Starting lineups: Nats vs. Astros in West Palm Beach (updated)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - No, it doesn’t count. No, it won’t feature many recognizable names. But you know what? It’s still a baseball game and it’s going to be played today.

Yes, the Grapefruit League has arrived, and not a moment too soon for fans who have patiently waited since October for the Nationals to take the field once again. Today’s exhibition opener will be played in the Nats’ home ballpark but it won’t be a Nats home game. The World Series champion Astros get to play host for this one, so the Nationals will be wearing gray pants and batting in the top half of each inning.

Davey Martinez, who makes his managerial debut, is sending journeyman left-hander Tommy Milone to the mound for the opener. A 10th-round pick of the Nationals a decade ago, Milone has seen his career come full circle. He debuted for the Nats in 2011 (and even homered in that game), then was part of the blockbuster trade that brought Gio Gonzalez from Oakland, then spent the next six seasons bouncing around the majors, making 126 starts with a 4.37 ERA for five organizations. The 31-year-old, in camp on a minor league deal, faces long odds to make the opening day rotation but he could prove a valuable option at Triple-A should the club need help down the road.

howie-kendrick-white-sidebar.jpgAs for the lineup ... well, Matt Adams is batting third and Howie Kendrick is batting fourth, so that tells you much of what you need to know. Consider this a good opportunity for Martinez and his staff to evaluate bench candidates and future Nationals.

You can watch the game live on MLB Network - Note: It’s the Astros’ TV crew today, but MASN will be in town this weekend to broadcast Sunday’s game - and/or listen to Charlie and Dave on the radio. And be sure to check the blog for updates and clubhouse reaction later ...

Update: Ryan Raburn has been scratched. Andrew Stevenson replaces him in left field, batting seventh.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. HOUSTON ASTROS
Where: FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MLB Network, MLB.tv (Astros broadcast)
Radio: 1580 AM, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 80 degrees, wind 16 mph in from right field

NATIONALS
CF Brian Goodwin
SS Wilmer Difo
1B Matt Adams
2B Howie Kendrick
DH Taylor Gushue
C Pedro Severino
LF Andrew Stevenson
3B Chris Dominguez
RF Rafael Bautista

LHP Tommy Milone

ASTROS
CF Jake Marisnick
RF Derek Fisher
SS Alex Bregman
DH Evan Gattis
1B A.J. Reed
3B J.D. Davis
2B Tyler White
C Max Stassi
LF Tony Kemp

RHP Rogelio Armenteros

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