Johnson looking at versatile veteran Nady

Johnson looking at versatile veteran Nady

Johnson looking at versatile veteran Nady
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Before Wednesday's game against the Mets, Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he had a surprise, and that was putting Xavier Nady in the starting lineup. Nady hit seventh, played first base and went 1-for-3 in a 3-2 victory over the Mets.

Nady was placed in the lineup because Mark DeRosa had a cramp in his calf on Tuesday against the Cardinals. Nady is also helped by the fact that outfielder Michael Morse and first baseman Adam LaRoche have been out most of the spring because of injuries.

"Obviously, it's unfortunate. I've been on the other side of the spectrum -- being hurt and not knowing a lot of uncertainties, timetables," Nady said. "My goal is just to be ready whenever the situation calls for me. We'll go from there -- whether it's first, outfield. A lot of things could happen. I'll stay ready and contribute when my name is called."

The news of Nady being in big league camp comes several days after general manager Mike Rizzo said that Nady would not play in a Major League exhibition game. Nady signed with the club two weeks ago.

Rizzo said Nady was expected to start the season with Triple-A Syracuse, but it looks like Nady will get a chance to make the Opening Day roster. Nady is competing against Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, Jason Michaels and Brett Carroll for outfield spots on the bench.

"I don't know if he is ready, but he came into camp in good shape," Johnson said. "He plays outfield and first. Last I checked, I had some guys on injured reserved there. So why not look at him? This is the time that you look at every conceivable option that you can dream of. I'm going to look at it, whether it's an immediate solution or down-the-road solutions. That's my job."

Nady can play the corner outfield positions and first and third base. When healthy, Nady can be a productive hitter. His last productive season was in 2008, when he hit a combined .305 with 25 home runs and 97 RBIs.

In two out of the next three years, Nady had serious injuries. In 2009, he had Tommy John surgery, and he fractured his left hand last season after getting hit by a pitch.

"It has been a grind to get healthy. I'm just thankful [that I am healthy], and I'll just go from there," Nady said.

If he doesn't make the team out of Spring Training, Nady said he will accept the assignment to Syracuse.

"Obviously, I was sitting at home," Nady said. "You have to make a decision. The longer I was sitting there, I understood what was going to happen. Finally being healthy and being able to go out and do stuff. It's nice to be able to go out there and play again without things bothering me. That's the most important part."