VIERA, Fla. — When the Washington Nationals open the regular season next week, at least three understudies are likely to take the stage.
One man’s injury is another man’s opportunity.
But the absence of familiar names –Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon and Denard Span — isn’t expected to last long.
“It’d be nice to have your full compliment of guys on the first day of the season, but to get them soon thereafter will be fine,” says general manager Mike Rizzo. “We expect all of those guys back in pretty quick order, so we’re not too down about it.”
Along with those more serious injuries, other players have sat with bumps and bruises that have kept them out of spring training games.
First basemen Ryan Zimmerman has been resting a sore upper body after a diving for a ball on Friday. He’s expected to return to action Monday.
His transition to third to first has been almost seamless.
The Nationals expected him to have the footwork and hands to play the position.
The last piece to the puzzle is comfort.
It’s a matter of feeling which balls to go for and which one to leave to get back to the bag, Rizzo says.
As for the missed work due to injuries in general, Rizzo doesn’t seem concerned.
“I wouldn’t describe it as surprising,” he says. “Things could be worse.”