The Washington Times - May 3, 2012, 03:36PM

It took Bryce Harper all of four major league games to not only convince Nationals manager Davey Johnson to hit him third in the lineup — the spot generally reserved for the team’s best hitter — but to hit him third while going against the manager’s left-right-left-right ideal in the lineup.

Johnson generally sticks to a left-right formula. Makes it more difficult, he feels, for the opposing manager to use the late-game matchups in his favor. But you’d be hard pressed to find anyone to argue that Harper isn’t one of the best hitters in the Nationals’ lineup right now, so you likely won’t find many dissenters to this decision.


Johnson hinted at a move up from the seventh slot late Wednesday night, saying he ran the idea by his coaches and not one objected.

(UPDATED) First baseman Adam LaRoche has been scratched from tonight’s lineup with right oblique soreness. Chad Tracy replaced him at first base and will hit fifth. Jayson Werth, who had been scheduled to hit fifth, moved up to the cleanup spot behind Harper. LaRoche was scratched near the end of batting practice so we’ll have an update on him after the game. 

Here are the full lineups as the Nationals look to win their seventh in their first eight series of the season:


Ian Desmond SS
Steve Lombardozzi 3B
Bryce Harper LF
Jayson Werth RF
Chad Tracy 1B
Danny Espinosa 2B
Rick Ankiel CF
Wilson Ramos C
Ross Detwiler P


Willie Bloomquist SS
Aaron Hill 2B
Justin Upton RF
Jason Kubel LF
Paul Goldschmidt 1B
Miguel Montero C
Ryan Roberts 3B
A.J. Pollock CF
Ian Kennedy P