The Nationals are sniffing around for center fielders

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The Nationals must have finally realized they are starting Rick Ankiel in center field on most nights, because Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com writes that they are currently searching for an upgrade.

Nyjer Morgan wore out his welcome in Washington, so it was hard to blame them for trading him to the Brewers before the start of the season, but they’ve been stuck with a less than inspiring platoon of Ankiel and Jerry Hairston Jr. until this point.

Ankiel is batting just .211 (12-for-57) to begin the season and isn’t an above average defender to begin with while Hairston is batting.154, albiet in just 26 at-bats. Rosenthal writes that club officials are mixed on Roger Bernadina, who is currently playing with Triple-A Syracuse.

Rosenthal doesn’t give us much as far as any current targets, writing that the Nationals could be “linked to any and all available center fielders,” but he does bring up B.J. Upton, who is from the same area of Virgina as Ryan Zimmerman. Of course, the Rays won’t likely entertain the possibility of trading Upton unless (or until) they fall out of contention.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

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Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.

Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.

Raisel Iglesias injured elbow and hips falling in the shower

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Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias hasn’t appeared in a Grapefruit League game since March 14 and now we know why. He injured his right elbow and both hips falling in the shower three weeks ago, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. He has had anti-inflammatory shots applied in both areas and he’ll be be shut down from pitching for a few more days.

Iglesias might not be ready for Opening Day, according to manager Bryan Price. Iglesias, however, thinks otherwise. He said, “I’m going to be OK. I’m probably going to throw one bullpen, and after that, mentally and physically, I’ll be ready to join the season and compete.”

Price said throughout the offseason that he intended to pick his closer according to the matchups rather than naming one official closer. As a result, this injury likely doesn’t change much except that Michael Lorenzen, Drew Storen, and Tony Cingrani may get a few more early season save chances if Iglesias doesn’t start the season on time.

Iglesias, 27, finished last season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings across five starts and 32 relief appearances.