03/23/12 6:30 PM ET
Johnson likes what he sees, despite record
Manager is happy with way everyday players are swinging
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
Johnson pointed out he has played his reserves for most of the spring and will start playing his regulars starting Sunday against the Mets at Space Coast Stadium. Johnson said he likes the way his everyday players are swinging the bat, but noted he doesn't like when the team is shut out or doesn't score enough runs to win games.
"With the injuries, we are playing a lot of guys who are fighting for the ballclub, and we haven't worried about matchups," Johnson said. "I like the way a lot of my guys in the regular lineup are swinging the bat. I don't want them to peak too early. Next week, I think you will see what kind of ballclub we have. ... I don't worry about wins and losses. I worry about what I'm seeing."
In Friday's game, the Nationals didn't collect a hit until the seventh inning, when Jayson Werth hit a two-out single up the middle against reliever Brett Myers. Johnson said he has never seen a no-hitter during a Spring Training game.
The Nationals scored their only run in the eighth inning, when Jason Michaels hit a solo homer off left-hander Fernando Abad. It was Washington's first run in 16 innings. Since Tuesday, Washington has scored only three runs.
"I know we got our work in. I'm looking forward to Sunday, next week," Johnson said. "We ... have to see the old O's and see how powerful they are. And then we get down to business. ... But we are going to do better. I'm not concerned about it.
"To a man, Jayson Werth is on a lot of pitches. I didn't see that last year. I like the way [Ryan Zimmerman] is swinging. I like the way [Ian Desmond] and [Danny Espinosa] are coming along. They are really anxious to get going, but next week, it's time. ... In my opening day speech, I said, 'It's a long spring. I want you to be ready for Opening Day.' I think [we are going to do that]."
General manager Mike Rizzo doesn't seem concerned about the record, either. Entering Saturday's action against the Orioles, the Nationals are 5-12-3.
"We always like to win games down here, like we said for years, but the won-loss record, batting average doesn't impact any of our decisions," Rizzo said. "I like our pitchers being stretched out and showing stuff through 85 pitches. It shows me they are progressing toward Opening Day. I like guys getting their at-bats. We'll see in the last week or so -- when you have your team out there for an extended period of time -- how ready we are and how close we are to Opening Day."
Rizzo said he doesn't expect to make any trades before Opening Day. The GM said the Nationals haven't made any calls about trades.
"We are pretty comfortable with the team that we have right now. When healthy, we feel pretty good where we are at," Rizzo said. "As of today, I feel good about our health status. Knock on wood, there hasn't been any catastrophic injuries that are going to carry through month of April and through the season. A lot of teams can't say that, so we feel good about that.
"... If something comes up to improve ourselves, we'll certainly investigate it. We are not selling anybody or shopping anybody or making a lot of phone calls, because we are comfortable where we are at."
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.