VIERA, Fla. -- Manager Manny Acta said that the Nationals are looking to use the designated hitter for the first 10 games of the exhibition season.
The team wants to use outfielder Alex Escobar and shortstop Cristian Guzman in that spot. Both players are nursing right shoulder injuries, but they can swing the bat. Acta said Guzman hopes to be back at shortstop by March 7 and Escobar is not expected to take the field until after March 15.
Melvin Dorta, D'Angelo Jimenez, Tony Womack and Josh Wilson will fill in for Guzman during the first week. Escobar is competing with Ryan Church, Kory Casto and Chris Snelling for the left-field job.
The Nationals already have an agreement regarding the designated hitter with the Dodgers and Orioles. They are still trying to contact the Astros and Braves about the situation.
Get to work: Acta acknowledged on Monday that letters were sent out to a lot of players this past offseason telling them to come to Spring Training in shape to compete for jobs.
With 72 players in camp, it will be tough to evaluate people within the next 33 days.
"Times have changed. People use to come to Spring Training 10 pounds overweight and get in shape and get ready to play," Acta said. "The guys now have strength and conditioning guys. They come to Spring Training ready to play."
FYI: The Nationals' intrasquad games on Tuesday and Wednesday will start 11 a.m. ET at Space Coast Stadium. Both games will be nine innings. The team will get local umpires for the contests.
We're in this together: Acta announced that during split-squad games, he and his staff will be at Space Coast Stadium, while John Stearns, the team's Triple-A Columbus manager, and his staff will manage the team away from Viera.
"We are trying to stay together as much as possible," Acta said about his Major League coaching staff.
In the past, Frank Robinson used to have a member of the Major League coaching staff manage the Spring Training road games. Acta used to manage some of those games.
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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.