Inbox: Decoding the Nats' catcher rotation
Beat reporter Bill Ladson answers Nationals fans' questions
Even though catchers Wilson Ramos and Kurt Suzuki are in the lineup every other day, it seems to me like Gio Gonzalez's personal catcher is Suzuki. Does that play into Johnson's decision making?
-- Jon G., Accokeek, Md.
I don't think it's that way at all. Ramos will be behind the plate when Gonzalez pitches Tuesday against the White Sox. Johnson sees both players as No. 1 catchers and has decided to play each of them every other day. So far, Johnson's strategy has worked. Ramos and Suzuki have combined for three home runs and six RBIs.
Based on manager Davey Johnson's quotes, it sounds as if he is letting some of Bryce Harper's mental errors in left field -- like missing the cutoff man -- slide. It seems that Johnson is chalking it up to Harper's youthful aggressiveness. How long do you expect that to continue?
-- Andrew E., New York
I don't think Johnson is letting Harper slide. It's obvious to me that Johnson wants to see the mental errors in left field end. But it's up to Harper. It didn't make any sense that Harper tried to throw Jay Bruce out at the plate on Saturday, because he was going to score easily. As Johnson said, he wants Harper to control his emotions. We'll see what happens from this point forward.
If one of the current five starters goes down with an injury, who will get the callup to start for the Nationals?
-- Emil K., Washington
It would be Chris Young, who was the most impressive pitcher during Spring Training. He recently re-signed with the Nationals last week after he couldn't find a Major League job. Young is in Viera, Fla., to get stretched out. He will then report to Triple-A Syracuse by next week.
Do you see the Nats releasing reliever Henry Rodriguez if he is ineffective after a month or so?
-- Jack G., Bethesda, Md.
No. Johnson said numerous times that he is not going to give up on Rodriguez, because his fastball is usually clocked in the high 90s. Johnson's love for Rodriguez's talent reminds me how much former manager Manny Acta loved Austin Kearns' talent, and that didn't work out too well. I hope Johnson doesn't get burned the way Acta did.
After 2013, would general manager Mike Rizzo consider Jayson Werth as a player-manager? His leadership and baseball knowledge seem unmatched in the clubhouse and he has great respect in the organization.
-- Carmen B., Hilton Head, S.C.
Werth is a great leader, but I don't see him being named a player-manager. Once Johnson retires, I think the Nationals' next manager will be someone with experience. I still predict Yankees manager Joe Girardi will be the guy. It wouldn't surprise me if Werth was named team captain one day.
What plans do the Nats have when it comes to incorporating the designated hitter into their roster this season? Would they consider having Anthony Rendon added to the roster and DHing Ryan Zimmerman?
-- Eva G., East Lansing, Mich.
Rendon is staying in the Minor Leagues at least until September, so he will not face any American League teams unless Zimmerman goes on the disabled list. I could see Zimmerman being a DH for some games. But I have to think that Tyler Moore and Chad Tracy will split the role this year.