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04/23/08 7:10 PM ET

Nats go with Lopez at second

Belliard will now come off the bench for Washington

WASHINGTON -- Now that Felipe Lopez is the Nationals' everyday second baseman, it means that Ronnie Belliard is on the bench.

It doesn't help that Belliard is hitting .214 with one homer and six RBIs in 17 games. The last time he played was on Sunday against the Marlins.

Belliard said that he will remain a team player and root for Lopez to play well. In fact, Belliard was seen taking early batting practice on Wednesday, but he declined to say why he's in a slump.

"There is nothing negative about me," Belliard said. "I'm positive all the time. I told you that during Spring Training. I cheer for Felipe, and he is playing every day. He has got to be there. He is helping the team to do well. When they put me out there, I just try to do my best."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.