Lombardozzi gets start in left field in opener

Lombardozzi gets start in left field in opener

ATLANTA -- With the right-hander Tim Hudson on the mound on Friday, outfielder Roger Bernadina found himself on the bench and Steve Lombardozzi, who usually plays in the infield, received the start in left field against the Braves.

Lombardozzi will be platooning in left with Xavier Nady until Michael Morse is activated from the disabled list. Manager Davey Johnson said Bernadina has been hot and cold, and the skipper is looking for more consistency at the plate. Bernadina was hitting .224 with two home runs and nine RBIs entering Friday's action.

Johnson denied that Bernadina's days with the team are numbered. The manager is simply going with the hot hand with Lombardozzi, who was hitting .317 with five RBIs and a .385 on-base percentage entering Friday's action.

"[Lombardozzi] is playing very well. His natural position is second base," Johnson said. "I have a guy at second base who needs to get right, and he is starting to get right, in Danny Espinosa. Lombo's on-base percentage is real good, so he is an ideal leadoff hitter for me. He can set the table for the middle of my lineup."

Many in the front office believe Bernadina's ceiling is as a fourth outfielder in the Majors, and the club hasn't had any serious discussions with teams interested in trading for him.