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Johnson close to finalizing Nats' 25-man roster

Johnson close to finalizing Nats' 25-man roster

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Johnson close to finalizing Nats' 25-man roster
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Nationals have their position players figured out, now it's a matter of finalizing their pitchers.

Brett Carroll, Steve Lombardozzi, Xavier Nady and Chad Tracy have all made the team, manager Davey Johnson said Monday. Still up in the air is the final shape of Washington's bullpen.

Center fielder Rick Ankiel (left quad) and utility player Michael Morse (right lat) will both start the season on the disabled list. So too will pitchers Drew Storen (right elbow) and Chien-Ming Wang (left hamstring).

Morse and Ankiel will rehab with Double-A Harrisburg and ideally will be healthy enough to return April 12, the date of the Nats' home opener against the Reds.

"The game plan is with Michael Morse and Ankiel is to start them on the DL, and they'll work out with us, get treatment through [Tuesday], the next day work out, start getting some at-bats," Johnson said. "I'm hopeful that ... one or both will be fairly close or ready when we come home."

During their rehab stints in Harrisburg, Morse and Ankiel will alternate between starting in the field and serving as the designated hitter.

Johnson said he was able to tell Carroll, Lombardozzi, Nady and Tracy that they made the team before Monday's 4-2 loss to the Red Sox, but he hadn't gotten around to everyone because of a long bus ride. Lombardozzi's talk came after an eighth-inning double.

"I told Lombo good thing he hit that double, because that was the deciding point," Johnson said. "He can count [how many players are on the roster]. I think he pretty much can figure it out."

Chad Durbin, Ryan Mattheus and Craig Stammen remain in competition to land bullpen jobs. Durbin allowed a run on two hits and struck out two in an inning of work Monday.

"Well, I pretty much think I've got a good idea [of what pitchers will make the team]," Johnson said.

Major League rosters must be set by 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The position player situation should not change by Thursday's opener against the Cubs in Chicago barring injury. Center fielder Roger Bernadina was pulled during the first inning from Monday's game because of a right knee bruise, but Johnson said he plans to play Bernadina Tuesday and was leaning toward starting him Opening Day as well.

"We're set [with the bench] and we'll see how we make out tomorrow with the pitching," Johnson said. "Hold your breath."

Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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