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Bryce Harper has good debut in Nevada

The 17-year old catching phenom Bryce Harper made his collegiate debut Friday night in Henderson, Nevada as the College of Southern Nevada beat Arizona Western 11-4. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, five members of the Nationals scouting department were on hand including Bob Boone, Roy Clark and scouting director Kris Kline. The Review-Journal reported there were 40 scouts at the game and 100 at

Nats Caravan: Danny Espinosa

I got the chance to speak with Nationals prospect shortstop Danny Espinosa as the Nats Winter Caravan rolled through Virginia. Espinosa is working hard preparing for spring training and had a very busy summer, logging 160 games between the minors and the Arizona Fall League. Danny sat down with me during the Nats stop at Hard Times Cafe in Arlington, Virginia (love the Cincinnati Chili

Nats Caravan: Drew Storen

The Winter Caravan kicked off Wednesday as the Nats greeted fans in Virginia. Nats Top 10 pick pitcher Drew Storen signed autographs and posed for photographs with fans at Hard Times café in Arlington, alongside pitcher Ryan Speier, shortstop Danny Espinosa and manager Jim Riggleman. I sat down with Storen and he talked about his upcoming first spring training with the Nats, the rookie education

Balester feels like a “totally different pitcher”

Nats pitcher Collin Balester had a nice throwing session with a pair of minor leaguers today, and tomorrow he’ll pitch with new teammate Matt Capps for the first time. In crucial news, Collin has really worked on his moustache in the offseason. It’s getting to Rollie Fingers proportions. Collin told me, “I like to twist the sides with some moustache wax. When someone looks at

NatsFest and Winter Caravan this week (updated)

The Nationals Fanfest and Winter Caravan is upon us with festivities kicking off Wednesday. The Caravan culminates Sunday with the NatsFest at Nationals Park. I spoke with Nats pitcher Craig Stammen last week and I mentioned seeing the Cincinnati Reds’ winter caravan on the local news in Dayton. Stammen says it was Jim Bowden’s idea to do the same thing with the Nationals when he

Stammen wants to start for the Nats

I checked in with Nationals pitcher Craig Stammen in Dayton, Ohio as he watched his Dayton Flyers play the George Washington Colonials in college basketball Wednesday night (Flyers won 66-51). Stammen took me on a tour of his alma mater, showing me the campus, the student housing known affectionately as “the Ghetto” and the Flyers’ baseball stadium. He also joined me at halftime to talk

Bergmann ready for the Nats to win

Nats veteran relief pitcher Jason Bergmann was one of four players to resign with the team yesterday. Bergmann received a one-year deal worth a reported $750,000. I spoke with Jason about his new contract and the future of the Nats as spring training draws closer in Viera. Jason and his family live in Viera where he has been training and getting ready for 2010. He

Ben Sheets primer

It obviously would be another great get for the Nats to sign free agent four-time All-Star right-hander Ben Sheets. He has spent his entire eight-year career with the Milwaukee Brewers and had a very impressive 13-9, 3.09 ERA in 31 starts back in 2008. He had 5 complete games that season and 3 shutouts, which was a career high. Sheets won a Gold Medal for

Randy Knorr thrilled at chance to manage Harrisburg

41-year old Randy Knorr has been around baseball all his life, appeared in the 1993 World Series while with Toronto, and brings to the table a wealth of knowledge as a player, coach and manager. Knorr was a major league catcher for the Astros, Bluejays, Rangers, Marlins and Expos. Now he has a new challenge before him with the Nationals. After coaching for the Nats

Could Ian Desmond start at 2B?

The Nationals have been linked to Orlando Hudson and even Adam Kennedy as possible answers at second base for 2010, but could it be possible the Nats begin the season with Ian Desmond as the starter at second base? Ian told me “I can play second base and did so last year (with the Nats).” He says he has been taking groundballs at short and

Nationals in 2011 and Winter Caravan Update

In my mind (that’s scary), I sometimes draw parallels between recruiting in college basketball to free agent shopping in Major League baseball. A good example of this is a collegiate team that has a great recruiting class one season of say five outstanding freshmen. The team improves and plays better that season after two miserable seasons. Then in 2011, the team only has a pair

Clippard has a clear view of success in 2010

I caught up with Nats reliever Tyler Clippard as he continues to work out in Tampa, Florida in preparation for the 2010 spring training. Clippard finished the season strong with a 4-2 record in 60 plus innings and a 2.69 ERA. He had 7 straight appearances to end the season not allowing any earned runs and only once during that stretch did he allow multiple

Could Dukes have a breakout season for Nats?

Manager Jim Riggleman is excited about the prospects in the Nats outfield this upcoming season, especially the chances of Elijah Dukes having a season to remember. I asked Jim about Dukes recently and he told me, “I think Elijah can have a big year. He did well for himself in right field (last season). He had a lot of assists and is getting to be

Nats Winter Caravan Schedule breakdown

The Nationals announced the winter caravan schedule which comes up this year January 27th through the 31st, 2010. Several big name Nats will make appearances including Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, Pudge Rodriguez and John Lannan. Several of the events are open to the public in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. including stops at Ben’s Chili Bowl, P-Nats complex in Woodbridge, a Capitals hockey game and Hard

After illness Marrero feeling confident about 2010

I had a nice talk with Nationals minor league first baseman Chris Marrero today as he gets ready for this season. Marrero was a busy man this past season with stops in Potomac, Harrisburg and Phoenix, spanning over 150 games. Chris feels better this week after getting over a bout of food poisioning (possibly from some undercooked chicken) that landed him in the hospital for

It’s official: Let’s Go Capps!

The Nationals made it official today with the announcement that closer Matt Capps has signed with the team. The 26-year-old brings impressive experience to Nats Park. With the Pirates, Capps had 67 saves, 29 holds, 3.61 ERA and a 19-19 record in five seasons. Pitching Coach Steve McCatty says Capps “wants the ball. He is a tremendous competitor. We all like him. He seems to

Next stop HOF for Big Unit

Five-time Cy Young Award winner Randy Johnson announced his retirement today. The 46-year old pitcher won his 300th game with the Giants last season and finished with 303 for his career. He is second all-time to Nolan Ryan in career strikeouts. Johnson pitched for the Expos, Mariners, Astros, Diamondbacks, Yankees and Giants in 22 seasons. Looking back on his time with the Expos, it was

Will Guzman play shortstop or second base?

With spring training a little over a month away, a lot of offseason talk on the defensive side has centered around the shortstop and second base positions. A lot of rumors had the Nats interested in Orlando Hudson last year and that talk continues now as the team prepares for the 2010 campaign. Shortstop Ian Desmond did a great job on an interim basis and

How close is Storen to the Majors?

How close is Drew Storen to the Majors? It seems to be the other most common question when people talk about Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen. Both had very good Arizona Fall League performances and both are Top 10 Nationals picks from 2009. P-Nats pitching coach Paul Menhart had the most recent look at Storen in Arizona and told me, “Drew has already had his

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