Guzman makes first career start at second
Veteran expected to play all four infield positions this season
JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals infielder Cristian Guzman started at second base for the first time in his career Wednesday and didn't play like at amateur at the position. He helped turn two double plays in a 9-6 victory over the Cardinals.
With runners on first and second in the first inning, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols hit a ground ball up the middle. Guzman backhanded the ball and had trouble getting the ball out of his glove, but he flipped the ball in time to shortstop Ian Desmond, who was able to get Pujols at first base.
Two innings later, Matt Holliday hit a sharp grounder to Desmond, who then threw to Guzman for the force play before the latter turned the double play.
"We really didn't have too much concern that [turning the double play would be a problem for Guzman]," manager Jim Riggleman said. "If we had any, he alleviated those concerns."
Guzman also went 3-for-4 in the game to raise his Spring Training batting average to .326. After he left the game in the top of the sixth inning, Guzman said he wasn't nervous about playing second base.
"It felt a little weird with the angles," Guzman said. "I'm happy because I work hard. I want to do everything for my team and hope we win."
After playing 11 seasons as a regular shortstop, Guzman was told by Riggleman on Sunday he was going to be a utility player. Guzman is expected to play all four infield positions.
"Guzman is really going to be a big contributor to the club," Riggleman said. "With his abilities to the bat from both sides of the plate, we really have some good options with our three middle infielders. The three guys there -- [Adam] Kennedy, Guzman and Desmond -- give us a lot of athleticism and they can swing the bat."
Guzman has proven to be a great teammate to Desmond, who said Guzman hasn't held a grudge against Desmond for taking his job.
"I have a soft spot in my heart for Guzzie," said Desmond, who also had three hits in the game. "He has taken me under his wing the last four or five years. He was having fun, it looked like. He was having a good time. That's reassuring. The last thing I wanted was to come in here, play short every day and have bitter feelings toward me. So today was good. We got on the field and we communicated well. It was a good day for me, Guzzie and everybody."
Harris OK after scare
JUPIETR, Fla. -- The Nationals received a scare in the bottom of the first. With two outs and runners on first and third, Cardinals outfielder Nick Stavinoha hit a ball near the right-field line.
Willie Harris ran a long way to get the ball, but he misjudged it, fell to the ground and injured the back of his head as he was charged with a three-base error for letting Stavinoha advance to third and allowing two runs to score.
Harris was on the ground for a second before throwing the ball back to Cristian Guzman. Harris then fell to the ground again before the trainers came to his aid.
"When Stavinoha hit it, I thought it would be foul, but the ball kept coming back," Harris said. "Once he hit it, I just dropped my head and started running where I thought the ball was going to be. Once I picked it up, it was back [in fair territory]. I overran the ball. Instead of looking at the ball while I was running, I took off on a dead sprint, figuring it would be foul. I just misread it."
Morgan has new representation
JUPITER, Fla. -- Center fielder Nyjer Morgan has dismissed agent Michael Giorgio and hired Sam and Seth Levinson to represent him during contract negotiations. When approached by MLB.com, Morgan declined to say why he made the move.
Bullpen almost set for Nats
JUPITER, Fla. -- Manager Jim Riggleman reiterated on Wednesday that the Nationals could go with seven pitchers to start the regular season. He didn't rule out right-hander Tyler Walker and left-hander Jesse English making the club. That would mean someone already named as part of the 2010 bullpen would be off the roster.
Riggleman has already announced that Miguel Batista, Jason Bergmann, Brian Bruney, Sean Burnett, Matt Capps and Tyler Clippard will be on the club.
Thinking about people in Haiti
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Nationals will host the "Bring a Smile To Haiti Drive" beginning Saturday and lasting throughout all April home games in partnership with Gifts In Kind International. Nationals fans may donate new toothbrushes at the Community Desk, located on the Main Concourse in left field, or at the Dream Foundation Kiosk, located in the center-field plaza.
"Working with Gifts In Kind International gives the Nationals and their fans the opportunity to make physical, tangible donations to help the people of Haiti," said Nationals community relations director Israel Negron. "The club recognizes the need in Haiti is great and is pleased we can assist in the recovery."
Fans may also purchase tickets for Nationals games April 16 through 25, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Gifts In Kind International and the National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians. Tickets will be available for purchase soon at three price points:
LF/RF Baseline Reserved: $46 (includes $8 donation)
LF/RF Mezzanine: $30 (includes $7 donation)
Upper RF Terrace: $10 (includes $3 donation)
"Gifts In Kind International is proud to partner with the Washington Nationals on this extraordinary donation drive for Haiti," said Cindy Hallberlin, President and CEO of Gifts In Kind International. "Now every fan can play a part in bringing thousands of smiles to the Haitian people."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.