Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Baker wants versatility off Nats bench

MLB.com @WashingNats

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals manager Dusty Baker knows it's important to have a deep bench in case of injuries or for when he wants to give his regulars a day off.

Clint Robinson, Michael Taylor, Jose Lobaton and Stephen Drew enter Spring Training as the ones expected to be on the bench this season. Players such as Tyler Moore, Chris Heisey, Reed Johnson and Chris Bostick are fighting for a spot on the team.

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals manager Dusty Baker knows it's important to have a deep bench in case of injuries or for when he wants to give his regulars a day off.

Clint Robinson, Michael Taylor, Jose Lobaton and Stephen Drew enter Spring Training as the ones expected to be on the bench this season. Players such as Tyler Moore, Chris Heisey, Reed Johnson and Chris Bostick are fighting for a spot on the team.

Nationals depth chart | Spring Training tickets

Baker said he wouldn't mind having a couple of switch-hitters on the bench, as it would force the opposing manager to make a decision on which pitcher to put on the mound.

"That's like having 27 players," Baker said. "You want some speed in case you have to pinch-run for somebody. On the great teams I was on, you had some speed, contact hitters off the bench and guys that could hit that two- or three-run homer to put you back in the game or [put it] out of reach.

"There isn't a perfect team, but you want [as many productive hitters as possible]."

Quick hit
• The Nationals signed right-hander Juan Gutierrez, 32, to a Minor League deal without an invitation to Spring Training, according to a baseball source. Gutierrez has pitched in six Major League seasons with the Astros, D-backs, Royals, Angels and Giants. His best season was in 2014, when he appeared in 61 games and had a 3.96 ERA for San Francisco.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Washington Nationals