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Ankiel frontrunner for Nats' center-field job

Ankiel frontrunner for Nats' center-field job

Ankiel frontrunner for Nats' center-field job
VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals announced recently that center field is up for grabs. But if the season were to start Friday, Rick Ankiel would be the Opening Day center fielder.

The competition in center field is between Ankiel, Roger Bernadina and Nyjer Morgan. One baseball person has Ankiel winning the job, followed by Bernadina and Morgan.

The Nationals love Ankiel's defense in center and are willing to accept the strikeouts he brings as a hitter. Ankiel is hitting .216 with three home runs and nine RBIs this spring.

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If he is the Opening Day center fielder, Ankiel will platoon with Jerry Hairston Jr. Ankiel is 77-for-332 [.232] against left-handed pitching and will not see much action against southpaws.

2010 Spring Training - null
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As for Morgan and Bernadina, if they continue to lose ground, they could be optioned to Triple-A Syracuse. Morgan is hitting .205 with a .326 on-base percentage. Bernadina got off to a fast start, but is now hitting .275. with a .326 on-base percentage.
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