- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 28, 2007

PITCHERS

Luis Ayala

Bats/throws: R/R

Age: 29

Key stat: Stranded 70 percent of inherited baserunners in ‘05.

The skinny: Premier setup man will open season on DL still recovering from elbow surgery.

JASON BERGMANN

Bats/throws: R/R

Age: 25

Key stat: Went 0-2 with a 6.68 ERA in 29 games (six starts).

The skinny: Pitched well this spring, could be the club’s long man and spot starter.

CHRIS BOOKER

Bats/throws: R/R

Age: 30

Key stat: Tossed scoreless baseball in eight of 10 appearances last September.

The skinny: Possesses a power arm and a forkball that is his KO pitch.

MICAH BOWIE

Bats/throws: L/L

Age: 32

Key stat: Posted 1.37 ERA in 15 appearances out of the bullpen.

The skinny: You can never have too many lefties coming out of the bullpen.

MATT CHICO

Bats/throws: L/L

Age: 23

Key stat: Struck out seven and walked just two in his first three spring games.

The skinny: Perhaps the biggest surprise of camp. Rookie wins job in rotation.

CHAD CORDERO

Bats/throws: R/R

Age: 25

Key stat: Needs just nine saves for career No. 100.

The skinny: Expect another good season from the club’s closer.

SHAWN HILL

Bats/throws: R/R

Age: 25

Key stat: Recorded a quality start in four of six assignments last season.

The skinny: An outstanding spring makes Hill the No. 2 guy in club’s rotation.

RAY KING

Bats/throws: L/L

Age: 33

Key stat: Went 1-4 with 4.43 ERA in 67 appearances last year with Colorado.

The skinny: Veteran left-handed specialist bolsters bullpen.

JOHN PATTERSON

Bats/throws: R/R

Age: 29

Key stat: Missed 130 games last season with a pair of DL stints.

The skinny: Opening Day starter looks to be sound after arm surgery last season.

JON RAUCH

Bats/throws: R/R

Age: 28

Key stat: Tied for second in MLB last season with 85 appearances.

The skinny: Has found his niche as a reliever coming out of the bullpen.

SAUL RIVERA

Bats/throws: S/R

Age: 29

Key stat: Retired 30 of 54 (56 percent) first batters he faced last season.

The skinny: Last season’s surprise has been quiet this spring.

JASON SIMONTACCHI

Bats/throws: R/R

Age: 33

Key stat: Posted a 5.28 ERA with no decisions in 13 relief appearances in 2004.

The skinny: Won a spot in rotation this spring after sitting out all of last season.

LEVALE SPEIGNER

Bats/throws: R/R

Age: 26

Key stat: Didn’t allow a run in his first three spring outings.

The skinny: Rule 5 pick may be the club’s new long man out of the bullpen.

RYAN WAGNER

Bats/throws: R/R

Age: 24

Key stat: Went 3-3 with 4.70 ERA last season out of the bullpen.

The skinny: Earned raves in spring training. Pitches have great movement.

JEROME WILLIAMS

Bats/throws: R/R

Age: 25

Key stat: Is 23-24 with 4.03 ERA spanning four big-league seasons.

The skinny: Late spring push secures Williams a job in the rotation.

CATCHERS

JESUS FLORES

Bats/throws: R/R

Age: 22

Key stat: Hit .266 with 32 2Bs, 21 HRs and 70 RBI last year in Class A.

The skinny: Rule 5 acquisition from Mets. The club’s new backup catcher.

BRIAN SCHNEIDER

Bats/throws: L/R

Age: 30

Key stat: Drove in a career-high 55 runs last season.

The skinny: Is being counted upon to be one of the clubhouse leaders.

INFIELDERS

RONNIE BELLIARD

Bats/throws: R/R

Age: 31

Key stat: Hit a combined .272 with 30 doubles, 13 home runs and 67 RBI.

The skinny: If Guzman doesn’t work out at short, Belliard enters at second and Lopez moves to short.

ROBERT FICK

Bats/throws: L/R

Age: 33

Key stat: Batted .266 with 2 HRs and 9 RBI off the bench last season.

The skinny: Fick’s versatility and left-handed bat off the bench make him valuable.

CRISTIAN GUZMAN

Bats/throws: S/R

Age: 29

Key stat: Hit just .219 in 2005, the lowest among MLB shortstops.

The skinny: Guzman couldn’t hit .219 again even if he tried.

NICK JOHNSON

Bats/throws: L/L

Age: 28

Key stat: Career numbers last season: .290 BA, 46 2Bs, 23 HRs, 77 RBI, 110 walks.

The skinny: Fractured leg will keep one of NL’s top producers on the DL until around the All-Star break.

FELIPE LOPEZ

Bats/throws: S/R

Age: 26

Key stat: Posted career-best .358 OBP thanks in part to career-high 81 walks.

The skinny: Converted to second, now that Guzman is back.

JOSH WILSON

Bats/throws: R/R

Age: 26

Key stat: Batted .307 with 10 home runs and 45 RBI last season at Class AAA.

The skinny: Had a great spring at the plate, but only has 11 games of big-league experience.

DMITRI YOUNG

Bats/throws: S/R

Age: 33

Key stat: A career .289 hitter with 154 home runs and 599 RBI.

The skinny: With Johnson out, club looking for a power-hitting first baseman.

RYAN ZIMMERMAN

Bats/throws: R/R

Age: 22

Key stat: Led all MLB rookies last season with 110 RBI.

The skinny: The face of the franchise for at least the next 10 years.

OUTFIELDERS

RYAN CHURCH

Bats/throws: L/L

Age: 28

Key stat: Hit .305 after the All-Star break last season.

The skinny:If he doesn’t hit, there are plenty of outfielders ready to step in.

KORY CASTO

Bats/throws: L/R

Age: 25

Key stat: Batted .272 with 20 home runs and 80 RBI last season at Class AA Harrisburg.

The skinny: Made Opening Day roster because of injury to Nook Logan.

AUSTIN KEARNS

Bats/throws: R/R

Age: 26

Key stat: Homered in three consecutive games last season.

The skinny: With Soriano gone, Kearns is the top power hitter among the outfielders.

NOOK LOGAN

Bats/throws: S/R

Age: 27

Key stat: In just 27 games, hit .300 (27-for-90) last season.

The skinny: May be one of baseball’s best defensive players. The No. 8 hitter in the order.

CHRIS SNELLING

Bats/throws: L/L

Age: 25

Key stat: Hit .300 or better in his first seven seasons in minors.

The skinny: Acquired in Jose Vidro deal, has impressed with his bat.

MANAGER/COACHES

MANNY ACTA

The skinny: Begins his first season as skipper, replacing Frank Robinson. Expectations for Acta’s squad aren’t high while the club rebuilds. Scoring runs shouldn’t be a problem; the main question is how the starting pitching will hold up. If they can keep runs off the scoreboard, the Nationals should be in good shape.

Many prognosticators project the Nats to lose more than 100 games this season. Acta is going to do everything in his power to make sure the doomsday predictions are wrong.

COACHES

Randy St. Claire, pitching coach

Mitchell Page, hitting coach

Pat Corrales, bench coach

Jerry Morales, first base coach

Tim Tolman, third base coach

Rick Aponte, bullpen coach

Ken Wright

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