Desmond earns Nationals' starting shortstop gig

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desmond infield.JPGUPDATE: Guzman took the decision in stride and told Ladson that he is “willing to do anything the Nats ask of him.”  He will not demand a trade.

SATURDAY, 10:41pm: MLB.com’s Bill Ladson passes along some refreshing news out of Nationals camp.  According to team sources, 24-year-old prospect Ian Desmond has captured the club’s Opening Day shortstop gig from Cristian Guzman.

Desmond, a third-round pick in 2007, has moved swiftly through the Nats’ farm system.  He posted a .330/.401/.477 batting line last season with seven homers, 32 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 394 plate appearances between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse.

We’re sure to see some rough patches from Desmond, who hasn’t appeared in more than 25 major league games, but manager Jim Riggleman has been praising the youngster all spring and obviously has faith that he will adjust to full-time big league life with little effort.  Guzman will probably be relegated to a utility infield role, or perhaps Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo will attempt a trade.  The 32-year-old hit an ugly .284/.306/.390 last season with six home runs and 52 RBI in 531 at-bats.  He’s been dealing with a balky shoulder for most of spring training.

Mike Trout, Willson Contreras homer, A.L. leads 2-1 after three

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Aaron Judge did it first, Mike Trout did it next.

The best player in baseball — who spent the bottom of the second mic’d-up and talking to Joe Buck and John Smoltz about the weather and stuff — came to bat second in the top of the third inning, facing Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom. deGrom is used to pitching with no run support at this point so it’s not like he was uncomfortable I imagine, but you can only get so comfortable when Mike Trout is in the box. Trout took deGrom downtown. Or at the very least to left field to make it 2-0, American League.

The National League took that run right back in the bottom of the third. With the Rays’ Blake Snell in the game, Willson Contreras of the Cubs led off and he wasted no time, depositing Snell’s first pitch just over the railing in left to make it 2-1, American League.