Nats lineup has Espinosa at second, Harper hitting fifth

VIERA, Fla. - Doug Fister’s long-awaited second Grapefruit League start this spring comes against the same team that he faced all the way back on March 2 - the Miami Marlins.

An MRI after Fister’s spring debut showed that the right-hander had inflammation in his right elbow, but 20 days later, he’s now discomfort-free and back on the mound at Space Coast Stadium today hoping to make it through three innings against a Marlins split-squad.

Anthony Rendon is indeed out of today’s lineup, as manager Matt Williams had indicated yesterday that he might be.

Rendon is battling a chest cold, so Danny Espinosa will start at second base today after getting the start at shortstop yesterday in Jupiter.

Ian Desmond is again hitting second in Williams’ lineup, which is looking like the spot in the order that he’ll be slotted in the bulk of the time to begin the season. Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman have been alternating between the three and four spots in the order of late, but it’s a little surprising to see Bryce Harper hitting fifth again today given that the Nationals are facing a right-hander, Miami’s Henderson Alvarez.

We might see Harper hitting third or fourth against a righty a good bit when the regular season rolls around, but so far in spring, he’s hit fifth most of the time that the Nats’ lineup has been filled with regulars.

For the Nats
CF Denard Span
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Bryce Harper
C Wilson Ramos
1B Adam LaRoche
2B Danny Espinosa
RHP Doug Fister

For the Marlins
LF Jake Marisnick
2B Donovan Solano
1B Jeff Baker
CF Marcell Ozuna
RF Reed Johnson
3B Ty Wigginton
C Jeff Mathis
SS Juan Diaz
RHP Henderson Alvarez

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