Who's left in Nationals camp this spring?

Who's left in Nationals camp this spring?
March 19, 2013, 6:00 am
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Yesterday's round of cuts at Nationals camp brought the roster of players still in the big-league clubhouse down to a mere 33 with two weeks to go until Opening Day.

Davey Johnson said he plans to start using all his regulars now that they've hit the home stretch of spring training, and he wasn't kidding. With so few reserves around anymore, he has no choice but to play the starters.

We've outlined throughout camp how the Opening Day roster really has been set all along, with injuries or a true surprise the only developments capable of throwing a wrench into those plans. But there is still some mystery what will happen to the eight players who are still in big-league camp but are all but certain not to head north with the club next week.

So with the Nationals getting their third and final day off of the spring, let's take this opportunity to refresh everyone's memory. Here are the 33 players still in big-league camp, with some speculation about what might happen to the eight unfortunate souls who won't still be standing come Opening Day...

LHP Fernando Abad
RHP Jeremy Accardo
RHP Tyler Clippard
LHP Ross Detwiler
LHP Zach Duke
RHP Christian Garcia
LHP Gio Gonzalez
RHP Dan Haren
RHP Cole Kimball
RHP Ryan Mattheus
RHP Henry Rodriguez
RHP Rafael Soriano
RHP Craig Stammen
RHP Drew Storen
RHP Stephen Strasburg
RHP Chris Young
RHP Jordan Zimmermann

The Nationals will open the season with a 12-man staff, so that means five of these guys will be on the outside looking in. Christian Garcia was hoping to make a push for a spot on the team, but he's going to open the year on the disabled list with a forearm strain. Cole Kimball looks like he's all the way back from shoulder surgery, but the Nats would like him to get more seasoning at Class AAA Syracuse before bringing him up again. Fernando Abad and Jeremy Accardo, as non-roster invitees, seem headed for Syracuse as well. The biggest question mark of the group remains Chris Young, who has the ability to opt-out of his contract on Sunday. The Nats would love for him to report to Class AAA and wait to be called upon if a starter gets hurt, but at this point you've got to assume somebody else out there will have a big-league job for him.

C Carlos Maldonado
C Wilson Ramos
C Kurt Suzuki

No real shocker here: Ramos and Suzuki will make the team, and Maldonado will open another season in Syracuse alongside Jhonatan Solano. The Nats did have veteran Chris Snyder in camp just in case Ramos didn't look ready to return from his torn ACL. But with Ramos in great shape, they gave Snyder his unconditional release yesterday, and the Angels immediately scooped him up.

SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
1B Adam LaRoche
IF Steve Lombardozzi
IF Carlos Rivero
IF Chad Tracy
3B Ryan Zimmerman

Six of these infielders will make the Opening Day roster, and the obvious odd man out will be Rivero. Because he's out of options, the utilityman will have to clear waivers before he can be sent to Syracuse. It's probably a 50-50 proposition whether he clears and remains in the organization.

OF Roger Bernadina
OF Bryce Harper
OF Tyler Moore
OF Micah Owings
OF Denard Span
OF Jayson Werth

The only member from this group who isn't expected to make the club is Owings, who has turned plenty of heads nonetheless in his first spring as a full-time position player. Fully committed to honing his craft both at the plate and in the field (both in left field and at first base), the former pitcher should accept his assignment to Syracuse and keep plugging away, hoping he can prove he's worth a call-up if the Nats need another bat off the bench.