Nats pleased with Guzman's attitude
Benched in favor of Desmond, shortstop has put team first
WASHINGTON -- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Jim Riggleman said they are not surprised that infielder Cristian Guzman has been a professional since being told that he would start the season on the bench.
The team likes the fact that Guzman is willing to play all four infield positions and the corner outfield spots. Guzman played second and right field without showing that he is new at the position during Spring Training.
"I expected him to act like the true professional that he is. He is a great character guy," Rizzo said. "We asked him to think of the team first, and he did that. He is that type of guy I thought he was. He really exceeded all of my expectations."
During his first 11 seasons, Guzman was an everyday shortstop for the Twins and Nationals. This year, Ian Desmond became the Opening Day shortstop for Washington. Riggleman hasn't ruled out Guzman being the Tony Phillips of the Nationals. Phillips was known to get close to 500 at-bats even though he never had a position to call his own.
"I won't say I'm surprised by [Guzman's professionalism]," Riggleman said. "I'm pleased that he has accepted the utility role, yet, he knows he is a solid Major League shortstop. He knows he could be playing every day. We made the decision based on Desmond's progress, not Guzman having any kind of regress.
"Guzzie has been great about it. I couldn't be happier about it. He really has a chance to be a plus for us. I can see where he is going to get as many at-bats as Adam Kennedy and Ian Desmond."
Guzman reiterated that he will do anything for the team. He is hoping he can get 500 at-bats by playing different positions.
"They put me in right field, second and short to get more at-bats. I'll take it." Guzman said. "When they want me to play, I'll be there. I know how to play this game."
Nats not worried about right-field situation
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are not in a rush to acquire a right fielder, according to a baseball source. If the platoon of Willie Harris and Willy Taveras is not productive, look for Washington to stay in-house to solve the problem.
The club could opt for a platoon of Cristian Guzman against right-handed pitching and Mike Morse facing left-handed pitching.
The Nats are convince that Guzman will hit no matter where he is playing, while Morse has proven to be a solid pinch-hitter, going 6-for-19 (.353) with a team-high eight RBIs last season. For the moment, Morse is considered Adam Dunn's backup at first base.
Meanwhile, the Nationals haven't had any talks with free-agent outfielder Jermaine Dye. According to published reports, Dye recently turned down a deal with the Brewers. The Nationals are not willing to pay a lot for Dye, who made $11 million last year with the White Sox.
Zimmerman receives his awards
WASHINGTON -- Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman received his Rawlings Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger Award before Monday's home opener.
Zimmerman had a breakout year last season, hitting .292 with 33 home runs and 106 RBIs. From a defensive standpoint, Zimmerman led Major League third basemen in total chances (459) and assists (325).
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.