The Nationals put Rick Ankiel on the 15-day disabled list after last night's game against the Marlins, taking the center fielder out of their lineup for almost two weeks (the placement was retroactive to last Tuesday).
They also pulled Roger Bernadina from Triple-A Syracuse's game in the fourth inning, a strong sign he's likely to get called up today to replace Ankiel.
Bernadina was hitting .279 with a homer at Syracuse, and went 2-for-3 in two games with the Nationals last month, filling in while Ian Desmond was on paternity leave. But this call-up should be a little longer, and might give Bernadina some chances to play center field.
The Nationals seem to like the outfielder better in left - he's probably got the range and the arm to play center, but some of his decisions on routes have been questionable in the past. If he can play center capably - he's been playing there at Syracuse - it could open up more options for him in the future. The best way to earn an outfield job in the Nationals' lineup over the next couple seasons is to prove you can play center.
He could also get a shot to hit near the top of the lineup, where he's got some skills to be a table-setter if he can get on base frequently enough. Bernadina's athleticism has never been in question, but he's inconsistent enough that he might be best as a fourth outfielder. His latest chance to show he's more than that could start today.