The Ian Desmond Utility Player Experiment is apparently going to be short-lived. The guy who will have the final say on Desmond’s Opening Day destination is set on having him play shortstop this year.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said this morning that Desmond will be an everyday shortstop this season, whether that’s in the majors or at Triple-A Syracuse.
Desmond has seen some time in the outfield this spring, and manager Jim Riggleman has openly talked about making Desmond a kind of “super-utility” player who starts at a variety of positions, but doesn’t have a set spot every day, like Chone Figgins used to do for the Angels.
Rizzo, however, said he wants Desmond to be at shortstop consistently.
“He’s going to be an everyday shortstop in the big leagues,” Rizzo said, “so he’s going to play everyday shortstop somewhere this year.”
Desmond is hitting .476 this spring with a .542 on-base percentage and a team-high 11 RBI. He’s seen time both at shortstop and in right field, and is getting a fair amount of time while Cristian Guzman strengthens his surgically-repaired shoulder. Guzman, whose wife Evelyn just gave birth to a child, is expected back in Nationals camp early this week.
“(Guzman’s) swinging a bat. He’s immersed in all the drills and all the games,” Rizzo said. “He’s well on his way to being 100 percent by the time spring training’s over.”