VIERA, Fla. -- Several quick-hit items to report in advance of tonight's game against the Tigers...
-- Jim Riggleman said "it's a good bet" that Craig Stammen will make the Opening Day rotation. That's not exactly shocking news; Stammen has pitched better than just about anyone in Nationals camp and hasn't allowed an earned run over his last eight innings. But it does seem to solidify the club's starting five, which as we've been predicting for a while now would be: John Lannan, Jason Marquis, Garrett Mock, Livan Hernandez and Stammen. Now, J.D. Martin does start tonight against the Tigers and could turn some heads with a lights-out performance. And Scott Olsen is scheduled to start Sunday against the Braves, and it's possible he could suddenly get it all together and put himself back in the mix. But it seems pretty unlikely either of those things is happen to happen at this point.
-- Speaking of upcoming starts, here's how the rotation is set up for the next few days ... Martin tonight vs. Tigers, Lannan tomorrow vs. Cardinals, Marquis Saturday vs. Braves in one split-squad game, Stammen vs. Mets in the other split-squad game, Olsen Sunday vs. Braves, Hernandez Monday vs. Mets.
-- Riggleman said no matter who ends up in the mix for the right field job, no one will hold that position down by himself. In other words, look for some kind of combo of Willie Harris, Mike Morse, Willy Taveras, Justin Maxwell and Roger Bernadina. Except, only three of those five are likely to make the 25-man roster. "That's the way it stands right now," Riggleman said.
-- Mike MacDougal has reported to Viera and is in uniform today. I chatted with MacDougal briefly this afternoon before getting booted out of the Nats clubhouse because a team meeting was about to commence, but I'll get more from him after BP and post his quotes for everyone to read.
-- Nyjer Morgan is back in the lineup tonight after missing more than a week with a tight hamstring.
-- Riggleman said if the season started today, he would likely not let Adam Dunn play all nine innings at first base if the Nats held a late lead. He'd be inclined to use a defensive replacement, such as Morse, Eric Bruntlett or even Adam Kennedy. However, the manager did say over the long-term, his goal is become comfortable enough with Dunn at first base that he doesn't feel the need to pull him for defense.