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Nationals finalize 25-man roster

Nationals finalize 25-man roster

WASHINGTON -- Two days before their home opener Monday against Phillies, the Nationals finalized their 25-man roster.

Washington decided to carry four starting pitchers and eight relievers. Even though the team announced that right-hander Livan Hernandez is one of its five starters, he will not be activated until April 11, when he faces the Mets at Citi Field.

With the Nationals having room to carry extra relievers, it means that left-hander Jesse English and right-hander Tyler Walker have made the club. English, who has never pitched above Double-A, had a respectable 3.52 ERA with 10 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings this spring.

English joins Sean Burnett as the two lefties out of the bullpen. The Nationals added English as the second lefty in case Phillies left-handed power hitters such as Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez are at the plate with runners in scoring position in the late innings.

"He has done well," manager Jim Riggleman said of English. "He has thrown a lot of strikes, he has gotten his breaking ball over and he is going to get an opportunity."

Walker got off to a slow start, giving up 11 runs in his first 1 2/3 innings, but in his last seven appearances, he gave up two runs in 6 2/3 innings and struck six batters.

"He just got steadily better," Riggleman said. "He has really thrown the ball well as of late. He made the ballclub."

Just because English and Walker are on the roster now does not necessarily mean they will be there a week from Sunday. A reliever most likely will have to go once Hernandez is activated.

"There are a couple of spots that are going to be vulnerable when we add the fifth starter. So that will be another tough call," Riggleman said. "A lot of guys are making the club right now, but we can't carry eight relievers when we get to the 11th of April.

Here are the pitchers the Nats are carrying to start the season:

RHP Miguel Batista
RHP Jason Bergmann
RHP Brian Bruney
LHP Sean Burnett
RHP Matt Capps
RHP Tyler Clippard
English
LHP John Lannan
RHP Jason Marquis
RHP Garrett Mock
RHP Craig Stammen
Walker

Washington will carry 13 position players Opening Day. Of the 13, Willy Taveras was the only player who came into camp without a Major League contract. Now, he will platoon with Willie Harris in right field.

Here are the position players the Nationals are carrying to start the season:

Catchers
Wil Nieves
Ivan Rodriguez

Infielders
Ian Desmond
Adam Dunn
Alberto Gonzalez
Cristian Guzman
Adam Kennedy
Mike Morse
Ryan Zimmerman

Outfielders
Harris
Nyjer Morgan
Taveras
Josh Willingham

Here's the Nationals' Opening Day lineup against the Phillies on Monday:

1. Morgan -- center field
2. Harris -- right field
3. Zimmerman -- third base
4. Dunn -- first base
5. Willingham -- left field
6. Kennedy -- second base
7. Rodriguez -- catcher
8. Desmond - shortstop
9. Lannan -- pitcher

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["spring_training" ] }
{"content":["spring_training" ] }