The Washington Times - April 20, 2012, 06:46PM

Xavier Nady got the start in left field Friday night as the Nationals faced the Miami Marlins and right-hander Carlos Zambrano. While manager Davey Johnson had been rotating Nady, fellow right-hander Mark DeRosa and lefty Roger Bernadina at the position, he said Friday he plans to give the majority of the playing time there to Nady and Bernadina for now.

“I want to simplify the equation,” Johnson said. “Three variables in the equation is harder than two, so I’m going to simplify it and make it easier for the guys.”


None of the three have started the season out hot, with DeRosa (.077 average) likely struggling the most of the three, though Nady (.182) and Bernadina (.206) don’t have much prettier numbers. Johnson said he plans to now rotate Nady and Bernadina predominantly, and while he didn’t specify where he’d get DeRosa at-bats, it sounds as though he’ll become more exclusively a bench player in the early going and fill-in in the infield when the corner infielders need a day off. 

Johnson did add that when they face a left-handed pitcher, he’ll rotate Nady and DeRosa in left field. 

“I’d kind of been wishy-washy in using the three of them in the outfield,” Johnson said. “I was uncomfortable with that and I’m sure if I’m uncomfortable with it, they’re uncomfortable with it. I like where the’re all coming along. The least one of all, who is struggling probably the most, is DeRosa and he’s the one I’m least worried about.”

DeRosa has told Johnson that, if given the choice, he prefers right field to left and, to this point, when the Nationals have faced a left-handed starter Johnson has played Nady and DeRosa on the corners with Jayson Werth in center field. 

Johnson reiterated that he’s not the least bit worried about DeRosa, a veteran, getting his bat going. One of the Nationals main concerns coming into the season was that the 37-year-old stay healthy after losing most of his last two seasons to a wrist injury, and he is that.

“I’m just tickled to death that DeRosa’s healthy,” Johnson said. “He’s doing all the work and he looks great. We’re just starting. There’ll be plenty of key spots for him to help us win ballgames. He’s the least of my worries. I know what he can do.”

Johnson also said he plans to give Chad Tracy his first start of the season on Saturday and allow the left-hander to get three or four at-bats in a row after he’s been used exclusively as a bat off the bench thus far this season.