- The Washington Times - Monday, February 19, 2007

Early yesterday morning, manager Manny Acta said the Nationals wouldn’t bring in any players to pressure shortstop Cristian Guzman. Less than an hour later, the club announced it signed veteran infielder Ronnie Belliard to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

General manager Jim Bowden called Belliard “protection in the middle of the diamond.” Belliard, who has played some shortstop in his eight-year major league career, was the starting second baseman on the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals last season.

“There’s no doubt that second base is his best position, and he can also play first base,” Bowden said. Bowden also called Belliard an asset that could be traded later in the year.

Belliard, who had 13 home runs and 67 RBI last season, gives the Nationals an established second baseman if Felipe Lopez has to move back to shortstop to replace Guzman, who missed all last season with a shoulder injury.

“We don’t know how Cristian is going to bounce back,” Bowden said. “If he doesn’t bounce back — which we expect him to — … we have the flexibility with Felipe to go back to short and Ronnie play second.”

TEMPERATURE CHECK

MIDDLE INFIELDERS ARRIVE (UP)

Guzman and Lopez report to camp

STIFF BREEZE (DOWN)

Cold, heavy winds cut morning workout short

RONNIE BELLIARD (UP)

New acquisition hit pretty well last season

GUZMAN’S SHOULDER (DOWN)

Club plans to take another MRI

BY THE NUMBERS

.272 Batting average for Belliard last season in 147 games with the Indians and Cardinals.

31 Doubles a year for Belliard in eight big league seasons.

OVERHEARD

“You’ve got to get along with all your teammates. If you come here and you don’t like somebody, it’s going to be hard to come to your job every day.”

— Second baseman Felipe Lopez on the importance of getting along with the other half of the double play combination

SEVEN-DAY SCHEDULE

Today: Pitchers and catchers workout, 9 a.m.; position players report to camp.

Tomorrow: Pitchers and catchers workout, 9 a.m.; position players take physicals.

Wednesday: Full-squad workout, 9 a.m.

Thursday: Full-squad workout, 9 a.m.

Friday: Full-squad workout, 9 a.m.

Saturday: Full-squad workout, 9 a.m.

Sunday: Full-squad workout, 9 a.m.

HOW TO GET TO SPACE COAST STADIUM

From Orlando/North: Take Route 528 East (Bee Line Expressway) 25 miles to I-95 South. Exit I-95 South at Fiske Boulevard (Exit 195). Proceed south on Fiske Boulevard/Stadium Parkway to the stadium. Approximate time: 45 minutes.

From Melbourne/South: Take I-95 North to Wickham Road (Exit 191) and turn left. Turn right on Lake Andrew Drive and follow to the stadium. Approximate time: 20 minutes.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Sunny, 37 degrees

Viera: Sunny, 65 degrees

Ken Wright

Want more Nats? Check out Nats Home Plate.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide