KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Center fielder Nyjer Morgan believes he's on his way out of Washington, but manager Jim Riggleman, at least for the moment, is cautioning the center fielder against jumping to that conclusion.
Riggleman said he was disappointed to hear the comments Morgan made to MLB.com on Friday, where the center fielder said he thinks "this place isn't for me." But he also said the competition for the center field job, which Morgan has held for the last year and a half, is probably driving it.
"He's probably seeing that there are two or three other guys he's competing with," Riggleman said. "Maybe he feels like we're sending him a message that he's not our center fielder. We're still determining that. We're still determining where he fits on the club if he's not our center fielder. I'm disappointed, but I understand where he's coming from."
Morgan came into the spring as the likely candidate to start in center field, but started the spring 1-for-16. He is now hitting .241, but the Nationals appear to be leaning toward starting Rick Ankiel in center field.
But Riggleman, again, praised the way Morgan has approached making adjustments to his swing this spring, and said he hasn't heard him say anything along those lines this spring. Even if the Nationals go in a different direction, Riggleman, at least publicly, isn't ready to allow Morgan to assume that.
"He's been so positive and upbeat throughout the spring, and today, the same thing," Riggleman said. "I'm a little surprised he made those comments. But you can't erase it."