VIERA, Fla. -- Full-squad workouts for the Nationals began Saturday, and first baseman Adam LaRoche is not having any problems swinging the bat or throwing the baseball, even though his left shoulder is not 100 percent -- yet.
LaRoche missed most of last year because of labrum tears in his left shoulder. Manager Davey Johnson said he will be cautious in how he uses LaRoche during Spring Training. Johnson expects the shoulder to be 100 percent by Opening Day.
"The arm feels, I wouldn't say great, but I am throwing. I still have a little ways to get there in terms of strength," LaRoche said. "Other than that, it's getting your legs in shape, your eyes adjusted and we are facing live pitching now. It looks like everybody is throwing 150 miles per hour. We are getting there."
Harper could crack Nationals' lineup Saturday
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson has often talked about how he wanted more left-handed hitters in the lineup this year, and he hinted on Monday afternoon that outfielder Bryce Harper will play against the Astros at 1:05 p.m. ET on Saturday in Kissimmee, Fla.
If he starts in that game, Harper will face former Nationals right-hander Livan Hernandez, who won eight games for the team last year. Hernandez recently signed a Minor League deal with Houston.
Johnson has said all along that he is going to give the left-handed-hitting Harper every chance to make the team out of Spring Training. If Harper makes the team, he will be the Nationals' starting right fielder.
"It works out nice. I'm looking for more left-handed presence in the lineup," Johnson said without mentioning Harper's name. "Right out of the shoot, [the Astros] are going to throw a right-hander against us."
Zim's contract could prompt switch for Rendon
VIERA, Fla. -- After Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman agreed to terms on a six-year, $100 million extension on Sunday, the obvious question centered around what position Anthony Rendon would play in the future.
Last year, Rendon was drafted by Washington as a highly touted third baseman. But with Zimmerman around for at least the next six years, Rendon will likely make a position switch. For now, according to general manager Mike Rizzo, Rendon will start his professional career in the Minor Leagues at third base.
Besides playing the hot corner, Rendon will play shortstop during Spring Training. Rendon can also play second base, but will not play in a game until he takes lessons from manager Davey Johnson, who was a Gold Glove second baseman during the 1960s and '70s.
Rendon, who understands why the Nationals gave Zimmerman the long-term extension, sounded like he doesn't have any problems making a position switch.
"It's great for him. I have nothing bad to say," Rendon said about Zimmerman's extension. "He made his mark in baseball, this organization. He is an All-Star player. Why wouldn't you want to re-sign him? You have to. You have to lock him up.
"I'm very comfortable around the infield. I grew up playing short and second, especially second when I was really young. I was always the smallest guy. I didn't have growth spurts until I was a sophomore, junior in high school. I played a lot of second, and in high school, I was a shortstop, and then I made the transition to third."
Rendon is expected to start his first Spring Training game against Georgetown University at 12 p.m. ET on Friday, according to Johnson.
Nats looking for Bernadina to be consistent
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina is out of Minor League options, so it will be interesting to see what role he'll play this season.
There is a possibility that Bernadina could be traded, although one baseball source said recently that the Nationals are not actively trying to deal him.
If Bryce Harper doesn't make the team out of Spring Training, there is a possibility that Bernadina could find himself in a right-field platoon with Mark DeRosa.
Bernadina is coming off a disappointing season in 2011, hitting .243 with seven home runs and 27 RBIs. There was even a point in the season where he was sent down to Triple-A Syracuse due to a lack of production.
Hitting coach Rick Eckstein is on a mission to see that Bernadina stays consistent at the plate. Eckstein wants Bernadina to use the entire field to get base hits instead of going for the long ball. Bernadina seems to go into prolonged slumps whenever he tries to hit home runs.
"He can slot in the top of the order and be an on-base percentage guy," Eckstein said. "He can bunt, he can run, he can use the entire field. But then he has that power component, and sometimes that power component takes over. He has the bigger swings, he swings at pitches he shouldn't be swinging at. Definitely, our goal is to have him reach his potential.
"Bernadina is a special athlete. We've all seen what he is capable of doing, but he needs to package it every day. We love him. His athleticism is tremendous. There is no doubt in my mind that he can be a complete-package player. But showing up every day, bringing that package to the park and utilizing it for the team every day is the challenge. I think he is up to it."
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.