VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper collected his first Spring Training hit Tuesday, a pinch-hit single to left field off Mets right-hander Pedro Beato in the fifth inning.
"It was a good pitch to drive," Harper said. "It was up. It was a fastball away, so that was a good pitch to hit --- for me at least."
Harper didn't keep the souvenir, realizing the hit occurred during a Spring Training game.
"I don't have it and I [couldn't] care less," Harper said.
Harper remained in the game and got another at-bat in the seventh inning, hitting into a fielder's choice. He also came close to throwing out a runner in the ninth inning. Harper said he loved playing right field instead of serving as the designated hitter like he did Monday against New York.
"I can't stand DH'ing," Harper said. "I don't like the DH. I like to be on the field all the time. ... It was really good to go to right field today and be able to be in the game for four innings."
After Tuesday's game, Harper is 1-for-4 with two strikeouts this spring.
Zimmerman likely to bat cleanup behind Werth
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals manager Jim Riggleman announced Tuesday that he is leaning toward making third baseman Ryan Zimmerman his cleanup hitter behind right fielder Jayson Werth.
The other middle-of-the-order bat -- Adam LaRoche -- will hit fifth against the right-handers and sixth against lefties. Against left-handers, outfielder Michael Morse most likely will hit fifth to protect Zimmerman.
"Adam's numbers are OK against lefties, but ... I don't want Zimm -- with a left-handed pitcher on the mound -- having a left-handed hitter hitting behind him," Riggleman said.
Riggleman said he had a conversation with Zimmerman and Werth about the lineup not too long ago, and they didn't have a problem with it.
2010 Spring Training - Washington Nationals
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Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
Riggleman would like a hitter with a high on-base percentage batting in front of Zimmerman. Werth had a .388 on-base percentage with the Phillies last year.
"If Werth is that guy, that would be real good," Riggleman said.
Zimmerman has played most of his career hitting third, while Werth has spent most of his time hitting fifth. Werth has hit third 44 times in his career.
"Jim talked to all of us," Zimmerman said. "He asked us if we cared where we hit. I really don't care where I hit. You bat third or fourth the first time through. It's like hitting leadoff. You might hit leadoff the first thing in the game and then you might hit wherever.
"I think whatever is best for our lineup, whatever makes us have the ability to be more diverse and makes it harder for other teams to match up against us is what is best for the team."
Nats' LaRoche to DH due to sore shoulder
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche is going to be a designated hitter for the next few games because of left shoulder soreness. The injury is not considered serious.
LaRoche said the shoulder has been bothering him since before Spring Training started. At one point after camp began, the pain grew worse. LaRoche had problems doing fielding drills, such as throwing to second base. Now, he says, the shoulder is getting better. LaRoche has not had an MRI exam on the shoulder, and he believes the injury is nothing more than tendinitis.
"I never really had an arm injury my whole career," LaRoche said. "I've been pretty lucky. It's just a little sore."
Morse could serve as Zimmerman's backup
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals outfielder Michael Morse found himself playing third base in Monday's game against the Mets. Manager Jim Riggleman hinted that Morse could be Ryan Zimmerman's backup at third this year.
Morse is being considered at third because the team doesn't have many third basemen in camp. Alberto Gonzalez could be the backup, but he is considered a below-average hitter.
Jerry Hairston Jr. could also play third, but most of his time will be at second, shortstop and in the outfield.
"We have a lot of everything else," Riggleman said. "Gonzalez plays a real good third, but if you want to give Zimm a day off, everybody else is a middle infielder primarily before you can consider them a third baseman. "
Morse, who started his professional baseball career as shortstop, has made three errors in nine games during his Major League career at third base.
No nerves for Flores in return to action
VIERA, Fla. -- A day after playing his first Nationals game since September 2009, catcher Jesus Flores said he wasn't nervous. Flores missed all of last season because of a shoulder injury suffered in '09.
He entered Monday's 9-3 victory over the Mets as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning and went 0-for-2. He was also steady behind the plate.
"Yesterday, for the first time in my career, I didn't feel nervous," Flores said. "It was like, 'Look, you are back. You are playing again. Just enjoy the moment and relax.'
"My arm feels great. I'm 100 percent the Jesus Flores that I was before. I'm even better. Everything is easy for me. The hitting will come soon. That's what I'm working on."
Flores is competing against Wilson Ramos for the backup catcher's role. Flores has an option left and could start the season in the Minors or could be used as a trade chip.
Nationals' Brown sprains ankle vs. Mets
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals outfielder Corey Brown left Tuesday's game against the Mets in the seventh inning with a sprained left ankle. He is listed as day-to-day.
With runners on second and third and one out, Bryce Harper hit a grounder to New York first baseman Zach Lutz, who threw the ball to catcher Raul Chavez. Brown slid hard into Chavez and was called out at the plate.
As he got up, Brown realized there was something wrong with his ankle and went down to the ground. Athletic trainer Lee Kuntz and manager Jim Riggleman came to Brown's aid. Brown limped back into to the dugout under his own power.
After the game, Brown had an ice bag around his ankle and was walking on crutches.
"It's just a sprain. I had it plenty of times in the past playing sports," Brown said. "I think in the next few days, it will be all right."
Before the injury, Brown had a single and an RBI in the game.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.