Nationals-Cardinals lineups: Gio Gonzalez starts, Wilson Ramos to try sliding

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JUPITER, Fla. — Gio Gonzalez likes to joke that the visiting clubhouse at Roger Dean Stadium has a locker specifically for him that the clubhouse manager keeps intact because Gonzalez uses it so often. Last spring, Gonzalez made almost all of his starts in Jupiter — a quirk in the schedule — and he is back Saturday to continue the tradition.

Gonzalez will make his second start of the spring against a St. Louis Cardinals lineup loaded up with regulars, as well as super-prospect Oscar Taveras.

– Back at the Nationals’ complex, Wilson Ramos will take the next — and perhaps final — step in his rehab when he attempts to slide under the supervision of Nationals medical director Wiemi Douoguih. Once he gets the clearance from Douoguih, Ramos can begin to play in games as the designated hitter and progress to catching in games.

“He’s champing at the bit,” said manager Davey Johnson. “Hopefully he’ll get through that and maybe he can start taking some ABs in the game. I know he’s anxious for that. I’m not too concerned about him or (third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who will DH on Sunday) getting behind the dish or playing the field, but I am concerned about getting their at-bats and getting their timing down.”

The Nationals had been planning to work with Ramos to learn to tuck his left knee and keep his right leg straight when sliding — the opposite of the way he’s been doing it his whole life — in order to protect his surgically-repaired right knee. Johnson said he had some other advice for the catcher as well.

“Well, I tried to get word to him, when he slides, just land on his (butt),” Johnson said, chuckling. “I don’t care what leg he’s bending, if he lands on his (butt), he’s covered.”

Here are the lineups for Saturday’s game:

Nationals

Danny Espinosa DH
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Ian Desmond SS
Tyler Moore LF
Kurt Suzuki C
Chris Marrero 1B
Corey Brown RF
Anthony Rendon 3B
Eury Perez CF
— Gio Gonzalez P

Cardinals

Jon Jay CF
Oscar Taveras RF
Matt Holliday LF
Allen Craig DH
Yadier Molina C
David Freese 3B
Daniel Descalso 2B
Ty Wigginton 1B
Ronny Cedeno SS
— Adam Wainwright P 

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About the Author
Amanda Comak

Amanda Comak

Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at acomak@washingtontimes.com and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.

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