03/14/11 1:00 PM ET
Inbox: Storen losing his grip on closer role?
Beat reporter Bill Ladson answers Nats fans' questions
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
-- Alex C., Montreal
The question should be whether Storen is losing his chance to be on the 25-man roster. I've been given every indication it's not a given that he will be with the team on Opening Day. It's too early to say if he will make the roster. He has pitched four games entering Monday. I'm not going to judge him based on four games.
Also, manager Jim Riggleman gave the media every indication he is going with a closer by committee, which means Storen, Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett and Todd Coffey will get a chance to pitch in the ninth inning.
Why do the Nationals keep taking chances on injured pitchers like Chien-Ming Wang and Cla Meredith, when a guy like Kevin Millwood is available?
-- Russ W., Ft. Washington, Md.
I'm aware that Millwood endured some bad luck for Baltimore last year, but I don't think he makes a team better. I think Washington is better off with what it has right now. I would rather see a player like Ross Detwiler or Craig Stammen get a chance before signing a guy like Millwood or trading for Carlos Silva.
With the Nationals signing first baseman Adam LaRoche to a two-year deal, have they lost faith in Chris Marrero, and should they consider trading him at this point?
-- Jay, Baltimore
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The Nats have not given up on Chris Marrero. In fact, Riggleman praised Marrero on Monday morning for his much improved glove work. Riggleman predicts that Marrero will have a successful big league career.
If Danny Espinosa starts off the season cold, who will come in as the second baseman?
-- John S., Dale County, Va.
I don't expect Espinosa to start the season cold. This guy is going to have a great season. His glove work alone will make him a valuable player on the team. Espinosa is going to be a multiple Gold Glove winner in the big leagues. He is that good around second base.
Do you see Jerry Hairston Jr. taking significant at-bats away from Espinosa and Ian Desmond -- potentially retarding their progress?
-- Kurt T., Glenmoore, Pa.
I do not. I see Hairston getting a lot of time in the outfield and spot starts around the infield. He is going to platoon with whomever plays center field for the Nationals. As of right now, I don't see Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina and Nyjer Morgan getting a lot of action against left-handed pitching.
What is the status of Ray Knight? Will he return to MASN this season?
-- Josh L., Woodbridge, Va.
From what I understand, Knight will be back with Johnny Holiday for the pregame and postgame shows. In my opinion, Knight is a great addition to the broadcast.
How can you be even remotely upbeat about Morgan? His baserunning decisions last year were terrible and his foot speed is supposed to be his biggest offensive threat. I like the guy's heart, but I doubt he'll be anything but a disappointment this year.
-- Paul L., Washington
It's not a secret the glass is always half full when I talk about the Nationals and their players. There is no question in my mind that Morgan must have a great Spring Training the rest of the way to be the everyday center fielder.
Are you surprised that Laynce Nix is facing an uphill battle to make the Nationals' 25-man roster?
-- David V., Washington
I am shocked because he is one of the best bench players in baseball. I think it's a no-brainer that he should be on the team. Then again, I'm not the manager or GM, so I have to respect what the team decides.
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.