Nationals Notes: Zimmerman, Rendon, Strasburg, Harper

It's time for some Nationals notes, courtesy of Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

  • "I think I want to play third base until someone is better than me at it," Ryan Zimmerman explained to Kilgore.  The topic comes up because last year's first-round draft pick Anthony Rendon is a third baseman by trade, and if Zimmerman were to be extended, someone would have to change positions if Rendon proceeds to the Majors and is not traded.  On Rendon specifically, Zimmerman said, "If he comes up and plays third and plays second or whatever, then I’m going to be his best friend there. In the end, he’s going to help us win games. That’s the most important thing."
  • Rendon is in big league camp because of his draft contract, but Kilgore thinks he may begin his pro career at Class A Potomac.  The Nationals intend to play Rendon at third base, second base, and shortstop, at least during spring training, but manager Davey Johnson downplayed the extra infield positions, according to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com.  Rendon was deferential to Zimmerman in his comments.
  • The Nationals intend to use Stephen Strasburg until he hits his innings limit and then shut him down, GM Mike Rizzo told reporters.  There's an expectation of a 160-inning cap, and Rizzo doesn't seem to be considering a six-man rotation or skipping Strasburg's starts.  I imagine skipping Strasburg starts while he's in good health could upset some fans who buy tickets specifically to watch him pitch.
  • Super prospect Bryce Harper says he intends to "keep my mouth shut and play," but certainly aims to make the team out of spring training.  Kilgore mentions Super Two considerations for the team, and it's worth noting that the new collective barganing agreement will result in more players getting that designation than in years past.
  • A potential Mike Cameron replacement will come internally, said Rizzo.  Mark DeRosa could play right field if Jayson Werth is in center, while Jason Michaels and Brett Carroll are in camp in minor league deals.  Roger Bernadina may have a leg up as an out of options player, in my opinion.  Here's MLBTR's full list of players who are out of minor league options.


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