WASHINGTON -- Eight Nationals -- Rick Ankiel, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Adam LaRoche, Mike Morse, Wilson Ramos, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman -- have a chance to be voted into the National League All-Star team, thanks to their inclusion on the official online ballot. In-stadium voting at Nationals Park starts May 1 and ends June 20th.
LaRoche is one person is off to a fast start. Entering Thursday action, LaRoche is hitting .314 with two home runs and 14 RBIs. He is looking to make his first All-Star appearance.
"If five guys [on the team] made the All-Star team, we are probably in good position as a team and we are playing some really good baseball," LaRoche said.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via your mobile device -- using the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, June 28, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
The All-Star Game is slated for July 10 at Kauffmann Stadium in Kansas City.
Moore to see action in left field
WASHINGTON -- Nationals first baseman Tyler Moore is off to a good start for Triple-A Syracuse, hitting .296 with five home runs and 14 RBIs entering Thursday's action.
Starting this week, Moore will split time between left field and first base. Outfield coordinator Tony Tarasco is currently teaching Moore the fundamentals of playing the outfield.
This is not the first time Moore has played the outfield. Last fall, he played left field in the instructional league. Moore then went to Houston later in the offseason to get a few pointers about the outfield from third-base coach Bo Porter.
"He is going to play a few games out there," Rizzo said. "It would give him a little more versatility. He is a good, potent right-handed bat we see helping us up here in the future. We are going to give him as much versatility as we can."
Asked if he could see Moore playing left field if Michael Morse is unable to come back from his torn right lat [back] injury, Rizzo said, "That's too many ifs for me. We feel Morse is going to come back. All along, we felt Moore has the capability of playing in the big leagues and impacting a team in the big leagues."
Morse has been shut down for six weeks because of the lat injury. The team is hoping that rest can fix the problem. If rest doesn't work, Morse could go under the knife and possibly be out for the year.
In the last two years, Moore has hit a combined 60 home runs and 201 RBIs for Class A Potomac and Double A Harrisburg.
Nationals not worried about Harper
WASHINGTON -- Triple-A Syracuse outfielder Bryce Harper is off to his usual slow start. Entering Thursday's action, Harper is 13-for-57 (.232) with an RBI, but Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said he is not concerned about Harper's slow start and felt he needed to make adjustments to Triple-A pitching.
"It's a different kind of pitching than he's ever had in the Minor Leagues," Rizzo said. "You have some hard-throwing prospects and you also have your veteran Triple-A, 4-A type of pitchers that could really pitch and command their stuff. They are not the blazing fastballs, but they try to get you out in some way. Harper has a good approach and he is hitting the ball very hard. He'll make his adjustment. I'm not too concerned about it."
Harper is playing center field and the corner spots and running the bases well, according to Rizzo.
A day after it was announced that catcher Ivan Rodriguez was retiring as a player, Nats general manager Mike Rizzo said he doesn't have any openings for Rodriguez as a coach.
"He would be a welcome addition to any organization, including ours," Rizzo said. "I love the guy. He was my first major free agent I ever signed as a GM. His jersey is up in my office. So he means a lot to me."
Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth left Thursday's 11-4 loss to the Astros in the seventh inning because of a minor hip injury. Werth is expected to be back in the lineup on Friday against the Marlins.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson gave shortstop Ian Desmond a mental break on Thursday. Steve Lombardozzi received the start at shortstop and went 2-for-5 with a run scored. Lombardozzi is now 8-for-17 (.471) with three RBIs this season.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.