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2011 Nationals Spring Training: Rick Ankiel To Be Starting Center Fielder, According To Report

The lone position battle in the Nationals' 2011 Spring Training was in center field, with Rick Ankiel, Nyjer Morgan and Roger Bernadina vying for the position. It appears the Nationals have now made a decision, and it's to give the job to Ankiel, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

The Nationals will continue to evaluate Rick Ankiel, Nyjer Morgan and Roger Bernadina for their final six spring training games, but they have already reached a near-final decision to make Ankiel their regular center fielder, according to multiple baseball people outside the organization familiar with the team's thinking.    

Ankiel has hit poorly this spring, but he is a more consistent fielder, and the team is hoping he can regain his hitting form. Morgan has not been particularly impressive this spring, though he has come on a bit after an extremely slow start.

The question now shifts to Morgan's future. The Nationals have repeatedly expressed their belief in Morgan after he had a difficult year personally and statistically last season, but this is certainly a sign that they don't believe in him like before. The team could keep him as a reserve, send him to the minors or try to trade him. Either way, it does look like the team is moving on from him as a regular piece.