Depth will be a strength for Nationals

The SportsXchange

The Nationals of 2013 will look a lot like some of the powerful Oriole teams that manager Davey Johnson played on in the 1960s and 1970s. Those teams were loaded with power and depth, and the Nationals will have plenty of the latter.

One place where they'll have some real depth will be at catcher. The Nationals are going to have the good combination of Wilson Ramos and Kurt Suzuki there.

Ramos, who pushed Ivan Rodriguez out of a job, is trying to come back from a serious knee injury last May that ended his season. Johnson said Friday that Ramos will start Monday's season opener with the Marlins.

Ramos had a .333 average this spring and looked like he was well on the way back. The Nationals had thought he would be the team's No. 1 catcher for a long time, but last year's injury forced them to make the move to get Suzuki from the A's later in the season.

Suzuki is a solid defensive catcher who struggled at the plate for a while last year in Washington, but he eventually settled in. A good defensive catcher is perfect in the backup role, and that's probably what would happen to Suzuki if Ramos comes all the way back.

Johnson could start either player without problem. Suzuki's been a longtime starter, and Ramos is growing into one.

The fact that Johnson has those options makes life easier for the skipper for various reasons.

If Ramos runs into problems coming back for whatever reason, Johnson could put Suzuki in to take some pressure off. Or Johnson could use Suzuki just to catch certain pitchers.

Backup catchers often are guys who don't play much and can't be starters, but the Nationals have a different situation this season. They've got two players who could start for any team in baseball.

It just gives Johnson more cards to play in more ways this season, one where the Nationals probably already have as much talent as any team in baseball.
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