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03/25/11 11:00 PM ET

Morgan expects to be gone by Opening Day

VIERA, Fla. -- Center fielder Nyjer Morgan believes his days with the Nationals are numbered and does not expect to be with the team by Opening Day.

Morgan, who is on the trading block, is aware the Nationals plan to use Rick Ankiel as their Opening Day center fielder. Ankiel is expected to platoon with Jerry Hairston Jr. in center field.

"I'm a realist," Morgan said. "I'm not going to sit here and be like, 'Oh, no. I want to finish my career here.' I just think this place isn't for me. I'm not saying there are bad people here. It's just that, maybe, I'm not a fit here anymore. It's time to move on."

Morgan, who has been the club's primary leadoff hitter for more than a year, is coming off a season in which he hit .253 with 24 RBIs. The Nationals were hoping that he would play winter ball in the Dominican Republic, but Morgan declined, wanting to get over a season in which he was involved in a brawl with the Marlins.

Morgan went into Spring Training as the starting center fielder, but he had to improve his offense against left-handed pitching, have a high on-base percentage, and play quality defense. Entering Friday's action against the Cardinals, Morgan was 12-for-51 [.235] with a home run and four RBIs. Some people in the Nationals' organization believe Morgan has been no more than adequate in center field.

Morgan said that if he starts the season as a bench player with the Nationals, he would accept his role.

"I still have to come to work and be a professional," Morgan said. "I have to still be able to do what I could do. If they think [Ankiel] did what he was supposed to do in Spring Training, my hat goes off to him. I can't sit here and be angry at anybody."

Storen, Burnett will share closer role

VIERA, Fla. -- Reliever Drew Storen saved his second game of the spring in a 3-2 victory over the Cardinals on Friday night. After the contest, manager Jim Riggleman indicated that Storen and left-hander Sean Burnett will split the closer role. The two will close games depending on matchups.

Originally, Riggleman said he had planned to use a closer-by-committee system, which also included Tyler Clippard and Doug Slaten.

"Right now, if there were a couple of lefties up and then a righty, I would probably start the [ninth] inning with Burnett," Riggleman said. "If there were a couple of righties and a lefty, I would go to Storen. I would just let him run with it. It really depends on what has happened [before the ninth].

"If you are winning in the seventh and eighth -- and you felt like your best chance to get out of this [jam] is using one of those guys, I think we need to be able to use them. Sometimes, the save comes in the seventh or eighth inning."

Gaudin accepts role in bullpen

VIERA, Fla. -- Before the exhibition season started, Nationals right-hander Chad Gaudin said he would prefer to be a starter. But Friday, Gaudin said that he will accept being a reliever.

Manager Jim Riggleman said that Gaudin will be a long or short reliever, which is fine with the right-hander. During Washington's 3-2 victory over the Cardinals, Gaudin entered the game in the seventh inning and didn't allow a run in one inning.

"I'm comfortable doing it," Gaudin said about being a reliever. "I'm confident in everything that has happened so far. I think through this spring, I pitched well.

"I've earned [Riggleman's] respect, and that means a lot to know that he feels that way about me and is able to trust me during an inning later in the game. That's an important part of the game. When I first came here, of course, I said I wanted to be a starter. This is about the team. Whatever is best for the team at the end of the day is what I'll be here to do."

LaRoche sidelined for a few days

VIERA, Fla. -- First baseman Adam LaRoche is expected to be sidelined for the next three games because of a sore left shoulder. He had an MRI on the shoulder two days ago and has not received the results.

LaRoche has had problems with the shoulder ever since he arrived in Spring Training, and missed the first few games of the exhibition season.

The pain has subsided at times, but not to the point where he is 100 percent. The injury affects his throwing, but not his hitting.

"I still can't let it go, so if that is something I could clean up the next couple of days, that would be ideal," LaRoche said about his throwing.

Werth happy to hit second

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth said he is happy to bat second in the lineup to start the season. Manager Jim Riggleman wants Werth to be near the top of the lineup because of his .388 on-base percentage with the Phillies last season.

During his career, Werth has a .252 batting average, but has a .340 on-base percentage while hitting second. Werth pointed out that he hit second when the Phillies won the World Series in 2008.

"I think with the personnel that we have, it makes the most sense. It's definitely the best lineup that way," Werth said. "I don't mind hitting second at all."

Worth noting

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who missed most of this week because of a left ankle injury, was able to practice on the field Friday and hopes to play in a Minor League game Sunday. Harper is on schedule to be ready for Opening Day at Class A Hagerstown. ... A baseball source indicated that right-hander Brian Broderick will most likely be on the 25-man roster to start the season. A Rule 5 pick, Broderick will likely serve as a short and long reliever. Broderick can also be a starter if need be. ... Right-hander Yunesky Maya was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on Friday. In four spring games, Maya allowed five earned runs in 13 2/3 innings.

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.