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Strasburg able to settle in after early homer, kept Nats in game

NEW YORK -- Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg persevered in his opening day start against the Mets, battling back following an early three-run homer by Mets left fielder Andrew Brown. That battle to stay in the game and keep his team within striking distance became critical as the Nationals rallied to defeat the Mets 9-7 in a 10-inning seesaw affair. Even though the day didn’t start

Matt Williams thrilled, relieved in first major league win

NEW YORK - Nationals skipper Matt Williams witnessed a season’s worth of twists and turns in his first major league victory as manager, a 9-7 10-inning thriller over the Mets. “Yeah, how about that?” he said. “Lots of stuff. That is good, right in the thick of it, so that was fun.” Williams leaned on his coaching staff when strategy points came up during the

Williams updates Ramos, Harper injury news, Zimmerman’s status

NEW YORK - Nationals manager Matt Williams updated the apparent hand injury suffered by catcher Wilson Ramos with somewhat promising news that preliminary X-rays at Citi Field came back negative. “He will see our hand specialist tomorrow,” Williams said of Ramos. “There was a foul tip and he took a swing he didn’t feel good on. We got him out of the game and took

Harper escapes collision, LaRoche homers (Nationals win 9-7)

NEW YORK - Bryce Harper appeared to be injured when he collided with Mets second baseman Eric Young Jr. in the second inning of Monday’s opener, but the Nationals left fielder remained in the game. Harper drew a leadoff walk and was erased at second on a fielder’s choice on Ian Desmond’s grounder to David Wright. But a sliding Harper’s head struck Young’s knee and

Williams reflects on opening day as a player and now as a manager

NEW YORK - Manager Matt Williams was the first to admit he was nervous and excited for opening day, his first as a major league manager and with the Nationals - so much so that he didn’t sleep very well Sunday night. But he did appear relaxed in his red Nationals long-sleeve sweatshirt and athletic shorts, fresh-faced after completing a morning workout. How does day

The strategy behind the Nationals’ opening day lineup

NEW YORK - Nationals manager Matt Williams put out a somewhat surprising opening day lineup, placing Wilson Ramos in the cleanup spot with Denard Span, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth at the top of the order, and Bryce Harper hitting behind Ramos in the five-hole. Williams believes Zimmerman can showcase his immense talent from the second spot in the order. “We look at our lineup

Williams, Ramos, LaRoche and Desmond on Ramos batting cleanup

NEW YORK - Nationals manager Matt Williams decided to make a big splash to begin the 2014 campaign with a surprise in his lineup. Catcher Wilson Ramos will hit in the cleanup spot on opening day today against the Mets. It is a rare start at the cleanup spot for Ramos, only the seventh of his career in the majors, which spans 238 games. But

Double-A Harrisburg announces opening day roster

The Harrisburg Senators have released their 2014 opening day roster for manager Brian Daubach. Catcher Sandy Leon starts the season at Double-A, giving Jhonatan Solano a lot more at-bats at Triple-A. This also means Steven Souza Jr. will start season at Syracuse, as well. PITCHERS Alfaro, Gabriel Bates, Colin Cole, A.J. Gilliam, Rob Grace, Matt Herron, Tyler Holland, Neil Jackson, Zach Mirowski, Richie Perry, Ryan

Cool, calm, collected Strasburg ready for opening day start

On the eve of another opening day start for the Nationals, you can see the difference in Stephen Strasburg. He appears more poised, more confident. He talks with an assuredness and calmness of a Tom Glavine or Mike Mussina. Strasburg has battled expectations, a major injury, a great season for the team when he had to be shut down, and then another season when the

Nationals set 25-man opening day roster

The Nationals set their 25-man roster for Opening Day, placing right-hander Doug Fister on the 15-day disabled list with a right lat strain, retroactive to March 23. Here is the opening day roster for the 2014 Washington Nationals: Pitchers (12) LHP Jerry Blevins LHP Ross Detwiler LHP Gio Gonzalez RHP Aaron Barrett RHP Tyler Clippard RHP Taylor Jordan RHP Tanner Roark RHP Rafael Soriano RHP

Nationals Youth Baseball Academy officially opens with ribbon cutting ceremony (with pics)

The Nationals Youth Baseball Academy celebrated its grand opening Saturday at Fort Dupont Park with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The year-round educational and athletic facility, which already has 55 students in attendance, provides quality after school and summer learning programs for boys and girls in D.C. neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. Nationals players and coaches stood behind principal owner Marla Lerner Tanenbaum during the presentation.

Williams confirms Fister placed on disabled list, sets schedule for Roark and Jordan

Manager Matt Williams confirmed right-hander Doug Fister will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right lat strain. “Doug is going to go on the DL, of course,” Williams said. “He is going to be shut down from throwing for about five days and see where he is at and start the process of getting him back. “That is the perfect plan, we

Nats and Tigers lineups from Nats Park

The Nationals and Tigers are preparing for the final exhibition game today here at Nats Park. Detroit arrives with a 15-12-2 record in spring games. The Nationals are 15-13-2. Also, the teams will work under American League batting rules, so designated hitters will be employed and the pitchers will not bat. Here are the starting lineups: For the Nationals Denard Span CF Ryan Zimmerman 3B

What’s new at Nationals Park for 2014

The Nationals provided a “What’s new at Nationals Park” media tour Thursday to show off improvements, additions and changes at the ballpark for this season. The tour included technological advancements, expanded and improved concession offerings, new concession concepts, concession stand expansions, new menu items and more. Further ballpark element changes include the new Norfolk Southern Club, which replaces the Stars & Stripes Club in sections

IronPigs announcer on Frandsen: “He plays the game hard all the time”

Steve Degler, color analyst for the Phillies’ Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs television network and sometime radio announcer for the Double-A Reading Phillies, knows new Nationals infielder Kevin Frandsen well. Degler has seen Frandsen play a lot over the last three seasons in the minors and with the Philadelphia Phillies. “He is a very versatile guy, he can play all four infield spots, probably best-suited for

Should Blake Treinen be a starter or a reliever?

Right-hander Blake Treinen gained big-time experience this spring, getting into six spring training games with the Nationals, the most work he has received in March as a pro. He finished with a 4.66 ERA in 9 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts, three walks and 15 hits allowed, and is currently listed on the Double-A Harrisburg roster. Treinen was originally drafted in 2010 by the Marlins,

Minor league updates on catchers, infielders and outfielders from Patrick Anderson

Minor league camp continues to roll along with decisions coming up very soon on final rosters of Nationals affiliates. The week of March 31-April 5 will be the timeframe that rosters will be finalized and announced. Here is a quick look at how some of the prospects are faring as camp winds down with updates courtesy of new Single-A Hagerstown manager Patrick Anderson. Last season,

Nats will take BP at newly opened Youth Baseball Academy on March 29

The Nationals have announced they will conduct batting practice for their March 29 exhibition game at Nats Park across town that morning at their new Youth Baseball Academy in Fort Dupont Park. Later that day, the Nationals and Tigers conclude their spring schedules in Washington at a 2 p.m. exhibition. The batting practice will be preceded by a ribbon-cutting ceremony involving special guests, including Nationals

Updates on Hague, Komatsu, Bowe, Meyers, Purke and Dominican players

I was able to check in with assistant general manager/vice president of player development Doug Harris on several Nationals’ prospects. I will begin with position players. * Infielder Ricky Hague returned last season after missing most of 2012 with a shoulder injury. He played in 128 games last season and compiled 437 at-bats. “He is going to play a little more third base this year,”

Hood and Perez hope increased strength pays late season dividends

Outfielder Destin Hood and shortstop Stephen Perez worked extremely hard in the offseason to prepare for this upcoming campaign and it is showing so far in spring training. The soon-to-be 24-year-old Hood is listed at 6-foot-1 and 215 lbs., and is from Mobile, Ala. He has long been considered a top-10 prospect in the organization, but last season hit .224 as he battled through injuries

Updates on young pitchers Voth, Mooneyham, Orlan and Silvestre

21-year-old Austin Voth made a nice jump last season from short-season Single-A Auburn to low Single-A Hagerstown. The right-handed starter Voth went a combined 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA in 11 games, striking out 55 batters in 46 1/3 innings. Voth is continuing to prepare for the 2014 campaign alongside 22 of his pitching teammates in the accelerated development program in Viera, Fla. Newly appointed

Goodwin gets better at his craft, sees results in quest to join Nats outfield

Nationals top outfield prospect Brian Goodwin benefited from another year of Arizona Fall League competition and did well. Goodwin hit .296 in 19 games with the Mesa Solar Sox, with four doubles, one triple, two homers, three stolen bases and 12 RBIs. The 23-year-old Goodwin believed it was another huge opportunity to get better at his craft and experiment with different strategies at the plate.

Giolito and Johansen making strides, focusing on consistency in development program

I got an update on a handful of pitchers that are continuing their work at the Nationals accelerated development program in Viera, Fla. New low Single-A Hagerstown Suns pitching coach Sam Narron, who was the pitching coach for the short-season Single-A Auburn Doubledays last season, updated the current progress of three starting pitchers he worked with: right-handers 19-year-old Lucas Giolito, 23-year-old Jake Johansen and 21-year-old

Accelerated camp attempts to emulate big league feel

Single-A Hagerstown manager Patrick Anderson told me how the Nationals’ accelerated development program is moving along, and what they are focusing on in the second week. You can read an earlier interview with Anderson here. “We have a lot of coaches with the players now, every staff is there,” Anderson said. “The Double-A and Triple-A staffs are up with the big league team. A few

Baseball Prospectus bullish on Nats’ 25-and-under talent

There have been some publications that have talked about how the Nationals system is not as strong as others, but Baseball Prospectus has come out with its rankings of the best talent in the major leagues of prospects 25 and under. The Nationals rank second behind the St. Louis Cardinals. Of course, it helps when the top of the list comes from back-to-back years when

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