{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Span sits vs. Hamels; Harper shifts to center

Span sits vs. Hamels; Harper shifts to center

|
Span sits vs. Hamels; Harper shifts to center

PHILADELPHIA -- The Nationals' starting outfield had a different look to it Tuesday.

Newly acquired Scott Hairston got the start in left field, Bryce Harper shifted to center and Denard Span was on the bench against Cole Hamels, a left-handed starter.

Span, a left-handed batter, is hitting just .154 with just two extra-base hits and one RBI in 91 at-bats against left-handed pitching this season. The Nationals acquired Hairston to have an outfielder who could come off the bench and face lefties. Hairston will also start Wednesday against southpaw Cliff Lee, and manager Davey Johnson is happy to have more outfielders at his disposal.

"I think he'll come out of it," Johnson said of Span's slump against lefties. "But I also think it sends a message to our league that I will use Hairston in his spot. And it also causes problems for other managers when they go to their bullpen, that I might hit Hairston."

The start in center field was the first for Harper this season. He's played one game there, but shifted to center after starting the game in left field. Harper did get a lot of center-field experience under his belt last season, and Johnson did not seem to think the switch would be a problem for the 20-year-old.

"I talked to him yesterday, I said 'Harp, you think your legs are good enough to play center field?' " Johnson said. "[He said] 'Yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, I'm ready to play center.' He likes playing center field. He can run around and rumble."

Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español