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05/24/11 10:00 PM ET

Riggleman confident he can juggle outfielders

MILWAUKEE -- Roger Bernadina was thought to be a stronger left fielder than center fielder. But manager Jim Riggleman said he had performed well in the middle of the outfield, while Rick Ankiel was on the disabled list.

"We know Ankiel's a good center fielder. But at this point, I feel good about how both of them play center field," Riggleman said.

"[Bernadina's] been real good. He's made a couple of plays that I don't think anyone else makes, unbelievable plays. There's been a couple of balls that I think showed his comfort level there isn't quite what it is in left."

Riggleman said he was confident he could manage the playing time of Bernadina, Laynce Nix and Ankiel. Even though they are all left-handed, the trio likely will get quite a bit of playing time in left and center field.

"A lot of times those left-handed pitchers don't even want to face those left-handers," Riggleman said. "A lot of times with left-handed starters, if you're a left-handed hitter, you're going to get three or four at-bats against him. It starts to get fairly comfortable, and it becomes the quality of the pitcher -- not whether he's left or right-handed."

With Adam LaRoche on the disabled list, Riggleman has said Michael Morse, Matt Stairs, Alex Cora and even Ankiel could see time at first base. Ankiel has never played first, but has been taking grounders there in practice.

Bixler gets start in left field

MILWAUKEE -- Brian Bixler was inserted into the starting lineup as the Nationals' left fielder on Tuesday night, the first time he has started in left during his Major League career.

Bixler, recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on April 23, has made three starts at third base while subbing for injured starter Ryan Zimmerman. He has two hits in 15 at-bats this year.

The right-handed hitter has played three games in left this year for a total of 4 1/3 innings, but none as a starter.

"He's such a good athlete," manager Jim Riggleman said of Bixler. "He might be the fastest guy on the team, with the exception of [Roger] Bernadina."

Riggleman said he was comfortable starting Bixler in left, but acknowledged he hadn't seen him play there much.

"I'm kind of putting the foot speed out there, and the athleticism," Riggleman said. "That's what I'm going to do."

It was the 49th Major League start for Bixler.

Nix sits out with minor left-foot injury

MILWAUKEE -- Laynce Nix suffered a minor injury to his left foot during his final plate appearance on Monday night, and was not in the starting lineup for the Nationals' game on Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Nix had an ice bag strapped to his foot after Monday night's game, but said he felt fine.

Manager Jim Riggleman said Nix was available for pinch-hitting duties on Tuesday night, and likely would start Wednesday afternoon's game.

Nix is batting .308, with six home runs and 18 RBIs in 39 games.

Joe DiGiovanni is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.