Morse to supplant right-field platoon?
Slugger may start in right field on Wednesday vs. Phillies
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are seriously thinking about starting Mike Morse in right field Wednesday night against Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels. If that's the case, the Willie Harris/Willy Taveras platoon could be over.
The organization is expected to be in meetings Wednesday afternoon and will make a decision on the right-handed-hitting Morse at that time. The team has always loved Morse's bat. Last year, Morse was 6-for-19 with team-leading eight RBIs as a pinch-hitter. During his career, he has a .324 batting average against left-handed pitching and .277 vs. right-handed pitching.
Morse entered Spring Training fighting for a job in right field, but he lost out to Harris and Taveras because they were better defensively. But the Nationals need offense after getting pounded by the Phillies, 11-1, in their home opener.
Now, there is a good chance that Taveras may not get a chance to start his first game as a member of the Nationals. Taveras, who went hitless in one at-bat Monday, signed a Minor League contract with Washington last February knowing he could start the season on the bench.
Taveras said early in Spring Training that he would accept the role as a bench player even though he has been a regular for most of his career. In Spring Training, Taveras hit .298.
Burnett healthy, unfazed by tough spring
WASHINGTON -- Left-hander Sean Burnett had a Spring Training he would like to forget, allowing 11 runs in eight innings. It's one of the reasons the team added Jesse English as the second lefty in the bullpen.
Burnett said he had a rough spring because his mechanics were out of whack and didn't throw as much in Spring Training as he did when he was with the Pirates.
"I feel great, and that's the key," Burnett said. "I just didn't have the results I wanted. If I had been scoreless the whole time in Spring Training, you would be waiting for that bad outing. I had a tough spring last year and I don't know why, but I had a good year."
Burnett showed on Monday there was nothing to worry about. He entered the game in the eighth inning against the Phillies and was his old self, pitching one scoreless inning and striking out two batters.
"My delivery is back, so I feel good," Burnett said.
Bergmann laments missed spot
WASHINGTON -- In the seventh inning of Monday's game, right-hander Jason Bergmann gave up a grand slam to Placido Polanco.
Bergmann threw a fastball that was supposed to be on the outside part of the plate. Instead, the ball went on the inside part, and Polanco hit the ball over left-field wall to give Philadelphia a 11-1 lead.
"I threw a pitch that rode in. It's not the result I wanted. I'll make sure that doesn't happen again," Bergmann said.
Riggleman pleased by Redskins' moves
WASHINGTION -- It's well known that manager Jim Riggleman grew up a Washington Senators fan, but he revealed Monday that he grew up a Washington Redskins fan. He was pleased to learn that the Redskins acquired quarterback Donovan McNabb in a trade with the Eagles on Sunday. McNabb is one of Riggleman's favorite players in the NFL.
At the same time, Riggleman was sadden to see Jason Campbell lose his job as the Redskins' starting quarterback.
"He is one of my favorite quarterbacks. I always felt he was underrated," Riggleman said about McNabb. "He is a very strong physical specimen. He has a great arm. I've always thought he was a good quarterback.
"I'm a Mike Shanahan fan and a Donavan McNabb fan, so it's going to be a lot more fun for me to watch Redskins and follow them. At the same time, I went to a couple of college games where Jason Campbell was playing. I always thought he was an NFL quarterback -- a guy with a great arm. I feel bad for him."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.