Rodriguez remains Nationals starting catcher
At 39, Ivan Rodriguez remains a starting major league
The 14-time All-Star started 102 games for the Nationals last
year, and manager Jim Riggleman said Friday that Pudge is still No.
1. That leaves Jesus Flores and Wilson Ramos to compete for time as
”He’s got a lot of baseball left,” Riggleman said. ”Whoever
wins that second spot is going to be incorporated into the lineup
more and more as we go along. Whether it’s Ramos, and or Flores,
they’re very talented guys.”
Ramos, acquired from Minnesota in the Matt Capps trade last
July, hit .269 (14-for-52) with one home run in 15 games for
Washington last season. He is seen as more of a defensive standout
with some offensive potential.
Flores appeared to be the Nationals catcher of the future just
three seasons ago. However, he has been battling shoulder injuries
for much of the past two seasons and missed all of 2010 following
surgery to repair a torn labrum.
”We’re not going to let them die on the vine. They’ve got to
get playing time,” Riggleman said. ”Whichever guy is there, if
not both of them, they’re going to get playing time and stay sharp.
And as the year goes on, they’ll probably get a little more playing
The 26-year-old Flores played winter ball, starting seven
consecutive games at one point, and said it helped him get his
”I have to (stop) thinking about all those injuries and
setbacks,” he said. ”It’s in the past. Right now, if I’m healthy,
I’m just going to keep working on the exercises I have to do to
keep my shoulder in shape.”
Riggleman doesn’t have a favorite in the competition between
Ramos and Flores.
”They both did well in winter ball,” he said. ”They’re both
healthy, both strong. Let them play here this spring and see how it
Rodriguez, a 13-time Gold Glove winner, will tutor his backup.
He’s looking forward to the mentoring role.
”We get along well. They respect me a lot. I respect them very
much,” he said. ”I’m going to talk to them a lot in spring
training because I’m the kind of player that wants other people to
NOTES: Riggleman said he would be happy if Mike Morse, Rick
Ankiel or Roger Bernadina play well enough in spring training to
claim the starting left field job. But he also is not opposed to