Pudge to be in reserve role for rest of season

Pudge to be in reserve role for rest of season

WASHINGTON -- It appears unlikely that Ivan Rodriguez will start another game behind the plate this season.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said that he plans to start Wilson Ramos at catcher, with Jesus Flores serving as the backup.

Johnson reiterated that Rodriguez has nothing to prove to the Nationals, and he needs to play his young catchers.

"He is ready to catch," Johnson said about Rodriguez. "He is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He can still play. I have two guys that need to play more than he does for the reasons that are beneficial to the club.

"One, Ramos is the No. 1 catcher. He needs all the experience he can get. Two, Flo is coming back from two years on the shelf. He can regain his shape. That's very important. That's more important than Pudge getting in a game. I know [Rodriguez] wants to play and is ready to play. I explained that to him once."

Rodriguez, who is a free agent after the season, said he would like to play four more years in the big leagues. He is 158 hits from 3,000.