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Mock and Wilkie look to make positive impressions

Right-hander Garrett Mock is looking to rebound from neck surgery that derailed his 2010 season. Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty said Mock has worked hard to get healthy and is ready to just put it on the field “Garrett and I have talked so much the last four years,” McCatty said. “All I tell him is, ‘Just sit back and let your ability speak for

Offseason program paying dividends for Nats’ Detwiler

Lefthander Ross Detwiler continues to show good mechanics and renewed core strength following offseason rehabilitation from the hip injury that nagged him last season. The only bump in the first 10 days at spring camp in Viera, Fla., has been a slight head cold and sore throat that left him tired Thursday. But Detwiler will return to throwing live batting practice today. “Everything is feeling

So what about Detwiler and Maya?

A lot of talk has centered around John Lannan, Jason Marquis, Livan Hernandez, Tom Gorzelanny and Jordan Zimmermann as the potential five starters for the Nationals when the season gets going past the off-days early in April. Making it interesting, though, is the potential of Ross Detwiler and Yunesky Maya. Detwiler is returning from a nagging hip injury, and Maya is learning on the job

Kimball ready to make big impression in Viera

Nationals pitcher Cole Kimball has settled in nicely in his first big league camp and is ready to go for today’s initial full team workout. Kimball pitched well over last summer and then saved the championship game of the Arizona Fall League. That experience helped him for this week and he is thrilled to be in Viera, Fla., now. “This is awesome for me,” Kimball

Are Desmond, Espinosa long-term answers in the middle?

Manager Jim Riggleman has talked about it before. Build solid defense up the middle and your pitching staff will look a whole lot better. The Nationals already have a Gold Glove third baseman in Ryan Zimmerman. This year they added a quality glove at first base in Adam LaRoche. Now, they hope the pairing of two young, energetic infielders at shortstop and second base will

Want to see Bryce Harper’s first game? Visit Rome

It is never too early to plan ahead if you are hoping to catch a glimpse (or a game) of No. 1 prospect Bryce Harper in the Nationals system this season. Many Nationals fans are hoping to see Harper in Woodbridge, Va., which is just minutes from the Capital Beltway, if he is promoted quickly to Single-A Potomac. Most believe Harper’s first taste of minor

McCatty: “No doubt” bullpen can be as good as last year

All you have to do is get to the sixth or seventh inning. That is what successful pitching staffs can do and that separates them from the have nots. Imagine if that was all the starters had to do: just go six or seven. With the Nationals bullpen a position of strength last season, general manager Mike Rizzo hopes the pieces he has added to

Viera only first step in Harper’s big opening season

The next couple of weeks will be a dream come true for Bryce Harper. The No. 1 prospect catcher-turned-outfielder takes the next important step to realizing that dream of playing baseball in the major leagues. That next step begins in Viera, Fla. Similar to what he did last year at fall instructional league and in the Arizona Fall League, Harper will be learning from experienced

Nats’ Balester again throwing downhill with confidence

What a difference a year has made for Nationals right-hander Collin Balester. Heading into spring training 2010, Balester was a starter with 22 games under his belt, but not much consistency - and a tendency for giving up some big runs. After working hard in the minors to redefine his role and regain confidence on the mound, Balester made a nice transition to the bullpen.

Big season for Zimmermann sets Nats up nicely for 2012

Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann expects big things from himself this season after missing most of 2010 rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery. There was that moment last year that had him - and the Nationals - hopeful. On the mound in Single-A Frederick, the opposing pitcher was laboring in sizzling, summer heat and drawing out each inning. Then Zimmermann, pitching for Potomac, took to the hill

Riggleman, McCatty agree: “strongest” rotation since their arrival

Nationals pitchers and catchers report Tuesday in Viera, Fla., with the most talented group since the team moved to Washington. That might not be saying much considering the struggles the team has had, but you still have to be impressed with the work general manager Mike Rizzo has done to assemble two dozen pitchers that will compete for a chance at the 25-man for opening

Cubs scribe: Gorzelanny “wants to start” for Nats

Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, acquired from the Chicago Cubs in a January trade, will be making his first appearance in a Nationals uniform at spring training in Viera, Fla., early next week. The Nationals look like a good fit for the big southpaw, who moves from a crowded rotation to a staff in need of consistency in its starting five.   Carrie Muskat, who covers the

McCatty’s friendly bet with Strasburg

Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg continues making excellent progress in his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery at the end of last season. Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post last month about how Strasburg is getting in such good shape that he has six-pack abdominal muscles. McCatty said at first he didn’t believe it, so he decided to set up a

Norris positioned well for spring training invite

Catching prospect Derek Norris is primed to begin spring training with the Nationals in Viera, Fla., next week. He will arrive at the facility a few days prior to the mandatory Feb. 15 report date. Last week, Norris was one of seven players invited to join the Nationals spring training workouts at Space Coast stadium. “It is always good to get invited to spring training

LeCroy ready to get started in Potomac

The Single-A Potomac Nationals have a new manager in Matt LeCroy to defend their Mills Cup championship in 2011. The former major leaguer guided the Single-A Hagerstown Suns last season and is excited to head to Woodbridge with a few of the players that made a difference at his previous stop along for the ride. “We had a good year last year,” LeCroy said. “Guys

GW’s Wilkie thrilled to snag invite to Viera

The Nationals extended invitations to spring training to another batch of players Friday and right-hander Josh Wilkie from George Washington University was among them. Wilkie notched nine holds and eight saves with a 2.45 ERA and .228 batting average against in 53 games, including one start, last season for the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs. In five minor league seasons, the 26-year-old has 28 holds, 31 saves

New coach Mark Harris ready to help teach P-Nats how to hit

The Single-A Potomac Nationals are a likely destination of No. 1 overall draft pick Bryce Harper sometime this summer. Director of player development Doug Harris anticipates Harper will begin the season in Single-A Hagerstown. Judging by his impressive taxi squad performance for the Arizona Fall League champion Scottsdale Scorpions, Harper will be smacking extra base hits in Woodbridge, Va., pretty early in the season and

Maxwell “grateful” to Nats, “excited” to join Yankees

Former Nationals outfielder and University of Maryland star Justin Maxwell has been traded to the New York Yankees and is thrilled to be able to continue his dream of playing major league baseball. But Maxwell also will miss his former teammates and coaches. Maxwell found out about the deal only a few minutes before we talked and battled a bad cell connection when he was

Tyler Moore should begin 2011 in Harrisburg

Carolina League Player of the Year Tyler Moore is likely to begin the season in Double-A Harrisburg after smashing several records for the Mills Cup champion Potomac Nationals last year, according to Washington Nationals director of player development Doug Harris. “He had a phenomenal year, I have never seen anything like it in 22 years. He was hitting .199 at the halfway mark and ended

Nats’ Harris: “There is a plan for Bryce Harper”

With spring training just two weeks away, future prospects in the Nationals’ system are getting ready to showcase their talents for the team’s top brass in Florida. Nationals director of player development Doug Harris attended the Potomac Nationals Hot Stove Banquet on Sunday night in Springfield, Va., and shared some insight as to who might be with the big club as the team heads back

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