MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Taylor, Werth capable leadoff men

Baker has options atop lineup if Revere needs day off

Taylor, Werth capable leadoff men

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Nationals manager Dusty Baker indicated Sunday that if Ben Revere gets a day off, Michael Taylor or Jayson Werth could slide into the leadoff spot.

Baker said Taylor could give the Nationals power at the top of the lineup. While he is having a great spring hitting near the bottom of the order, Taylor has yet to prove he can be a solid leadoff hitter. Last year, for example, Taylor went 28-for-139 (.201), with four home runs, 16 RBIs and a .229 on-base percentage.

"Michael gives us a Bobby Bonds at the top. I mean, [it could be] 1-0 in the first inning," Baker said. "The objective is to score, and our objective is to try and score first as often as we can early in the game."

Bonds, who played 14 years in the Majors with eight clubs, belted 177 homers and notched 469 RBIs in 915 career games in the leadoff spot.

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Werth has proven to be a valuable leadoff hitter for the Nationals. He was their primary leadoff man in the 2012, the year they won the National League East. When the Nats had a tough time scoring runs last season, Werth did a great job at the top spot, hitting .318 with a .388 on-base percentage.

Baker said he hasn't ruled out trying Daniel Murphy, Matt den Dekker and Chris Heisey at the top spot.

"We have a few candidates that could possibly be leadoff men," Baker said. "It depends on who's pitching. It depends on what I need that day. I've been experimenting with different leadoff men."

Worth noting

• Left-hander Gio Gonzalez has returned from paternity leave and will pitch against the Astros on Monday. Gonzalez's fiance had a baby boy last week, and they named him Enzo Louis Gonzalez.

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.