- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2007

For the huge Opening Day crowd at RFK Stadium, yesterday’s game probably couldn’t have been much worse.

Aside from losing to the Florida Marlins 9-2, the Washington Nationals’ season started off on an unhealthy note with starting center fielder Nook Logan and starting shortstop Cristian Guzman leaving the game because of injuries.

The full status of both players won’t be known until today.

Logan hyperextended his left foot after he caught it in the center field wall while making a leaping catch of a line drive by Dan Uggla in the fourth inning. After Logan made the catch, he threw the ball back and started jogging before crumpling down in the center field grass. X-rays on Logan’s foot came back negative. The outfielder underwent an MRI yesterday and will be re-evaluated today.

Meanwhile, Guzman left the game with a left hamstring strain in the fifth inning while breaking out of the batter’s box on a groundout to third. Like Logan, Guzman will be re-evaluated today before a decision is made on his status.

“[The injury to] Cristian is probably right now more serious than Logan, taking in consideration that a hammy does not heal overnight,” Nationals manager Manny Acta said.

If Guzman, who missed all of last season with a torn right labrum, is placed on the 15-day disabled list, Josh Wilson will take over as the Nationals’ starting shortstop. The 26-year-old Wilson broke into the majors with the Marlins in 2005 and appeared in 11 games. He won a roster spot with the Nationals out of spring training after hitting .333 with four RBI in 26 exhibition games.

“It’s unfortunate news for Guzie. He’s our No. 1 guy out there. But on the other hand you’ve got to look at it as the opportunity to go out there and go play well,” Wilson said. “I’m certainly ready for it. I’m prepared for it. I’ve been waiting a long time for this.”

Speigner’s debut

Right-hander Levale Speigner was the first of four rookies on the Nationals’ Opening Day roster to make his major league debut yesterday.

Speigner entered the game with two outs in the fourth inning for starter John Patterson. Speigner retired the first three batters he faced but ran into a little trouble in the next two innings. He allowed just one run on three hits but walked Joe Borchard with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, extending Florida’s lead to 7-1.

Speigner threw 41 pitches, with only 19 going for strikes.

“It’s something that I can build on, but at the same time I know I have to be better,” said Speigner, who walked three batters and struck out one. “It’s good to be over. It’s good to have that one under my belt.”

Bullpen in flux

The Nationals’ bullpen is arguably the club’s greatest strength. However, Acta said the only bullpen roles clearly defined are Chad Cordero’s as the closer and Jon Rauch’s as the setup man.

“The rest of the guys have to be ready to pitch when I ask them and the rest of those spots will have to be earned,” Acta said. “None of those guys have enough of a track record for any of those other spots to be handed out to them.”

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