MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Nationals set 25-man roster; Uggla included

Robinson and Johnson also make big league club

Nationals set 25-man roster; Uggla included

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals' 25-man Opening Day roster is set.

The way the roster was put together didn't come as a surprise. Infielder/outfielder Clint Robinson, second baseman Dan Uggla and outfielder Reed Johnson were placed on the 25-man roster. Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman are the back bone of the team.

Johnson, who joined the Nationals last week, is expected to come off the bench. Robinson and Uggla were long shots to make the team, but they were productive in Spring Training. Robinson will come off the bench and be Zimmerman's back up at first base, and he will also play some games in the corner outfield spots.

Uggla will most likely be the starting second baseman while Yunel Escobar makes the switch to third base with regular third baseman Anthony Rendon out due to a knee injury. While many thought he was done as a player, Uggla went 12-for-46 [.261] with two home runs and six RBIs in Grapefruit League play. It helps he can see the ball much better after fixing his vision problems. Uggla suffered from oculomotor dysfunction, an eye-tracking problem that was inhibiting his ability to focus on one object.

"It's a lot better, a lot more confident. Just to be able to see the ball all the way," Uggla said on Saturday. "Now the swing feels good. My body feels good. I just feel good. I came in confident. You're a little nervous to see how it's going to play out [when] you get to a game situation just because you want all that work you did in the offseason, especially like this kind of work that I did with my eyes, you want it all to pay off.

"You want to be back to your old self, if you want to say that. I felt exactly that and more. It's a good feeling to go through it and be where I'm at right now. It's been a long process and tough for the last couple of years."

Rendon, who is dealing with a sprained MCL in his left knee, will join pitchers Erik Davis and Casey Janssen and outfielders Jayson Werth, Nate McLouth and Denard Span on the on the 15-day disabled list.

Of the players on the DL, Werth [right shoulder] could be back first. He is already playing in Minor League games and it's possible he'll return by the time the Nationals play the Red Sox starting April 13 at Fenway Park.

Span, who had surgery to repair his rectus abdominis muscle, is swinging the bat and could be back sometime in May. Davis is already throwing on the mound and could be playing Minor League games by the All-Star break.

Janssen and McLouth are dealing with shoulder injuries. There's no timetable as to when they will return. The same could be said about Rendon.

"It's an injury that is kind of a week-to-week-type injury. When he is feeling better, he can ramp up his baseball activities," manager Matt Williams said. "But it does react differently, but we have to see. The good news is, the [doctor] didn't see anything further than what they originally saw."

Right-hander Max Scherzer is scheduled to pitch the opener against the Mets on Monday at 4:05 p.m. ET at Nationals Park.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.