Harris to be Opening Day starter; Bernie in outfield mix
Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said if the regular season started Sunday, Willie Harris would be the Opening Day right fielder against the Phillies.
Harris most likely would face Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay, a pitcher Harris has never faced during his career.
It would mark the second time Harris would be in the Opening Day lineup. The first time occurred on April 5, 2004, when he led off for the White Sox. He went 0-for-4 against the Royals that day.
“I’m looking forward to that Opening Day start,” said the left-handed hitting Harris said. “We are facing a tough pitcher that day. It doesn’t matter who we are facing. I’m just happy to have that opportunity.”
Just because Harris is the Opening Day right fielder, does not mean he will be play that position on a regular basis.
The club is already talking about a platoon between Harris and Justin Maxwell. If that doesn’t work, the second option is platooning Harris with Mike Morse.
Riggleman also added Sunday that Roger Bernadina is now in the mix to be a platoon player. Bernadina, a solid defensive outfielder, is 7-for-28 [.250] with an RBI this spring.
“What I think is going to happen is, whoever is swinging a hot bat is going to play. That’s how it really goes — no matter what,” Harris said. “If you are swinging a hot bat and you are doing everything right — helping the team win and bringing energy every day — you are going to play.”
Don’t rule out general manager Mike Rizzo trying to acquire a right fielder. Jermaine Dye is still a free agent. Don’t look for the Nationals to break bank to acquire his services. If Dye is too expensive, look for the Washington to make a trade for an outfielder.