After today’s final spring tuneup, a 4-2 loss to the Yankees, Nationals manager Davey Johnson announced the resolution of the only two questions that remained about the Nationals’ roster for Opening Day on April 1st. RHP Henry Rodriguez will be the final pitcher in the bullpen, and C Wilson Ramos will get the season’s first start.
During the spring, Rodriguez had a 4.15 ERA in 8.2 IP, but he struggled with control even more than he usually does, walking 10 batters in that span. Johnson dismissed speculation that Rodriguez could start the season on the DL, instead placing his trust in him. The other candidate for Rodriguez’s spot was LHP J.C. Romero, who threw two scoreless innings in Spring Training after having success with the Puerto Rican national team in the World Baseball Classic. Romero will instead start the season in the minors.
At the catcher’s spot, the conflict was between Ramos and Kurt Suzuki, who became the starter last year after being acquired from Oakland. Suzuki hit .270/.364/.432 during Spring Training, while Ramos hit .353/.353/.559 in his return from ACL surgery. Ramos will start Opening Day, but Suzuki should get plenty of playing time as a backup.