VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson said left-hander Matt Purke, the team's third-round pick in the 2011 First Year Player Draft, will start against Georgetown University on Friday, while right-hander Stephen Strasburg will get the nod on March 4 against the Astros at Space Coast Stadium. Left-hander Ross Detwiler will follow Strasburg that same day.
Johnson also said that left-hander Gio Gonzalez will make his Nationals debut against the Braves in Orlando on March 6. Right-hander Yunesky Maya is expected to pitch in that game as well.
Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny will follow right-hander Edwin Jackson in the Grapefruit League opener next Saturday against the Astros in Kissimmee, Fla., while right-hander Craig Stammen will follow left-hander John Lannan against the Mets on March 5.
Nats first full-squad workout 'looked good'
VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals had their first full-squad workouts on Saturday. Manager Davey Johnson spent most of the day on Field No. 4, watching his players perform infield drills.
"It was crisp. They put a lot into it and we looked good," Johnson said.
Johnson also had a chat with Triple-A Syracuse manager Tony Beasley. Johnson wanted to know Beasley's thoughts on certain players who will play in Syracuse this upcoming season.
"Just creating a good path of communication that you need during the year," Johnson said.
Johnson also talked to general manager Mike Rizzo and farm director Doug Harris about certain players playing more than one position during Spring Training. For example, Johnson will have Tyler Moore play first and third base during the exhibition season. Anthony Rendon will play shortstop and third base, while Jarrett Hoffpauir and Andres Blanco will play second and short.
"I wanted them to understand what I was thinking, where I would play them in some of the games," Johnson said. "So I want them to concentrate in the drills at those positions. Talking to Tyler Moore, I know he played some [games] in the outfield. But I would like to keep an infielder in the infield. ... I wanted that communication so they would know what I'm thinking rather than imagine what I'm thinking."
Harper's new nickname: Broadway Bryce?
VIERA, Fla. -- Instead of having his name over his locker, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper had a nameplate reading "Joe Namath No. 12." No reason was given for the switch, but it's not a secret that Harper is a fan of the former Jets quarterback.
In an interview with MLB.com earlier this month, Harper, a sports history buff, said he would like to live his life the way Namath did during his heyday in the 1960s and early '70s. Namath was known to be flamboyant off the field, but backed it up by having a Hall of Fame career.
It will be up to the Nationals if Harper makes his Major League debut in 2012. Manager Davey Johnson said he wants general manager Mike Rizzo to keep an open mind about Harper making the team out of Spring Training. If Harper were to make the team, he would be the Opening Day right fielder, while Jayson Werth would be switched to center.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.