The Washington Times - February 24, 2009, 09:49AM

Let’s take a break this morning from speculating about Jim Bowden’s fate and examining the Nats’ reputation around the entire game and from burying Odalis Perez once and for all. (Though if you click on any of those links, you can read all about each.)

Let’s instead talk a little baseball. Yes, believe it or not, that’s still what spring training ultimately is about. The Grapefruit League opens tomorrow, and the Nats make their exhibition debut against the Astros in Kissimmee.


Now, for those who don’t know exactly how this works, teams rarely bring all their top regulars on the road during spring training. Those guys usually just play the home games. There are league rules that require a team to bring, I believe, at least four legit major-leaguers with them on the road. So the Nats’ traveling crew tomorrow isn’t exactly a true indication of this team’s real starting lineup. But let’s look at who is going to be there…

CATCHERS: Jesus Flores, Javier Valentin, Gustavo Molina

INFIELDERS: Ronnie Belliard, Jose Castillo, Alberto Gonzalez, Kory Casto, Alex Cintron, Brad Eldred, Joel Guzman, Chris Marrero, Pete Orr, Matt Whitney

OUTFIELDERS: Lastings Milledge, Austin Kearns, Willie Harris, Wily Mo Pena, Ryan Langerhans, Roger Bernadina, Justin Maxwell, Jorge Padilla

PITCHERS (in order of scheduled appearance): John Lannan, Shairon Martis, Garrett Mock, Gary Glover, Steven Shell, Mike Hinckley. Lannan, Martis and Mock will all go two innings, with the other guys going one inning apiece.

In other, injury-related news, Dmitri Young won’t be on the field this morning for workouts. He bruised his left ring finger on Sunday after getting hit by a pitch. X-rays came back negative yesterday, but he’s still having trouble gripping the bat. So he’s staying back and doing only cardio workouts today.

Also, Ian Desmond is back from his doctor’s visit in Baltimore. Suffering from a stress fracture in the hamate bone of his left hand, Desmond won’t need surgery. He said things aren’t perfect, but he’s not in pain and he’s cleared to continue working out.