06/28/09 3:20 PM ET
Inbox: Should Guzman play every day?
Beat reporter Bill Ladson answers fans' questions
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
With Guzman struggling defensively at shortstop, is there any chance he could be the Nationals' second baseman next year? The guy is a hitting machine, and I would love to keep his bat in the lineup.
-- Rich R., Slingerlands, N.Y.
I don't see the Nationals switching Guzman over to second base. I believe they have other plans when it comes to that position. I agree that Guzman has a great bat, but hitting is not the team's top priority right now. It needs to get better defensively. It's one of the reasons the Nationals are having a tough time winning games.
Is Dunn in the team's long-term plans?
-- Yu-Hung Su, Chiayi, Taiwan
The answer is no, because of his defense. The Nationals have come to the conclusion that he belongs in the American League as a designated hitter. I would not be surprised if Dunn is traded before the season is over.
Is there any timetable for the return of Lastings Milledge and Roger Bernadina?
-- Ray U., Washington
Milledge is playing in the Gulf Coast League after breaking his right hand more than a month ago. However, I don't see him playing in the big leagues for the Nationals, because many in the organization believe he is not an impact player.
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As far as Bernadina goes, he still is recovering from a left ankle injury, and the Nationals are hoping he will be playing in Major Leagues by September.
Can the Nationals do something about Austin Kearns and Ronnie Belliard when it comes to the low batting averages?
-- Shelton A., Silver Spring, Md.
Hitting coach Rick Eckstein has done everything he can to get Kearns back on track, but nothing has worked. I think Belliard needs to play every day to get his bat going, but his playing time with this team has been decreasing. Anderson Hernandez and Alberto Gonzalez are splitting time at second base.
Do you think the Nats should re-sign Nick Johnson? He arguably is the most consistent player on the team.
-- Ted P., Alexandria, Va.
Upon further review, I would re-sign Johnson, because the team has nobody in the farm system who is ready to take his place.
I'm a big Elijah Dukes fan, but I want to know how the Nationals feel about him?
-- Eric S., Washington
They feel he has a lot of talent but makes too many fundamental mistakes in the outfield and on the bases. I don't see him playing center field again for the Nationals. He will remain in right field for the time being.
Would you say Pedro Martinez is a good fit for this rotation? Someone with his kind of resume could help out a lot.
-- Philip G., Brandywine, Md.
I don't, because he is past his prime and not worth the large amount of money he is seeking.