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Nationals interested in Jerry Hairston Jr. as replacement for Willie Harris

Jan 14, 2011, 1:17 PM EDT

Image (1) hairston%20scores.jpg for post 3384

Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the Nationals will not be re-signing Willie Harris, who spent the past three seasons in Washington, and are interesting in signing Jerry Hairston Jr. as his utility man replacement.

Harris and Hairston are pretty similar, with Hairston perhaps bringing a bit more defensive value to the table, and Ladson notes that the Nationals could view him as a fallback option at second base should rookie Danny Espinosa falter.

Along those same lines, Ladson speculates that the Nationals could have renewed interest in David Eckstein after failing to follow up on some talks with the veteran infielder early in the offseason. Eckstein, like Hairston, would serve as an experienced backup behind the young middle infield duo of Espinosa and Ian Desmond.

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