Nationals' roster of position players now set

Nationals' roster of position players now set
March 26, 2014, 7:30 pm
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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The Nationals optioned utilityman Jeff Kobernus to Class AAA Syracuse and catcher Sandy Leon to Class AA Harrisburg this evening, moves that in turn finalized their Opening Day roster of position players.

Today’s signing of veteran infielder Kevin Frandsen was the last piece of the puzzle, leaving no available spots for Kobernus and Leon, who both appeared in the Nationals’ 3-2 loss to the Cardinals in Jupiter before being sent down.

Those final moves leave only 13 position players left in big-league camp, the 13 who (barring a last-minute trade or injury) will head north Thursday evening and open the season on the roster.

That group includes Danny Espinosa, whose spot on the team had appeared secure for some time but is now secure. The 26-year-old infielder, who was demoted to Syracuse last season after hitting .158 in 44 games and was never recalled, will most likely make the roster as a backup at both second base and shortstop. Manager Matt Williams hasn’t officially named his starting second baseman, but all indications for weeks have suggested Anthony Rendon will get the job.

With their roster of position players and reliever now set, the only remaining question for the Nationals is the identity of their No. 5 starter, with a decision between Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan expected to be made Saturday.

Here, then, is how the Opening Day roster will look (aside from that final pitching decision)…

CATCHERS (2)
Wilson Ramos
Jose Lobaton

INFIELDERS (6)
Adam LaRoche
Anthony Rendon
Ian Desmond
Ryan Zimmerman
Danny Espinosa
Kevin Frandsen

OUTFIELDERS (5)
Bryce Harper
Denard Span
Jayson Werth
Nate McLouth
Scott Hairston

STARTING PITCHERS (5)
Stephen Strasburg
Gio Gonzalez
Jordan Zimmermann
Doug Fister
Tanner Roark/Taylor Jordan

RELIEF PITCHERS (7)
Rafael Soriano
Drew Storen
Tyler Clippard
Craig Stammen
Ross Detwiler
Jerry Blevins
Aaron Barrett