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Inbox: Lombardozzi to play in Nats' outfield?

Inbox: Lombardozzi to play in Nats' outfield?

Inbox: Lombardozzi to play in Nats' outfield?
What about trying Stephen Lombardozzi in center field and making him a leadoff man? Looking at his combined 2011 stats for Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse, Lombardozzi seems to have ability to get on base, steal bases and hit for a high batting average.
-- John F., Reston, Va.

You are one of many fans who would like to see Lombardozzi get a chance in the outfield. That is not going to happen. Most of his playing time will be around the infield. It would not surprise me if Lombardozzi was able to get 250 to 300 at-bats this year under manager Davey Johnson.

Do you think Chad Tracy has a chance to make the team?
-- Roger W., Charlotte, N.C.

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It's too early to tell. It helps, however, that he is driving in runs and hitting from the left side of the plate. Entering Sunday's action's, Tracy has four RBIs, which was tied for the team lead. Johnson said he wants more left-handed presence on the bench.

I think if the Nationals want to make a playoff push, they need to address center field. If they get off to a decent start, would they make a trade for, say, Adam Jones? I realize I'm getting ahead of myself but it sure is fun to think about it. Thoughts?
-- Jonny N., Falls Church, Va.

If Jayson Werth is playing center field, I don't think that would be an issue. However, if Rick Ankiel or Roger Bernadina are playing center, the Nationals would have to address the center-field situation. Ankiel and Bernadina have not been able to hit on a consistent basis. It would not surprise me if general manager Mike Rizzo traded for a center fielder for the long term before the season started. Let see how the exhibition season plays out.

Now that the Nationals have seven starters, who do you think is going to be in the starting rotation to start the season? Are the Nationals thinking about trading John Lannan or Ross Detwiler?
-- Arthur M., Virginia

This is just a prediction: I expect the rotation to be in this order: Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Edwin Jackson and Chien-Ming Wang. To answer your second question, I believe Lannan will be traded before Opening Day and Ross Detwiler, who is out of Minor League options, will become one of the long relievers out of the bullpen.

Have a question about the Nationals?
Bill LadsonE-mail your query to MLB.com Nationals beat reporter Bill Ladson for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
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Wouldn't Livan Hernandez have been a better choice than Tom Gorzelanny as an innings eater when the situation calls for a long reliever?
-- Dirk W., Anchorage, Alaska

With his experience, Hernandez would have been a big help out of the bullpen. But Johnson loves having left-handed pitchers like Gorzelanny out of the bullpen. The more of them the better. Don't forget that Gorzelanny is coming off a nice season as a long man. Let's not give up on him so early.

Granted, it's early in Spring Training, but if you had to guess what the Nats' starting lineup would look like in April, what would it be?
-- Lloyd P., Mitchellville, Md.

This is just a prediction going into Monday's action against the Cardinals:

Ian Desmond--SS
Danny Espinosa--2B
Ryan Zimmerman--3B
Michael Morse--IF
Adam LaRoche--1B
Jayson Werth--CF
Bryce Harper -- RF
Wilson Ramos--C

It would not surprise me if Rizzo made a trade for a center fielder.

Where do you see Craig Stammen fitting in this year, if at all? Needless to say the starting rotation is full and with Gorzelanny as the long man out of the bullpen, Stammen seems to be out of luck there also.
-- Richard H., Toronto

It's too early to tell, but Stammen has looked impressive since he was called up to the big leagues last September and deserves another chance to stay in the big leagues. If I were the manager -- and I'm not -- Stammen would be one of my top choices to be the long man.

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

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