- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 27, 2007

LAKELAND, Fla. — Had the Washington Nationals put together a depth chart of their starting pitching candidates when spring training began, Jason Bergmann would have found himself well down the list.

Bergmann, though, managed to outlast nearly every other pitcher in the running for a job and now finds himself the leading candidate to start the Nationals’ fifth game of the season.

The right-handed starter/reliever isn’t complaining about the lack of attention he has received over the last six weeks.

“I don’t care if I was overlooked or not,” he said. “I’m still here. If it’s in the cards that I stay here, that’s great. I don’t care if I start, relieve, whatever. I just want to be a major league pitcher.”

Bergmann made his final case for a job yesterday with five solid innings against the Detroit Tigers. Roughed up for a pair of runs in the top of the first, he bounced back to keep the Tigers from scoring again over his last four innings.

“He did a great job of doing some damage control in that first inning, kept his composure,” manager Manny Acta said. “He’s got good stuff. It’s just a matter of commanding his pitches and doing what he did today in certain situations.”

Bernadina debuts

Minor league center fielder Rogearvin Bernadina made his first major league start and went 1-for-3. The 22-year-old speedster, who has never played above Class A, was given a look to see how he handled the situation and emerged fine.

Still, it’s unlikely the Nationals will give serious consideration to Bernadina for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Promotion schedule

The Nationals will give out bobbleheads of all four “Racing Presidents” during select games this summer, according to the team’s promotional schedule released yesterday.

Other promotional giveaways include a red “W” hat to the first 40,000 fans on Opening Day, a 2007 schedule magnet to the first 35,000 fans April 4 and a cooler to all fans 21 and older May 11. Fans can also receive a visor, mesh cap, team poster and baseball cards on certain days during the year.

Extra bases

Second baseman Felipe Lopez was a late scratch with a strained neck. Lopez said he slept awkwardly the night before. “Those pillows at the hotel are really thick,” he said, adding that he expects to be back playing today. …

The Nationals traded minor league catcher Danny Ardoin to the Astros for minor league infielder Wade Robinson. Robinson, 26, hit .269 in four seasons with the Houston organization, including .329 in 27 games at Class AAA Round Rock last year. …

Washington purchased minor league infielder Matt Rogelstad from the Mariners. Rogelstad, 24, hit .280 in four seasons with the Seattle organization. …

Right-handers Tim Redding and Jermaine Van Buren, outfielder Michael Restovich and infielder Bernie Castro all accepted their assignments to Class AAA Columbus. All were taken off the Nationals’ 40-man roster in the last week.

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