Robinson makes 2016 debut in outfield, Murphy out with illness

Two Nationals regulars are out of the lineup for today's series finale against the Marlins. One was planned, one was a last-minute change.

Jayson Werth is sitting out this game, most likely a byproduct of his longstanding struggles against Jose Fernandez. (Werth is 1-for-16 in his career against the Miami ace.)

That means Clint Robinson (who is 2-for-3 with a homer vs. Fernandez) gets the start in left field today, his first appearance in the outfield in any game so far this season.

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Robinson, who has seen all his playing time so far come at first base, was a bit surprised to see the number "7" next to his name on Dusty Baker's lineup card this morning. But the 31-year-old slugger has been preparing for the possibility, shagging flies in the outfield most days during batting practice.

"I take probably more rounds in the outfield than I do at first base, just because first base I'm used to and the outfield is something you really can't take time off," he said. "Because like any other thing, it can leave you. So I just try to stay as sharp as I can. We'll just see what happens."

Robinson had never played the outfield in his professional career until the Nationals asked him to try it out last spring. He wound up appearing in 27 games in left field, plus another 11 games in right field, last season.

Meanwhile, Daniel Murphy was a late scratch from the Nationals lineup due to what the club announced is an illness. Murphy was in the clubhouse this morning and didn't show any obvious signs of ailment, but he also missed a game last weekend in Chicago when he was feeling ill.

Murphy, who enters the day with an MLB-best .403 batting average, has struggled in the field the last few days and was charged with two errors in the fifth inning Friday night. He appeared to have his right thumb taped up during yesterday's doubleheader.

With Murphy out, Stephen Drew is taking over at second base this afternoon.

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