Bixler, Lombardozzi in Nationals' lineup

Bixler, Lombardozzi in Nationals' lineup

NEW YORK -- Manager Davey Johnson decided to sit his regular middle infielders -- shortstop Ian Desmond and second baseman Danny Espinosa -- on Monday because they have not been successful against Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey during their careers.

Desmond is 2-for-15 (.133), while Espinosa is hitless in 11 at-bats against the knuckleballer. Johnson started Brian Bixler at short, while Steve Lombardozzi saw action at second.

Johnson already said Lombardozzi would receive starts at second and short since the team is looking for a top-of-the-order hitter and hoping that Lombardozzi can solve that problem.

Bixler, on the other hand, is a different story. Johnson wanted Bixler to know that he didn't forget that he was a middle infielder. Since Johnson became the manager in late June, Bixler has seen most of his action as a defensive replacement in the outfield.

"I still want Bixler to think like a middle infielder, not a defensive replacement in the outfield or a fourth outfielder," Johnson said. "I have confidence for him to go out there [at shortstop]."