04/18/11 5:15 PM ET
Inbox: Should Espinosa remain in leadoff spot?
Beat reporter Bill Ladson fields questions from Nats fans
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
-- Alex C., Montreal
With the way he is going, Espinosa will stay at the top of the order unless general manager Mike Rizzo acquires a leadoff hitter in a trade. The Nationals don't have a player in the Minor Leagues who can help at the top spot.
Given his persistent shoulder problems so far this year, if Adam LaRoche has to spend time on the disabled list this season, what do you think the corresponding move by the Nats will be? Will we see Michael Morse at first base, with Roger Bernadina being called up?
-- Michael S., Washington
This question would have been easy to answer two weeks ago. But with Morse off to a slow start, I don't know how the situation would go. It would not surprise me if the Nats promoted Chris Marrero. However, if Morse can get his bat going, I could see the club putting Morse at first base and bringing up Bernadina.
I asked Rizzo at the NatsFest why Bernadina and Matt Chico weren't on the Major League roster and he didn't give a solid answer. I can't see any reason why these guys aren't here. Do you agree?
-- Ben F., Suffolk, Va.
To be honest, I happen to agree with the Nats' decisions to have Bernadina and Chico start the season in the Minor Leagues. Chico is not better than the starters they have right now. He has to set the world on fire in order to be back in the big leagues.
Have a question about the Nationals?
E-mail your query to MLB.com Nationals beat reporter Bill Ladson for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
As for Bernadina, he slumped badly toward the end of Spring Training, which led to Rick Ankiel becoming the Opening Day center fielder. I don't think the club wants to see Bernadina on the bench in the big leagues. The front office would prefer if he played every day in the Minors.
Any news on left-hander Oliver Perez?
-- Charles C., Sarasota, Fla.
He is still in extended spring camp, working with pitching coordinator Spin Williams. There isn't a timetable on when Perez will pitch in a Minor League game.
When is Wilson Ramos going to be the everyday catcher? Ivan Rodriguez's offensive numbers are not good.
-- Dan A., Washington
That is a question that is often asked. I thought Ramos would be the everyday guy by now, but manager Jim Riggleman said Ramos will start against left-handers and Rodriguez will face right-handers. We'll see how long it lasts.
I don't want to get rid of Ian Desmond, but it's clear to me and most people watching feel that he is not the answer at shortstop. When will management move him to second or Triple-A Syracuse and put Espinosa in the place he was supposed to be all along -- shortstop?
-- Jon H., Alexandria, Va.
No time soon. It's too early to give up on Desmond. Contrary to what people think, I believe he has made improvements on defense. Yes, he is off to a slow start offensively, but I expect his bat to get hot soon.
Keep this in mind: Desmond's biggest supporter is Riggleman. As long as Riggleman is around, Desmond will be at shortstop.
I am so incredibly confused why Riggleman falls in love with veterans that quite frankly look like they are past their prime.
-- Mike, Buffalo, N.Y.