NEW YORK -- The Nationals are grateful they are not going through a catching controversy like the Yankees experienced with catcher Jorge Posada recently.
Last month, Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez took the news well after manager Jim Riggleman told the 14-time All Star that he would be a backup player, while Wilson Ramos would get most of the playing time.
Since then, Rodriguez has been a mentor to Ramos while still seeing his share of playing time. In fact, Rodriguez was in the starting lineup against the Mets on Thursday afternoon. Although, Rodriguez was hitting .238 for the season entering Thursday's action, he was 7-for-20 (.340) with runners in scoring position.
"The conversation we had with him in the spring was to let him know that he was going to catch Opening Day ... but as we go through the season, Pudge was going to take more of a backup role," Riggleman said. "I didn't know how that conversation was going to go. He said, 'Anything you need, that's what I'm here for. I'm here to help the team win. However you need to use me, I still have a lot of baseball left.'
"That was the perfect response from a true professional. He has become a real contributor. He plays like a regular still, so we try to get as much out of him as we can. We'll take advantage of what he could still give us. But at the same time, [we'll] develop Ramos."
Riggleman believes if Rodriguez was still a No. 1 catcher, he could catch five days a week. The skipper also mentioned that Rodriguez is having a great year behind the plate.
"Throwing the ball and blocking the ball behind the plate, he is as good as he has ever been. I think [he's doing] better than he did last year, and he did a great job last year," Riggleman said. "He is really at the top of his game defensively."
Nats to stand pat without Minors reinforcements
NEW YORK -- Entering Thursday's action, the Nationals are the worst hitting team in the Major Leagues, and it appears they will not get any hitting help from the Minor Leagues any time soon.
According to manager Jim Riggleman, he and general manager Mike Rizzo haven't had any conversations about adding a hitter to the roster. The last person they added from the Minor Leagues was outfielder Roger Bernadina, who is hitting .293 with three RBIs entering Thursday's action.
"I don't think we have any internal options offensively right now to change anything up. We feel confident that the team we put together here is going to get it going," Riggleman said.
Nats go with Johnson, Corrales as Draft reps
NEW YORK -- For the second year in a row, Davey Johnson and Pat Corrales will represent the Nationals, who have the sixth pick, during the 2011 First-Year Player Draft on June 6.
Johnson, who was a Major League manager for 14 seasons and a respected infielder in the 1960s and '70s, is a senior advisor to general manager Mike Rizzo. Johnson was never drafted as a player, having signed as an amateur free agent with the Orioles in 1962, before the Draft's inception in '65.
Corrales, who over the past 50 years has been a Major League catcher, manager and coach, is an advisor to the club.
Commissioner Bud Selig will announce all the first-round picks. For teams with sandwich picks, the club representatives will announce those selections.
Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft begins with a one-hour preview show on June 6 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB.com and MLB Network, followed by the first round and supplemental compensation round.
MLB.com will provide exclusive coverage of Day 2 and 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player. You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.