Spring is here! But more importantly: Da Meat Hook is here! Let's celebrate today's first full-squad workout with another edition of the Nationals.com mailbag. As usual, real fans email their questions to Nationals beat writer Bill Ladson at MLB.com. We copy and paste the questions over here. Then the unfunny stuff happens. This week is probably our weakest effort yet.
As always, keep those e-mails coming to Nationals.com, and we'll keep copying and pasting them over here and giving our half-assed answers. Thanks a bunch.
If Nick Johnson doesn't return until June, who will be the starting first baseman -- Larry Broadway, Travis Lee, Tony Batista or Dmitri Young?
--Kevin W., Chicago
DA MEAT HOOK!
What are your thoughts on Young and Tony Batista? Do you think they could make the team? I thought the Nats were looking for young players instead of veterans.
-- Alex C., Montreal
DA MEAT HOOK!
I'm worried about Johnson. He, not Alfonso Soriano, was the Nationals' best hitter last year. They need him in the lineup. Is his injury career-ending?
-- Steve W., Ellicott City, Md.
Have no fear: We got DA MEAT HOOK!
Why don't you mention catcher Brandon Harper as being a potential bench player? It seems to me that his .293 batting average and good, solid defense should at least earn him a look.
-- K. Dowell, Washington D.C.
Ok, how's this: Brandon Harper is a potential bench player. Feel better?
I have been following the Nationals since they were the Expos and I have never seen a situation where the team is looking for four starting pitchers. You are lucky if you can find one from your prospects or second-tier free agents, but four? Based on this, what are the odds that they find four reliable starters? -- Emmanuel, Montreal
Emmanuel, I'm going to let you in on a little secret, as long as you promise to keep it to yourself. A strange thing has happened the last couple of days. This little thought keeps creeping into my head and I can't seem to shake, no matter how ridiculous it sounds. Here it is: "The rotation will sort itself out. They're not gonna be that bad." Or maybe it's just the booze talking.
Whatever happened to right-hander Clint Everts?
-- Dave F., Seaford, Del.
I don't know, tell you the truth. You might want to check with Bill on that one.
(Photo by Evan Vucci/AP)