3/26/2014 7:16 P.M. ET
Fifth-starter job coming down to Roark, Jordan
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Nationals still haven't made a decision on who will be their fifth starter. In fact, according to manager Matt Williams, Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan are expected to pitch in the final Spring Training game against the Tigers at Nationals Park on Saturday. A decision will be made after that game.
Both Jordan and Roark have made their case to be in the starting rotation, and there seems to be a debate among the front office and coaching staff as to who should earn the job.
"Regardless of the decision, we want to see them pitch, and it's good prep for both of them at the beginning of the season," Williams said.
Whoever doesn't make the team between Roark and Jordan will go to Triple-A Syracuse.
"Both of these guys have been groomed to start this year," Williams said. "If something happens [with someone in the rotation], they are ready. They are deserving [to start] every fifth day. That's the way they have been used this spring, and we'll continue to do that."
Harper tossed for arguing close play at first
JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was ejected in the fourth inning of Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Cardinals.
Harper led off the inning by hitting a slow roller to second baseman Mark Ellis, who threw Harper out on a close play. Harper had a few words for first-base umpire Jeff Gosney before heading back toward the dugout. He then turned back toward first base and started yelling at Gosney, who ejected Harper from the game.
"He said the magic word," manager Matt Williams said. "I don't know what he said. … I didn't see him make a gesture or anything, but he said the magic words."
Williams wished Harper didn't lose his temper. Harper could have had two more at-bats and helped the Nationals win the game.
"It's important for him to stay in the game for us, especially that early," Williams said. "It turned out he would have gotten a couple of more at-bats. It could have made the difference."
Williams was then seen arguing with third-base umpire C.B. Bucknor, who wanted Harper to leave the field immediately. Williams wanted Harper to leave the field in the middle of the inning.
"I was asking C.B. to wait. [The umpires] were waiting around [for Harper] to leave the dugout," Williams said. "I didn't want [Harper] to be embarrassed and walk in front of everybody."
Emotional Barrett ecstatic to make Nats' roster
JUPITER, Fla. -- Reliever Aaron Barrett was emotional when manager Matt Williams told him that he was going to make the Nationals' Opening Day roster.
Barrett was in the team's weight room when he was summoned to Williams' office. Barrett didn't know what to think. Did he make the team or was he going to start the season with Triple-A Syracuse?
"We had to make some really tough decisions, and you are one of those tough decisions," Williams ominously told Barrett.
Then there was a five-second pause on Williams' part before the skipper informed Barrett that he had made the team. Tears were shed on Barrett's part. He then hugged pitching coach Steve McCatty, who was in the room.
"I was just overwhelmed with joy," Barrett said. "There were a few tears shed, for sure. I was overwhelmed with joy. It was such an amazing experience. I just have to keep doing what I'm doing. This is just the beginning of the journey. I just have to keep it going."
Barrett then went in the dugout and called his wife, Kendyl, another emotional moment. Barrett said Kendyl, a wedding planner and an event coordinator for the restaurant "Bud and Alley's," was his rock and supporter while he was in the Minor Leagues.
Barrett was sensational on the mound this spring, allowing no runs in 10 2/3 innings while striking out eight batters. Barrett had his own philosophy when it came to pitching in the Major League games.
"I came into camp not trying to do too much. I was just trying to keep it simple, keep a simple mindset. It's still the same game," Barrett said. "The players are a lot better, obviously. For me, I was trying to keep my simple mindset -- one pitch at a time mentality, get ahead and attack hitters. That's the key to me."
Nats add to bench depth by signing Frandsen
JUPITER, Fla. -- In an effort to improve their bench, the Nationals have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with free-agent infielder/outfielder Kevin Frandsen. The club announced the deal, worth a reported $900,000, on Wednesday.
To make room for Frandsen, Washington voided its previous option on Ross Ohlendorf and placed the pitcher on the 60-day disabled list with a right lumbar strain. Ohlendorf pitched in only two games this spring.
Frandsen, meanwhile, can play all four infield positions and the corner-outfield spots. The last two years, he served as a valuable bench player with the Phillies. His best year for Philadelphia was in 2012, when he hit .338 with two home runs and 14 RBIs in 55 games.
"He has played well the last few years. He can play around the diamond," Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth said.
Manager Matt Williams had said he was looking for a player who could play more than one position, adding that Frandsen will also be the emergency catcher.
"I like options," Williams said. "If we were to look for somebody else, it would be somebody that would give us multiple options, that has the ability to play multiple positions. It's important for your team to have guys that move around, that are experienced in that regard, and [he has] done it."
With Frandsen on the team, this will likely mean that Jeff Kobernus will not be put on the 25-man roster. Kobernus can also play more than one position, but he was hitting .216 going into Thursday's Grapefruit League game against the Mets.
• Doug Fister will pitch in a Minor League game on Thursday. He is expected to throw 60 to 65 pitches.
• Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Denard Span did not accompany the Nationals to Jupiter on Wednesday. They are getting at-bats in a Minor League game.
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.