Manager Jim Riggleman said this morning that shortstop Cristian Guzman will likely be the team's No. 2 hitter, though he said there will be a few times where the Nationals switch the lineup.
From a sabermetrics standpoint, Guzman is far from the ideal No. 2 hitter; his .306 on-base percentage last year was a point off his career average, and he's rarely made a habit of taking pitches at the plate. Yet he hit .286 in the No. 2 spot last year and .307 from the leadoff spot, compared to a .138 average in a seven-game experiment batting him sixth.
"For whatever reason, some guys perform better in certain spots; it gets in their head or whatever," Riggleman said. "Guzie's a good hitter. He was a different person last year when we hit him in different places. There's going to be some days where we've got to move it around. But for the most part, I think that's where he would be."
Guzman is in the lineup today, playing shortstop for the first time after DHing on Saturday. He said on Sunday he is pain-free, but his shoulder is still a little weak.
"If there's a ball to his right, he may not want to air it out yet," Riggleman said. "But I think that he is 100 percent healthy. He had a great recovery from the surgery. He's feeling good, and this is the day we targeted for him to play."