VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals' lefty relievers have struggled during the exhibition season, allowing 14 runs in 20 innings.
In Monday's 7-2 loss to the Braves, for example, left-hander Zach Duke allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning, while Fernando Abad allowed an RBI single to Blake Dewitt.
Late last year, the Nationals had productive left-handers in Tom Gorzelanny, Sean Burnett and Mike Gonzalez, who were all on the postseason roster. But Gorzelanny was non-tendered while Burnett and Gonzalez became free agents.
However, manager Davey Johnson is not worried about not having enough lefties in the bullpen. As of now, Duke is slated to be the only lefty in Washington's bullpen.
"We have guys who are good against both [righty and lefty hitters]," Johnson said. "I'm not really that concerned about it." Johnson said. "We lost three of them last year that were pretty instrumental [in helping the Nationals win the National League East title]. But we have [Rafael] Soriano. He is good either way. We have plenty of late-inning relief."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less