However, Soriano played the entire game in left field on Monday
afternoon and he looked like he was getting the hang of the
In the third inning, switch-hitter Jose Reyes hit a line drive to Soriano,
who made the catch and prevented a run from scoring. In the next inning,
David Wright hit a lazy fly ball down the left-field line that Soriano ran under and caught up to. During Spring Training, Soriano sometimes let those sort of fly
balls drop in for base hits.
Soriano, however did make a couple of mistakes with the glove. In the fourth
inning, Xavier Nady doubled down the left-field line. Soriano slowly charged
for the ball, which allowed Cliff Floyd, not one of the fastest runners in
baseball, to score all the way from first base.
Soriano thought the ball was going to bounce back to him, but the ball
stayed near the corner of the wall.
In the sixth, Soriano was playing too deep and allowed a routine fly ball
hit by Nady drop in for a base hit.
"We don't have a veteran outfielder out there. Judge the individual that is
out there. Don't judge him against everybody," Robinson said.
Overall, Soriano thought he looked good in left field against the Mets.
"I looked great today. I hope I continue to play like [Monday]," Soriano
Asked how he turned his game around in left field, Soriano said, "In Spring
Training, sometimes you act a little lazy, but you put everything behind you
[during the regular season], and you have concentration in the game and play
Here's the deal: Ryan Drese will start against the Astros on April 9,
replacing Pedro Astacio, who was put on the disabled list on Saturday because
of a right flexor strain.
Robinson indicated that Drese would have made the rotation had he not
started the season on the DL. Drese had shoulder surgery in September, and
Washington purposely started him off slowly. Drese didn't start throwing in
a game until March 24.
"He's a good option for us right now in that situation," Robinson said.
On Monday, Drese pitched five innings and threw 70 pitches, and he then threw 10 more
in a bullpen session.
"He said he felt good," pitching coach Randy St. Claire said.
John Rauch was not considered an option to replace Astacio, because the
skipper feels Rauch is best suited as the long man out of the bullpen.
"I like Rauch the way he is. I don't want to be moving him back and forth
unless it's completely necessary," Robinson said. "I want him to settle into
his role in the bullpen. If he's the best option during the course of the
year, we'll [put him in the rotation]."
Catcher-infielder Robert Fick rejoined the Nationals after spending a week in California with his ailing mother. Fick, who is on the disabled list, said that his surgically repaired right elbow is feeling better. In fact, he hit off a batting tee for the first time on Monday. Fick was already throwing the baseball before he went to California.
Fick is hoping that he is activated by the time the Nationals play their home opener against the Mets on April 11.
"By the time we leave New York, I'm hoping I could leave and play in Minor League games," Fick said. "I'm getting my work in. Let's see what happens."
Shortstop Cristian Guzman, on the disabled list because of a tear in his right shoulder, is traveling with the team. Guzman is still trying to avoid surgery, but the shoulder is feeling tight, according to Guzman.
Around the horn: Jose Vidro made his seventh consecutive Opening Day start. ... Ryan Zimmerman is the franchise's 10th Opening Day starter at third base since Tim Wallach left the organization after the 1991 season. ... Robinson holds the record for Opening Day home runs with eight. ... Chad Cordero is 8-for-8 in save opportunities against the Mets. ... Robinson needs six wins for 1,000 victories as a Major League manager.
Did you know? Monday's starters Livan Hernandez and Tom Glavine have both been World Series Most Valuable Players. Glavine won the award with the Braves in 1995, while Hernandez won the MVP two years later with the Marlins.
Coming up: The Nationals will have the day off on Tuesday and then return to Shea Stadium on Wednesday night to play the Mets in the second game of a three-game series.
John Patterson will get the start for Washington, facing the Mets for the 12th time in his career. He is 1-2 with a 4.92 ERA against them. Paterson had a great Spring Training. He developed a changeup and plans to use it only against left-handed hitters.