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Nationals announce Opening Day roster

MLB.com @JamalCollier

CINCINNATI -- Washington officially announced its Opening Day roster on Thursday.

The battles in camp had played out and resolved themselves during the past week, when Miguel Montero was named the backup catcher, A.J. Cole was named fifth starter and eight relievers were left on the roster.

CINCINNATI -- Washington officially announced its Opening Day roster on Thursday.

The battles in camp had played out and resolved themselves during the past week, when Miguel Montero was named the backup catcher, A.J. Cole was named fifth starter and eight relievers were left on the roster.

MLB.com took a crack at predicting the Opening Day roster throughout the spring, and it's time to see how we did. (Spoiler alert: good). We got 24 of the 25 players on the roster correct, hindered only by a late injury to right-hander Joaquin Benoit, which opened up a spot for Trevor Gott to make the Opening Day roster for the first time.

Tweet from @Nationals: Ladies and gentlemen, your 2018 #Nats!#OpeningDay // #OnePursuit pic.twitter.com/yQKXCwqRpY

Catcher (2):  Matt Wieters, Miguel Montero
Montero arrived at Nationals camp with no guarantees he would make the roster, but he appeared to fit in seamlessly in the clubhouse. Once the Nats determined he could still contribute as a backup to Wieters, it became clear he was in line to make the team. And the Nationals wanted Pedro Severino, the club's 20th-ranked prospect as rated by MLB Pipeline, to get everyday at-bats in the Minors.

First base (2):  Ryan Zimmerman, Matt Adams
The Nats maintained throughout Zimmerman's unorthodox spring that he was healthy and will be in the lineup on Opening Day. Even though he only had a pair of at-bats in Grapefruit League games, Zimmerman will be ready for the Nationals' opener.

Second base (2):  Howie Kendrick, Wilmer Difo
These two will share most of the duties at second base while Daniel Murphy is on the disabled list recovering from microfracture right knee surgery.

Third base (1):  Anthony Rendon

Shortstop (1): Trea Turner
No surprises here, but because the Nationals are playing with a short bench to start the season, Rendon and Turner might have to play a bit more than normal. Still, on days when Difo is not playing second base, he can serve as the backup for either player.

Outfielders (4): Bryce Harper, Michael A. Taylor, Adam Eaton, Brian Goodwin
There was no room for top prospect Victor Robles on the Opening Day roster because the Nats want him to play every day. He could crack this bunch at some point in the season, but for now, this unit will be one of Washington's biggest strengths. Harper seems primed for a huge season, Eaton is finally healthy and Goodwin and Taylor are looking to follow up breakout years of their own.

Starting pitchers (5): Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark, A.J. Cole
After years of bouncing around as a spot starter, Cole captured the job as the team's fifth starter this spring. His hold on the job might be tentative, however, considering Jeremy Hellickson is building up stamina at the team's complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Erick Fedde, the team's top pitching prospect, put together a strong spring.

Video: WSH@STL: Cole gets Carpenter swinging in the 4th

Bullpen (8): LHP Sean Doolittle, RHP Ryan Madson, RHP Brandon Kintzler, RHP Shawn Kelley, RHP Trevor Gott, LHP Sammy Solis, LHP Enny Romero, LHP Matt Grace
The Nats opted to keep an extra reliever in the bullpen as a way to keep Romero and Grace on the roster without exposing them to waivers. Injuries to Benoit and right-hander Koda Glover opened up a spot on the roster for a right-hander reliever, which Gott secured after a strong spring.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals