The Washington Times - March 20, 2011, 09:43AM

VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals are on the field doing cutoff drills right now, a few hours before their game with the Tigers this afternoon at Space Coast Stadium.

Here are the morning notes:


— Ryan Zimmerman, who hasn’t played since Monday, is expected to hit today and the Nationals will then decide whether or not he could see action before the team’s off day on Wednesday, or if they should hold him out until then.

— Danny Espinosa is not in the lineup today but Riggleman said it shouldn’t be cause for concern. The second baseman, who missed three games this week after fouling a ball off his right foot, is out due more to the Nationals efforts to get some at-bats and playing time for their utility players like Alex Cora and Jerry Hairston Jr.

— The Nationals have not decided on a firm date for their next round of cuts. Riggleman said today that these are considerably more difficult to do than the early rounds because there aren’t too many guys left in camp who are playing themselves off the team.

Riggleman also said there’s a possibility the Nationals keep both Matt Stairs and Laynce Nix on the 25-man roster, depending on how their center field battle shakes out.

As for Stairs’ chances, Riggleman said he has “a real good chance of being on the ballclub.”

— Ivan Rodriguez was originally slated to be the designated hitter today, which would have been his second straight day in the lineup after dealing with some soreness in his left calf. Rodriguez will miss Tuesday and Thursday’s games to leave camp for a “positive personal issue,” according to Riggleman so the plan was to get him as many at-bats before he left as they could. We’ll find out later why Rodriguez was scratched from the lineup.

Here’s the lineup:

Nyjer Morgan DH
Rick Ankiel CF
Jayson Werth RF
Adam LaRoche 1B
Wilson Ramos C
Roger Bernadina LF
Jerry Hairston Jr. 3B
Alex Cora 2B
Alberto Gonzalez SS
Tom Gorzelanny P

Other pitchers scheduled to go today:

Todd Coffey
Craig Stammen
Drew Storen
Tyler Clippard