VIERA, Fla. - We're in the third inning at Space Coast Stadium - which sounds like it could pass for a library today - and the Nationals have taken a 3-1 lead over the Astros. And much of it has been done by Roger Bernadina, who's leading off and playing center field today.
Bernadina bunted his way on in the first inning, also stealing a base. In the second inning, J.A. Happ gave up a hit and a walk, with an error on third baseman Chris Johnson loading the bases. Bernadina came up, and drew a walk to score the Nationals' first run, and the Nationals added a pair more on Danny Espinosa's single to left.
It's tough to miss the subtext of Bernadina batting first, doing little things to get himself on base and playing center field. Those are exactly the things the Nationals want Nyjer Morgan to do, though Morgan is probably a better defender in center field. But if Bernadina continues his strong spring - and Michael Morse matches him - it will be tough to keep both players out of the lineup.
Yunesky Maya is out of the game after 2 2/3 innings, having allowed five hits and a walk. He pitched out of jams in the second and third innings, though. Garrett Mock will work next for the Nationals.