what he needs to do to get ready, and this is going to be one of about eight appearances in the spring. We’ve kind of mapped out his schedule ahead of time.”
Wilson Ramos will be out of the game by the time Soriano enters, but Ramos is scheduled to get three innings behind the plate today, marking his first game catching since he torn the ACL and meniscus in his right knee last May 12. Ramos got two at-bats as the designated hitter on Sunday, and today he’ll catch three frames and get one at-bat.
Henry Rodriguez threw live batting practice a bit ago, which will likely mark his final full throwing session before he makes his first appearance in a spring game.
Johnson plans to have Rodriguez enter a game sometime later in the week, likely on Friday, March 8. The flame-throwing righty will be eased into action, and Johnson reiterated today that Rodriguez will probably only face one hitter his first time out.
Finally, Johnson said he got good reports on Chris Young, who threw 41 pitches in a minor league game yesterday, allowing two unearned runs on four hits.
“He’s not where he wants to be, but he’s right on schedule,” Johnson said.
Young will start for the Nats on Saturday against the Marlins.
Here are your lineups for today’s game:
For the Nats
CF Denard Span
RF Jayson Werth
LF Bryce Harper
DH Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Wilson Ramos
3B Chad Tracy
P Dan Haren
For the Astros
SS Tyler Greene
2B Jose Altuve
LF Chris Carter
1B Brett Wallace
CF Justin Maxwell
RF J.D. Martinez
C Carlos Corporan
3B Matt Dominguez
DH Marwin Gonzalez
P Lucas Harrell