Nats' 2023 Opening Day roster announced

March 30th, 2023

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals announced their Opening Day roster ahead of their matchup against the Braves on Thursday.

The club placed right-handed pitchers Víctor Arano (right shoulder strain), Cade Cavalli (Tommy John surgery), Tanner Rainey (Tommy John surgery) and Stephen Strasburg (Thoracic outlet syndrome) on the 60-day injured list.

Third baseman Carter Kieboom (right shoulder impingement) went on the 10-day IL, as did catcher Israel Pineda (right finger fracture), retroactive to Monday.

Catchers (2): ,
Ruiz is the Nationals' catcher for the 2023 season and beyond after signing an eight-year contract on March 11. He will be backed up by Adams, who recently said of Ruiz, “I love that I know he’s got my back and I’ve got his.”

First baseman (1):
Smith brings a veteran presence to first base, where he has a career .992 fielding percentage. He will be backed up by Joey Meneses, who made 32 starts at the position last season with the Nats, and fellow veteran Jeimer Candelario.

Second baseman (1):
García arrived to camp for his fourth season having improved his agility and footwork over the winter. The Nationals would like the 22-year-old, who also has experience playing shortstop, to focus solely on second base this season.

Shortstop (1): CJ Abrams
Abrams showed early flashes of his dazzling defensive potential in a short stint after being acquired by Washington at the Trade Deadline. This offseason, he focused on speed work on the bases, stride direction of his swing and pitch selection.

Third baseman (1):
Candelario joins Smith as another veteran defensive anchor in the infield. He is looking to return to his productivity in 2021, when he tied for most doubles among all players (42).

Outfielders (3): LF , CF , RF
Robles returns to center field following his second season as a Gold Glove Award finalist. Thomas is shifting from left to right field after he impressed there late in 2022. Dickerson brings 10 seasons of experience to left field, and his 730 games played there are the sixth most among active players.

Designated hitter (1):
The signing of Smith created the roster flexibility for the hot-hitting Meneses to shift into the vacant designated hitter role. Following a breakout rookie season at age 30, Meneses turned heads in the World Baseball Classic with Team Mexico. Smith and Candelario can also fill the DH spot.

Bench/Utility (3): OF , INF , INF
Chavis cracked the Opening Day roster, grabbing one of the final bench spots.

Starting pitchers (5): LHP , RHP , RHP , LHP , RHP
With Cade Cavalli set to miss the season with Tommy John surgery, Kuhl got the opportunity to take his place in the rotation. The veteran made 27 starts with the Rockies last season.

Relief pitchers (8): LHP , RHP , RHP , RHP , RHP , RHP , RHP , RHP
With slowed in his return from a UCL injury last season, Banda is the lone lefty in the bullpen that leans right-heavy. Harris, who impressed during the spring with an 0.90 ERA in eight games, and Ward, a Rule 5 Draft pick, also made the roster.