Entries Listing

Strasburg ready for Wrigley

VIERA, Fla. - Asked following his final spring training start whether he feels he’s ready for opening day, Stephen Strasburg didn’t hesitate. “Absolutely,” he said. “I’m ready to get out of Florida, that’s for sure.” That makes two of us. Strasburg - who was eased back a bit today by manager Davey Johnson - didn’t have his best stuff today in his last Grapefruit League

Ankiel could open season on DL

VIERA, Fla. - There’s a chance two-thirds of the Nationals’ projected starting outfield is on the disabled list come opening day. Manager Davey Johnson said following today’s 6-2 loss to the Cardinals that center fielder Rick Ankiel might open the season on the disabled list because of a lingering quad injury which has kept him out of action for the bulk of spring. Ankiel, who

Strasburg’s spring training is complete (Nats lose 6-2)

VIERA, Fla. - After a stellar outing last time out, Stephen Strasburg’s final tune-up for the regular season didn’t go quite as smoothly. Strasburg went four innings today against the Cardinals, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out three and was pulled after throwing 67 pitches in his four frames of work. Manager Davey Johnson had said he wanted Strasburg

Adjusted Nats lineup plus pregame notes

VIERA, Fla. - Well, today marks the final game of spring at Space Coast Stadium. Someone get me a tissue. This might get emotional. Roger Bernadina was scheduled to be starting in center field and hitting seventh today, but he hasn’t made it back to Viera yet after flying home to Curacao for his father’s funeral. As a result, Corey Brown will fill in for

Reason for Espinosa’s struggles: He can’t see the ball

VIERA, Fla. - Twenty-three strikeouts in 63 spring at-bats - that’s cause for concern. Nine strikeouts in his most recent 16 at-bats - that’s cause for concern. So why isn’t Danny Espinosa concerned when he’s the owner of the above statistics? Because the Nationals second baseman feels that once the regular season starts, or more specifically, once he gets away from Space Coast Stadium, he’s

Wrapping up the Nats’ 3-2 win over Miami

VIERA, Fla. - For the record, I’m still not used to typing the “Miami” Marlins. It’s still weird to me. That is all. As reporters were down in the clubhouse postgame, we overheard a quote from Ian Desmond talking with Johnny Holliday and Ray Knight on MASN’s “Nats Xtra.” Desmond was discussing his first-pitch home run hit off Marlins righty Josh Johnson leading off the

A late Strasburg replacement, Detwiler doesn’t disappoint

VIERA, Fla. - Back in July 2010, Stephen Strasburg was scratched from a start just minutes before first pitch because of shoulder tightness, forcing Miguel Batista to the mound. That turn of events didn’t please the tens of thousands of fans who had come out to Nationals Park not to see Batista, but the flame-throwing rookie phenom whom he replaced. As Ross Detwiler started going

Espinosa in the midst of quite a funk (Nats beat Marlins 3-2)

VIERA, Fla. - Good thing it’s still spring. Otherwise, it’d be time to start getting a little worried. Danny Espinosa has struck out in both of his at-bats against Marlins starter Josh Johnson tonight, going down swinging each time. The Nationals second baseman and No. 2 hitter now has 22 strikeouts in 62 spring at-bats, and if that wasn’t bad enough, he’s gone down on

Chien-Ming Wang continues to make strides in rehab

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals continue to be pleased with Chien-Ming Wang’s progress as the righty works back from a left hamstring injury. Wang threw from 300 feet yesterday and “looked great,” according to manager Davey Johnson. As a result, the Nats skipper has decided to bring Wang north with the club when camp breaks. “He looked great throwing the ball,” Johnson said. “So I

Nats don’t expect to make any roster additions, plus Rizzo notes

VIERA, Fla. - Major league teams will scour the free agent market and waiver wire over this next week, checking to see if players cut by other teams are worthy of adding to their own roster. The Nationals will obviously be among the teams monitoring the transaction wire leading up to opening day, but according to general manager Mike Rizzo, they don’t plan on bringing

Ankiel added to 40-man roster, but will he be ready opening day?

VIERA, Fla. - In the least surprising move of camp, the Nationals have added center fielder Rick Ankiel to their 40-man roster. Ankiel, signed to a minor league deal this offseason, is set to be the Nats’ opening day center fielder, if healthy. “He had a nice year for us last year,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “He’s a terrific teammate to have around and

Livan Hernandez is back in the NL East

VIERA, Fla. - We might be seeing a lot of Livan Hernandez this year. The 37-year-old righty, who appeared certain to make the Astros’ rotation entering spring, was released by Houston today, and then within a couple hours, Hernandez had signed with the Braves. CBSsports.com first reported Hernandez’s signing with the Nationals’ division rival. Hernandez allowed 10 earned runs in 16 Grapefruit League innings for

Carroll talks life on the roster bubble

VIERA, Fla. - After a stretch where they went winless in a span of 11 Grapefruit League games, the Nationals have now won five of their last six following yesterday’s split-squad sweep. It’s too bad the results mean just as little now as they did during the losing streak. The Nats will host the Marlins at 6:05 p.m. tonight, and you can catch the battle

Nats get second win of the day, beating Tigers 5-3

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals completed a split-squad sweep today by picking up a 5-3 win over the Tigers tonight. I wasn’t in Lakeland for tonight’s game - the timing just didn’t work out with the afternoon schedule in Viera being what it was - but the Nats fans who were there were treated to a strong performance by the three position players who are

Jackson takes a big step in the right direction

VIERA, Fla. - Not many pitches that left Edwin Jackson’s right hand this afternoon were struck well by Braves hitters. One of them was. And it went a very long way. With nobody out in the top of the fifth, Jackson threw a 2-2 fastball to Braves center fielder Jason Heyward. The pitch caught a little too much of the plate and Heyward absolutely crushed

Things looking good for Carroll, Nady

VIERA, Fla. - Here’s what Davey Johnson had to say about his bench players following today’s win over the Braves: “It’s no secret I like the way (Brett) Carroll fits. He’s a little better fit for what we’re trying to do. (Xavier) Nady is a nice fit, too. (Mark) DeRosa’s a nice fit.” It might not be official that Carroll and Nady will make the

LaRoche feels ready for opening day, DeRosa unconcerned about calf injury

VIERA, Fla. - The day that one Nationals first baseman returned to the lineup after a two-week injury absence, another Nationals first baseman was scratched from the lineup because of injury. That’s the way things have gone in Viera lately. Luckily for the Nats, the injury news today was mostly positive, as Adam LaRoche made it through today’s game - his first since March 15

Nats sign Zach Duke to minor league deal, option Perry, release Michaels

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals beat the Braves 6-3 today, but the game notes will have to get pushed aside for a few minutes with news of a few roster moves. The Nats have signed left-handed pitcher Zach Duke to a minor league contract. Duke was released by the Astros earlier this week. Duke, 28, has a career record of 48-74 with an ERA of

A big base knock for Carroll (Nationals win 6-3)

VIERA, Fla. - A six-run sixth inning has given the Nationals a 6-1 lead over the Braves and has Edwin Jackson in line for his second win of spring. Ah, the old meaningless Grapefruit League statistics. The numbers are almost always insignificant in spring, but every now and then, they prove to be important. Such was the case in that sixth inning, when Brett Carroll

Jackson locked in through five innings

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals’ M.A.S.H. unit currently trails the Braves 1-0 here entering in the sixth inning Edwin Jackson has been fantastic so far, allowing just two hits and a walk, retiring 10 hitters in a row at one point. Braves center fielder Jason Heyward rudely snapped that streak leading off the fifth inning, however, demolishing a pitch over the batter’s eye in center

DeRosa scratched from Nats’ lineup

VIERA, Fla. - Just what the Nationals needed - another corner infielder/corner outfielder going down injured. Mark DeRosa, who was scheduled to start in left field today, has been scratched from the Nats’ lineup. The Nationals did not give a reason for DeRosa being scratched, but we do know the veteran has been battling calf cramps recently, and didn’t make yesterday’s trip to Port St.

Some rotation shuffling and notes on DL-bound Nats

VIERA, Fla. - Manager Davey Johnson has made some tweaks to his starting rotation for the next few days. Ross Detwiler has been moved up and will start tomorrow’s game against the Marlins, while Stephen Strasburg will be bumped back a day, and will now start Saturday’s game against the Cardinals. This means John Lannan’s turn in the rotation will be skipped, but Johnson says

Nats reassign Michaels, Blanco, option Severino (updated)

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals made three cuts this morning, reassigning outfielder Jason Michaels and infielder Andres Blanco to minor league camp and optioning left-handed pitcher Atahualpa Severino to Triple-A Syracuse. Michaels and Blanco both have opt-outs in their contracts, meaning that they can decline the demotion to Triple-A and can look around for a big league job elsewhere. The cuts leave the Nats with

Nats lineup for today’s home split-squad game

VIERA, Fla. - Well, today’s the day. Adam LaRoche finally returns to the Nationals lineup for the home half of today’s split-squad games. LaRoche will join the rest of the Nats’ veterans in taking on the Braves after missing the last couple weeks with a bone bruise in his left foot. LaRoche will play first base today and will hit sixth. Xavier Nady is in

Final notes and quotes after the Nats’ 3-2 win

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Henry Rodriguez is making opposing hitters look silly this spring. The hard-throwing righty was absolutely filthy during his 1-2-3 ninth inning against the Mets this afternoon, giving him his second save of spring training and keeping his scoreless Grapefruit League campaign alive. How ridiculous was Rodriguez’s stuff today? He caused a couple Nationals players watching his performance on a clubhouse

Nats taking a good look at Nady

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Not only is Xavier Nady not going anywhere for the next couple days, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the guy who was without an organization 11 days ago is introduced with the Nationals come opening day at Wrigley Field. After Nady went 1-for-3 today in his first major league spring training game with the Nationals, manager Davey Johnson said

Give Zimmermann “best outing of spring” honors

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - If they handed out superlatives at the end of Nationals spring training like they do at the end of, say, high school, “Best Start” would without question go to Jordan Zimmermann. The righty threw six scoreless innings against the Mets in today’s 3-2 win, allowing just two hits with no walks and striking out two. He faced only one hitter

Quick positive updates on Morse, LaRoche

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Before I pass along notes and quotes on Jordan Zimmermann’s outing and Ian Desmond’s 4-for-4 day, here are some postgame updates on Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche. How many injury entries can I write on those two guys over a month-long span? I’m not sure. I’m trying to set an unbreakable record. I told you earlier today that Morse was

Zimmermann overpowers Mets, Werth goes yard (Nationals win 3-2)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Apparently Jerry Seinfeld is here at Digital Domain Park today, watching his Mets take on the Nationals. Think the bosses at MASN will care if I just wander the stands for the rest of the afternoon hoping to bump into Seinfeld? Keep my plan on the down-low, please. Jordan Zimmermann has just walked off the mound after dominating the Mets,

Johnson on starting Nady at first: “Why not look at him?”

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - So why is Davey Johnson starting Xavier Nady - a guy who was out of a job a week and a half ago and is signed to a straight minor league contract -at first base today? Reason No. 1: With Adam LaRoche (left foot), Mark DeRosa (calf cramps) and Michael Morse (lat) injured, he needs to fill the corner infield

Storen DL-bound, Morse likely headed that way, as well

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - This doesn’t come as much surprise, given where Drew Storen is in his rehab from elbow inflammation, but manager Davey Johnson said in today’s pregame session with reporters that Storen will begin the season on the disabled list. Johnson is hopeful that Storen will be able to return sometime in mid-April, but admitted that he’s taking an optimistic view on

Didn’t see this coming: Nady to start at first base today

VIERA, Fla. - Davey Johnson said yesterday that today’s lineup against the Mets would contain a surprise. It sure does. Xavier Nady will start at first base for the Nationals today. General manager Mike Rizzo had said just days ago that Nady, who was signed to a minor league deal last Sunday, would not play in a major league game this spring. But there’s the

Looks like Lidge is back in peak form

VIERA, Fla. - Stan Kasten was once an NBA general manager. Now the former president of the Nationals is back in baseball, only with an NBA Hall of Famer by his side. Kasten and Magic Johnson are part of a group which agreed to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion late last night. The purchase will get Kasten back into the major leagues,

Mid-game adjustments help Gonzalez finish strong

JUPITER, Fla. - In his last start, both Gio Gonzalez and manager Davey Johnson felt that the lefty might have been working through a dead-arm period, which can happen toward the end of spring. Today, Gonzalez might have actually had too much life in his arm early on. Johnson said he thought Gonzalez was a bit too “frisky” in the first inning today, causing the

An Ankiel update plus more postgame notes

JUPITER, Fla. - Rick Ankiel has been getting a ton of treatment on his injured quad lately. Perhaps as a result of all the deep massages and medical work, Ankiel’s quad tightened up on him a little bit during today’s 3-1 loss to the Marlins. Not wanting to take any chances with the guy who is set to be his opening day center fielder, manager

Gonzalez battles back after slow start (Nats lose to Marlins 3-1)

JUPITER, Fla. - Gio Gonzalez’s first inning of work wasn’t too pretty. He allowed three hits, a walk and three earned runs, needing 28 pitches to get three outs. From there, the Nationals lefty appeared to get stronger each time he trotted out to the mound. Gonzalez didn’t allow a run over his final four innings of work, and retired seven of the last eight

Ankiel leaves game in fifth

JUPITER, Fla. - The Nationals’ projected opening day center fielder might not be over his lingering quad issues just yet. Rick Ankiel left today’s game against the Marlins after four innings, walking into the Nats’ clubhouse with a trainer. We have no way of knowing what - if anything - was bothering Ankiel, but we do know he’s battled a quad injury of late. Ankiel

Pregame notes on Lombardozzi, Morse, LaRoche

JUPITER, Fla. - If you’re around a TV tonight at 10 p.m., you might want to flip on MLB Network, as they’ll be featuring the Nationals as part of their 30 clubs/30 days series. Mitch Williams and the MLB Network crew were in Viera the last two days filming interviews with manager Davey Johnson and a number of key players, and if my blog just

Nationals lineup vs. Marlins

JUPITER, Fla. - Steve Lombardozzi is back in left field today as the Nationals take on the Marlins. Davey Johnson is really giving Lombardozzi - a lifelong infielder - a good look in left field the last couple weeks. Rick Ankiel is back in the lineup after getting the last two days off. He’s in center field, hitting third. Here’s the Nats’ lineup today: SS

A camp filled with minimal roster drama

VIERA, Fla. - We know how John Lannan reacted to being named the Nationals’ fifth starter. How did Ross Detwiler respond to the news he’d officially be getting his work out of the Nats’ bullpen to start the season? He carefully answered questions yesterday with a slight smile on his face, but said he’ll need some time to adjust to being used in relief. “I’m

Unaffected by outside “noise,” Lannan looks sharp

VIERA, Fla. - When Davey Johnson officially slotted John Lannan into his starting rotation earlier today, he probably had outings like this afternoon’s on his mind. When Lannan is good, when he’s spotting his fastball and getting good movement on his offspeed stuff down in the zone, he’s pretty darned good. And Lannan was pretty darned good today, as he went five strong innings this

Bernadina breaks out, Rodriguez finishes it off

VIERA, Fla. - Break up the Nationals, they’ve now won two in a row. Might as well start planning that championship parade now. John Lannan led the way this afternoon in the Nats’ 7-4 win over the Astros, throwing five innings of two-run ball (more on him in a bit), but Roger Bernadina provided the biggest offensive blow, crushing a Kevin Chapman pitch deep over

Lannan cruising right along (Nats win 7-4)

VIERA, Fla. - Just a couple hours after Davey Johnson anointed John Lannan his fifth starter, the lefty showed that he might be close to being regular season-ready. Lannan retired 13 of the first 14 batters he faced today, striking out three Astros hitters in his first four innings of work. He allowed a solo home run to Houston third baseman Chris Johnson in the

Lannan officially named Nats’ fifth starter, plus a Wang update

VIERA, Fla. - If it wasn’t already clear that John Lannan was lined up to be the Nationals’ fifth starter with Chien-Ming Wang injured, it’s clear now. As clear as can be. “John’s my guy,” manager Davey Johnson said today. There you have it. Wang appeared to be a lock for the final spot in the Nats’ rotation when he came back healthy this spring

Talking LaRoche’s injury and a possible first base platoon

VIERA, Fla. - Apparently, Jayson Werth’s monster home run yesterday really did make a crash landing on his truck. Werth told reporters this morning that several witnesses saw the baseball nail the truck and that there was a “smoldering crater in the hood”. The Nationals right fielder might have taken some liberties with that story, but regardless, yesterday’s blast was hit far enough to clear

Guest bloggers to return for 2012 season

It’s been an offseason of change, both for the Nationals and our coverage here at MASNsports.com. For the team itself, there’s a slew of new faces in both the lineup and rotation, bringing along with them optimism that the Nationals can crack the postseason for the first time since moving to our nation’s capital. On our Web site, that very team poised to make a

For what it’s worth, Werth feels like he’s coming around

VIERA, Fla. - His teammates have noticed a change. “He’s been a different guy,” Ryan Zimmerman said. His manager is seeing definite improvements. “That’s the hardest ball I’ve seen him hit since he’s been here and I’ve been here,” Davey Johnson said yesterday. Heck, even Jayson Werth himself is willing to acknowledge that he’s in a better place this spring training than he was last

After another strong start, Strasburg “ready to go” for opener

VIERA, Fla. - Throwing into a stiff cross-wind on a warm afternoon at Space Coast Stadium, Stephen Strasburg didn’t have his best stuff. He allowed seven base runners in five frames, and needed to work out of jams with runners in scoring position in the first, third and fourth innings. But Strasburg made it through his five innings of work without allowing a run, and

Nats’ bats do some damage - literally

VIERA, Fla. - Jayson Werth hadn’t yet checked his truck, so he couldn’t confirm the rumor. Regardless, he didn’t seem to care one way or the other. According to members of the Space Coast Stadium grounds crew, Werth’s first inning home run - an absolute laser to left - didn’t just do damage to Mets starter Matt Harvey’s spring ERA, it also did some damage

Strasburg done after five scoreless (Nats win 12-0)

VIERA, Fla. - Not only have the Nationals’ bats come alive today, they’ve finally gotten a strong outing from a starting pitcher. Stephen Strasburg went five scoreless innings, allowing five hits and one walk with one hit-batter and five strikeouts. Strasburg threw 84 pitches, 47 for strikes. Not a dominating effort from the righty, but he made pitches when he needed to. Strasburg stranded two

Here come the runs (and they keep coming)

VIERA, Fla. - The sun has fought its way through the clouds here in Viera, and the Nationals’ bats have fought their way out of a lengthy slump. The Nationals batted around in the first inning today, scoring five runs on seven hits. Three of those hits left Space Coast Stadium, with Ian Desmond, Jayson Werth and Roger Bernadina providing the big flies. Werth’s homer

Your latest incremental updates on Morse, LaRoche, Ankiel

VIERA, Fla. - Given the fact that it rained here in Viera this morning, it’s only fitting that Stephen Strasburg is taking the mound for the Nationals today. Strasburg always seems to get the ball when the temperature drops or the conditions are poor. “He’s a mudder,” manager Davey Johnson joked. Here are your latest injury updates, which seem to be getting tweaked every 12

Today’s Nats lineup vs. Mets

VIERA, Fla. - Davey Johnson had hoped to write in his opening day lineup for this afternoon’s game against the Mets, but that’s kind of tough to do when two of your middle-of-the-order hitters are banged up and your center fielder is still recovering from a quad injury. Instead, this is the lineup Johnson will send out today against New York: SS Ian Desmond 2B

“Bad Henry” nowhere to be found this spring

VIERA, Fla. - On Thursday, after reliever Henry Rodriguez had delivered yet another scoreless inning of work without allowing a base runner, Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty turned to manager Davey Johnson and delivered a sentence which would’ve been laughable not all that long ago. “Can you believe Henry probably has the best command on the staff?” McCatty said. Yes, McCatty was referring to the

Meeting with the manager after the Nats’ 12-3 loss

SARASOTA, Fla. - Amid the poor pitching, lack of offense and defensive miscues, there was one major positive for the Nationals coming out of today. Stephen Strasburg tweeted that he shot a 69 in a round of miniature golf. So, there’s that. Actually, can you “shoot” anything in mini golf? Don’t really know the correct terminology there. Regardless, the Nats again failed to notch a

Edwin Jackson: “Games like this don’t affect my confidence”

SARASOTA, Fla. - Even after getting hit around to the tune of 10 runs in 3 2/3 innings in this afternoon’s 12-3 loss to the Orioles, Edwin Jackson still had a positive attitude and a bit of a smile on his face in the Nationals clubhouse. Jackson insists that today’s outing, as well as his other spring struggles, don’t bother him. The key, he says,

Jackson hit around in 12-3 loss to O’s

SARASOTA, Fla. - It’s been an up-and-down afternoon for Edwin Jackson. The Nationals’ starter gave up one run in the first inning after allowing three straight hits, but followed that up with a stellar second frame, retiring the side in order and striking out two of the three Orioles he faced. Then, in the third, things started to unravel for Jackson. The righty gave up

Nats readying for possibility of opening day without Storen

SARASOTA, Fla. - After putting what seems like a couple thousand miles on my rental car over the last 24 hours, I’m all set up here in the press box at Ed Smith Stadium for the Battle of the Beltways, Florida Edition. I’ve smacked my MASNsports.com colleague Roch Kubatko around a little bit, and now that that important piece of business is out of the

Nationals lineup vs. Orioles

SARASOTA, Fla. - Edwin Jackson will take the hill when the Nationals play the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on MASN/MASN HD as part of the Orioles’ spring schedule. Here’s the Nationals’ lineup. SS Ian Desmond 2B Danny Espinosa CF Rick Ankiel 1B Chad Tracy C Wilson Ramos DH Jesus Flroes LF Corey Brown RF Brett Carroll

Final notes from Kissimmee

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Roger Bernadina has a bruised right big toe after fouling a ball off his foot yesterday. The Nationals outfielder tried to play through the pain today, but was pulled from this afternoon’s game after two and a half innings when the toe started acting up on him. Bernadina said the toe isn’t all that swollen, and manager Davey Johnson expects the 27-year-old

Nats’ bats remain asleep in yet another loss

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Following the Nationals’ 5-1 loss to the Astros this afternoon, a defeat which made the Nationals 0-9-1 in their last 10 spring games, Jordan Zimmermann was asked about the team’s recent spring struggles. “Saving the wins,” Zimmermann said. The Nats can continue to joke about the losses for now, because these games mean nothing. But it’s tough to ignore the way that

Rizzo optimistic about Morse’s status, doesn’t expect major moves

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo confirmed Michael Morse had a PRP injection in an attempt to stimulate healing in the left fielder’s strained lat, but said he doesn’t expect Morse’s injury to cause him to miss an extended portion of the regular season. In fact, Rizzo says Morse might even be able to suit up when the Nats open the season against

Nats getting no-hit through six innings (Nats lose 5-1)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - A day after Davey Johnson said he wasn’t worried about his team’s offensive struggles, his players are pushing things a bit. The Nationals have yet to record a hit through six innings of play against the Astros this afternoon, and have just sent just one over the minimum to the plate. Their lone base runner came in the first, when Danny Espinosa

Bernadina leaves game with apparent injury

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Roger Bernadina has left today’s game against the Astros after just two and a half innings, with Brett Carroll replacing him in center field. Bernadina appeared to tweak something when he tracked down a long fly ball off the bat of Astros third baseman Chris Johnson in the bottom of the second. The 27-year-old outfielder needed to quickly go back close to

Bench picture starting to come into focus

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - As we inch closer and closer to opening day - and we’re now under the two-week mark until the real games have arrived - guys are running out of chances to impress manager Davey Johnson and try and earn one of the final couple spots on the Nationals’ roster. Things are made a little murky by the injuries to left fielder Michael

MRI reveals no structural damage to Storen’s elbow (plus Morse, LaRoche notes)

VIERA, Fla. - The test results on Drew Storen’s right elbow have come in, and the Nationals can breathe a sigh of relief. Storen underwent an MRI on his right elbow yesterday, and the test confirmed that the Nats closer does not have any structural damage to his arm. There’s a little inflammation in the elbow joint, Storen said, but nothing’s wrong with the reliever’s

Too early to panic over offensive struggles

VIERA, Fla. - In their last three games, the Nationals have been shut out twice. They’ve scored more than three runs in a game only once in their last six contests, are hitting .249 as a team and have put up just 69 runs for the Grapefruit League season, fourth-worst in the majors. “I don’t want them peaking too early,” manager Davey Johnson said yesterday

The Lombardozzi-in-left experiment

JUPITER, Fla. - With Michael Morse looking increasingly unlikely to be ready for opening day, manager Davey Johnson has started thinking about Plan B. Or, should I say, Plan C. Or D. That plan, whichever letter is attached to it, is using infielder Steve Lombardozzi in left field on occasion. The experiment was put into action yesterday in the Nats’ 3-2 loss to the Braves,

Say goodbye to Gonzalez’s sparkling spring numbers

JUPITER, Fla. - Other than a couple minor bumps in the road, everything had gone pretty smoothly for Gio Gonzalez in his first three spring starts. Including stats from a rained out game March 11, he’d thrown 10 1/3 innings, allowing just one earned run, five hits and four walks in that time, with 10 strikeouts. That’s good for a 0.87 ERA. In today’s 9-0

Gonzalez smacked around in Jupiter (Nats lose 9-0)

JUPITER, Fla. - Gio Gonzalez retired two of the nine batters he faced in the fourth inning today against the Cardinals. He gave up a two-run homer, two doubles, two singles and two walks, all in that frame. Not exactly his finest outing. The Nationals lefty was pulled after 3 2/3 innings of work, having allowed eight earned runs overall, 10 hits and four walks.

Storen has more discomfort, Nady to get minor league action

JUPITER, Fla. - About 90 percent of Davey Johnson’s pregame session with reporters consisted of injury discussions. Hey, there’s suddenly lots to talk about on that front. Johnson said closer Drew Storen is still feeling some discomfort in his bicep and triceps after playing catch yesterday. The team will take things very carefully with the 24-year-old over the next few days. “Storen is getting further

Michael Morse’s opening day status is unclear

JUPITER, Fla. - Michael Morse’s chances of being in the Nationals’ lineup on opening day are apparently decreasing. Manager Davey Johnson said that a definite timetable has not yet been set for Morse to return to action, as he’s still having problems with a strained lat muscle, but that it would probably be “a couple weeks” before Morse will begin baseball activities. Morse feels OK,

Talking on-base percentage at the top of the order

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals will travel nearly two hours south down Interstate 95 today to take on the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla., their first of three straight road games. Some quality miles will be put on the team bus over this three-day stretch, as the Nats will be in Kissimmee to play the Astros tomorrow and then will head all the way across the

Wrapping up a busy day in Viera

VIERA, Fla. - So far today, we’ve had news that Stephen Strasburg will be the Nationals’ opening day starter, Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche possibly not being ready for the start of the season, Steve Lombardozzi making his first career appearance in the outfield and word that Chien-Ming Wang will likely start the regular season on the DL. Just another quiet afternoon at Space Coast

Johnson says Chien-Ming Wang could miss a month

VIERA, Fla. - Chien-Ming Wang has been making improvements since suffering a left hamstring strain last Thursday, but his manager doesn’t think the veteran right-handed pitcher will be able to return to the mound for about a month. Davey Johnson said today that while optimistic reports have Wang able to return in two weeks, he feels that the 31-year-old hurler will need more time than

Lannan feels himself trending upward

VIERA, Fla. - Normally in spring training, John Lannan comes out of the gates hot, then goes through a bit of a downturn before trying to get back on track for the start of the regular season. This year’s been the opposite. The Nationals lefty started out slow, but feels that with each start, he’s getting closer to being in prime condition for the beginning

Lannan’s day is done, Lombardozzi in left (Nats lose 3-2)

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals have a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth, with Jason Michaels’ RBI groundout bringing in Ryan Zimmerman for the only run of the game. Ian Desmond has a walk today (his second in as many days) and an error (marking his fourth defensive miscue of the spring). John Lannan’s day is done after four innings of work. The

Nats won’t rush Morse, LaRoche back for opening day

VIERA, Fla. - We’re under way here at Space Coast Stadium, as John Lannan takes the mound to face the Braves. If you’ve got TV access at the office or happen to be hanging at home, you can catch today’s game live on MASN. Lannan is now through two innings, having allowed two hits but no runs. We’re scoreless entering the bottom of the second.

Strasburg on opening day assignment: “It’s awesome, it’s a great feeling”

VIERA, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg has never been to Wrigley Field. Heck, he’s never been to Chicago. But the 23-year-old hurler learned this morning that he’ll be standing on the mound at Wrigley on April 5, serving as the Nats’ opening day starter when the Nationals take on the Cubs. “It’s a tremendous honor,” Strasburg said in the Nats’ dugout a few minutes ago. “But

Stephen Strasburg will be the Nats’ opening day starter

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals’ rotation is loaded with talent, but in manager Davey Johnson’s mind, there was only one real choice to start opening day. That guy is Stephen Strasburg. Johnson announced Strasburg as his April 5 opening day starter in Chicago this morning, less than 12 hours after Strasburg delivered his finest outing of spring, throwing five one-run innings and striking out three.

Learning lots about Lombardozzi

VIERA, Fla. - Prior to the start of spring training, if I had told you that Craig Stammen would be leading the Nationals in strikeouts nearly three weeks into the Grapefruit League season, would you have believed me? If I had told you that Stephen Strasburg would have only one fewer hit than both Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche with 17 spring games in the

For Strasburg, a major step in the right direction

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - The Nationals were shut out and only registered five hits in tonight’s 2-0 loss to the Mets, but that means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Much more important was the strong outing turned in by Stephen Strasburg, who took a major step forward in his spring development tonight, throwing five innings, allowing just one run on two hits,

Strasburg finds a groove in fourth spring start (Nats fall to Mets 2-0)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg had an eventful first few innings here at Digital Domain Park, dodging the shard of a broken bat, smoking a line drive to the opposite field and beating out an infield single. He does it all, folks. On the mound, Strasburg completed five innings tonight, allowing just one run on two hits and striking out three in his

Nats expect Storen back soon

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - It’s been nearly two weeks since Drew Storen last threw in a Grapefruit League game, but the Nationals say their closer is fine. He’s just battling a case of strep throat and some soreness which the Nats say is normal. Storen has thrown just two innings this spring, his last coming March 7. “Other than the usual pitching soreness that

Rizzo: Harper could be Nats’ long-term answer in center field

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Just prior to first pitch here tonight, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo met with reporters to discuss the decision to option outfielder Bryce Harper to Triple-A Syracuse. Rizzo said that he and the rest of the Nationals brass were impressed with what they saw from Harper in spring, but wanted to give him a chance to refine his skills in

Lee County votes to pursue Nationals for spring training

Lee County, Fla., commissioners voted this morning to enter into negotiations with the Nationals that could lead to the club moving from its current spring training facility following the 2013 Grapefruit League season and relocating from Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla., to City of Palms Park across the state in Fort Myers. According to the Naples Daily News, the county’s Board of Commissioners voted

Lombardozzi to lead off tonight, plus a Morse update

VIERA, Fla. - Remember about three hours ago, when I wrote that Davey Johnson was committed to hitting Ian Desmond leadoff and Danny Espinosa in the two-hole? Yeah, toss all that stuff out the window, at least for today. Johnson’s lineup for tonight’s game against the Mets has an interesting twist, with Steve Lombardozzi playing third base and leading off, followed in the order by

Johnson committed to Desmond, Espinosa atop lineup

VIERA, Fla. - If you’ve seen the lineups Davey Johnson has been writing up this spring, you’ve probably noticed that the Nationals manager has been experimenting with shortstop Ian Desmond as his leadoff hitter and second baseman Danny Espinosa in the two-hole. Three weeks into Grapefruit League games, it’s no longer an experiment. It’s officially how the top of the lineup will be constructed come

Notes on the rest of the cuts

VIERA, Fla. - Oh yeah, Bryce Harper wasn’t the only guy cut from the Nationals’ big league roster yesterday. The other three haven’t gotten quite as much attention, for whatever reason. Not exactly sure why. In addition to Harper, the Nationals also optioned first baseman Tyler Moore and catcher Jhonatan Solano to Triple-A Syracuse yesterday, and reassigned infielder Mark Teahen to minor league camp. It’s

Like it or not, Nats handling Harper the right way

VIERA, Fla. - Today marks the Nationals’ only off-day of the Grapefruit League season. Players will get a chance to rest up or hit the beach, manager Davey Johnson will go home and see his wife ... and I’ll continue to write about the Nats. Am I a saint for writing even on the off day? No. Well, maybe. But hey, there’s a lot to

Harper sliding over to center field at Triple-A

VIERA, Fla. - In Bryce Harper’s mind, there was one upside to finding out late this afternoon that he was being optioned to Triple-A Syracuse: He also learned he’d be playing center field in the minors. “I love it,” Harper said, a smile creeping across his face. “After (manager Davey Johnson) said that to me, I was excited to get down there and work on

Harper on his demotion: “I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s OK”

VIERA, Fla. - For a 19-year-old who at times has battled maturity issues - who among us didn’t in our teens? - and had legitimate intentions of winning a spot on the Nationals’ opening day roster, Bryce Harper appeared to handle his demotion to Triple-A Syracuse pretty darned well. Talking with reporters shortly after being informed that he was being sent over to minor league

Bryce Harper optioned to Triple-A Syracuse (updated)

VIERA, Fla. - Bryce Harper might very well play in the big leagues this season. He just won’t do so opening day. The Nationals optioned Harper, their top prospect, to Triple-A Syracuse following today’s 11-7 loss to the Tigers, ending Harper’s pursuit of a spot on the Nats’ 25-man roster for now. Manager Davey Johnson broke the news to Harper following his 1-for-5 performance today.

Jackson, Detwiler talk about their outings (Nats lose 11-7)

VIERA, Fla. - Right-hander Edwin Jackson obviously wasn’t thrilled with his four-inning, four-run, seven-hit, three-walk outing today, but he’s not going to get too hung up on the numbers. “Results weren’t really the greatest, but I felt pretty good,” Jackson said in the Nats’ clubhouse a bit ago. “The only thing I come away from (this) working on is just the walks. Everything else I

Rocky outing for Jackson vs. Detroit

VIERA, Fla. - Chad Durbin has come out for the top of the fifth inning, meaning Edwin Jackson’s day is done. The results weren’t all that pretty for Jackson in his four innings of work, as the Nationals righty allowed four runs on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Ten baserunners in four innings? Probably not what Jackson wanted, although I guess it

Lingering foot injury continues to bother LaRoche

VIERA, Fla. - Unfortunately for Adam LaRoche, this spring is showing a lot of similarities to last, when he came down with a shoulder injury which just kept hanging around. LaRoche tried to battle through the discomfort, but eventually, he needed season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum. This year it’s a foot injury which is lingering, and LaRoche can just hope that his fate

Nats sign Xavier Nady to minor league deal

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals have signed outfielder/first baseman Xavier Nady to a minor league contract, general manager Mike Rizzo confirmed. Nady, a 33-year-old who has spent time with six major league teams, has reported to minor league camp and will start the season at Triple-A Syracuse. It’s a straight minor league deal and has no outs. “He’s a player I’ve always had interest in,”

Today’s Nats lineup plus Ankiel note (updated)

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals take on the Tigers today at Space Coast Stadium, with Edwin Jackson heading to the bump for the Nats. Bryce Harper is back in right field today, while Jayson Werth slides over to center. Here’s manager Davey Johnson’s lineup for today’s game: SS Ian Desmond 2B Danny Espinosa 3B Ryan Zimmerman CF Jayson Werth DH Chad Tracy C Jesus Flores

Notes and quotes after the Nats’ 1-1 tie

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals picked up their third tie of the spring today, putting their Grapefruit League record at 5-7-3. As one reporter joked, that won-loss record looks like something out of the NHL. Manager Davey Johnson wasn’t too thrilled about ending today’s game with the Marlins knotted at 1-1 after nine innings (“I don’t like ties,” he said, “I want to see the

Zimmermann: “It’s getting better and better every day” (Nats tie Marlins 1-1)

VIERA, Fla. - Ryan Zimmerman was drilled by a pitch in the bottom of the fifth, and after jogging down to first base, was immediately replaced for a pinch runner. Asked by reporters shortly thereafter if he’s OK, Zimmerman turned towards the group with a wry smile on his face. “4-6 weeks, hip,” he said. Yeah, he’ll be fine. Jordan Zimmermann was happy with his

Four scoreless for Zimmermann, extra bases for Harper

VIERA, Fla. - With four innings in the books and 72 pitches under his belt, Jordan Zimmermann is done for the day. Zimmermann, making his third start of spring, did not allow a run today, scattering six hits and striking out three. Of his 72 pitches, he threw 50 strikes - by my count, at least. Zimmermann didn’t have his best stuff today, but he

Don’t forget about Detwiler

VIERA, Fla. - While it’s widely assumed that Chien-Ming Wang’s hamstring injury might have opened up a spot in the Nationals rotation for John Lannan, we shouldn’t necessarily forget about Ross Detwiler. Yes, Lannan led the Nationals in wins last season and is owed $5 million this season. He’s a consistent performer, eats innings, and the Nats would not be in bad shape, to say

Injuries still limiting Morse, LaRoche

VIERA, Fla. - Another day, another game without Michael Morse in the Nationals’ lineup. The Nats’ left fielder, who has spent the last couple weeks battling a lat strain, underwent an MRI to see if there was anything more which was causing him discomfort when he throws. The test confirmed the lat strain and didn’t reveal any further issues, but Morse will continue to be

Lombardozzi’s chances at a roster spot improving by the day (plus Nats lineup)

VIERA, Fla. - By the time yesterday’s game against the Yankees was three innings old, Steve Lombardozzi had already gone 2-for-2 with a home run off CC Sabathia and made two dazzling defensive plays at third base. He jogged back into the dugout and was greeted by manager Davey Johnson, who had a question for the 23-year-old infielder. “I said, ‘What, are you trying to

Wrapping up the Nats’ 4-3 loss

TAMPA, Fla. - The Nationals and Yankees needed an extra frame to settle things today, and the pinstripes earned a 4-3 walk-off win when catcher J.R. Murphy drove in former Nat Justin Maxwell with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th. Atahualpa Severino gave up the game-winning run. And the excitement was palpable at George Stenibrenner Field. Kidding. There were a couple handshakes

Chien-Ming Wang discusses his injury

TAMPA, Fla. - You already know what Nationals manager Davey Johnson had to say about Chien-Ming Wang’s hamstring injury. Now here are quotes from Wang about how he’s holding up. The Nats righty told reporters back in Viera today that he isn’t feeling any worse than he did after initially suffering the injury, which is a good thing, considering the day-after swelling that can often

Gonzalez’s first blemish a minor one

TAMPA, Fla. - All in all, Gio Gonzalez’s third spring start wasn’t all that bad. The Nationals’ lefty went just 3 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and three walks and throwing 69 pitches in that time. But he allowed only a single run (his first given up this spring) and struck out six Yankee hitters, including three in a row at one point. Still, Gonzalez

Nationals extend agreements with four affiliates (Nats lose in 10 innings)

TAMPA, Fla. - The Nationals announced that they have agreed on two-year extensions with four of their five affiliates - the Syracuse Chiefs of the Triple-A International League, the Harrisburg Senators of the Double-A Eastern League, the Potomac Nationals of the Single-A Carolina League and the Auburn Doubledays of the short-season Single-A New York-Penn League. The deals will keep those four affiliates in the Nationals

Gonzalez settles in after rocky start (updated)

TAMPA, Fla. - Gio Gonzalez threw 32 pitches in a lengthy first inning, allowing two hits, a walk and a run. Since then, he’s looked much more like the Gio Gonzalez that we’ve seen early in spring. Gonzalez retired all six Yankees he faced since that rocky first, throwing a total of 25 pitches, 18 for strikes. The Nationals lefty has five strikeouts through his

Harper in center, Nats grab early lead

TAMPA, Fla. - The Nationals made a late change to their lineup - there have been a lot of those lately - a bit prior to first pitch, moving Bryce Harper from right field to center, and having Brett Carroll slide over to right. This marks Harper’s second start in center field in the last three days; the 19-year-old was the Nats’ starting center field

Chien-Ming Wang expected to miss at least a couple weeks (plus Morse note)

TAMPA, Fla. - Tests have confirmed that Chien-Ming Wang suffered a left hamstring strain yesterday, not a tear as some might have originally worried. Nationals manager Davey Johnson said prior to today’s game against the Yankees that the hamstring injury will cause Wang to miss at least a couple of weeks. “The only thing I know - he was tested and it’s a pull or

Notes on Nats’ cuts plus today’s lineup

VIERA, Fla. - I swung by Space Coast Stadium quickly before leaving for Tampa hoping to bump into Chien-Ming Wang in the locker room - not too forcefully, of course - but no such luck. Wang’s injured hamstring was getting attention from the Nationals’ training staff, so we’ll have to wait until talking with manager Davey Johnson before getting any news on Wang’s status. Left

Bernadina feeling more pain, Lannan getting a mixed bag

VIERA, Fla. - I wouldn’t want to have been in Roger Berndina’s shoes lately. Within the last week, the Nationals outfielder has been drilled by a pitch directly on his elbow, had a tooth pulled and gotten hit by another pitch just above the same elbow. Can’t the baseball gods pick on somebody else for a while? Bernadina was a late scratch from last night’s

Nats make roster moves, await testing on Wang’s hamstring

VIERA, Fla. - Shortly after today’s 8-5 loss to the Yankees, the Nationals made four roster moves, optioning right-handed pitcher Yunesky Maya to Triple-A Syracuse and outfielder Eury Perez to Double-A Harrisburg and reassigning right-handers Jeff Fulchino and Waldis Joaquin to minor league camp. The moves leave the Nats with 41 players in their big league camp. By the time the roster moves had been

Nats, Yanks knotted in the sixth (Nationals lose 8-5)

VIERA, Fla. - As I check NCAA Tournament scores in between pitches ... We’re tied 2-2 here in the sixth inning at Space Coast Stadium. And while the action on the field the rest of the way will be monitored, the main story that will come out of today will be the injury to Chien-Ming Wang, who left the game in the third inning because

Chien-Ming Wang leaves game after taking awkward fall (updated)

VIERA, Fla. - Chien-Ming Wang was grooving right along, pounding the strike zone and sitting down Yankees hitters. Then he went down himself. Wang had to leave today’s game in the third inning after awkwardly landing around first base. The Nationals right-hander moved toward the first-base bag to pick up a chopper off the bat of Yankees catcher Russell Martin, and as he tried to

One concern with Wang set to face Yanks

VIERA, Fla. - Davey Johnson would prefer that the Yankees weren’t in town today. He has nothing against the Pinstripes, other than possibly from his time as a player and a manager with the Orioles, when he would battle with the Yanks a bunch of times each season. But Johnson’s concern with Joe Girardi’s bunch is that the logo on their helmets will cause his

Updates on Morse, Ramos and Flores

VIERA, Fla. - The Yankees didn’t exactly bring their A-team with them today. Brett Gardner, Russell Martin, Andruw Jones and Bill Hall are the only real recognizable names in New York’s lineup, leaving Nationals manager Davey Johnson to wonder why Derek Jeter wasn’t able to make the trip. “It would probably be just a half-hour trip in his jet,” Johnson joked. Johnson offered a few

Today’s lineup plus some leftover notes

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals host the Yankees today for a 1:05 p.m. game, and as promised, Bryce Harper is in the lineup, hitting seventh and playing right field. And please, no jokes about him secretly trying to slip on a Yankees uniform. Michael Morse is not in the Nats’ lineup again today, but Roger Bernadina is back in there after being scratched from last

Strasburg admits “immaturity” getting in the way of progress

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - It’s always nice watching a young player begin to grow in front of our eyes, to evolve from a guy getting by on talent to one who starts to really get it. We saw a bit of that with Stephen Strasburg tonight; but we didn’t see it until the Nationals starter’s jersey was off and he had large bags of

Harper’s goal remains the same - big leagues or bust

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Despite being quoted as saying he doesn’t think he has a good chance to make the Nationals’ 25-man opening day roster, Bryce Harper said tonight that his goal remains the same: Start the season in a big league uniform. A Tuesday story on CBSSports.com had Harper quoted as saying that he would “probably not” be able to make the Nationals’

Strasburg lacking Strasburg-like stuff (Nats lose 6-5)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The balls are flying out of Champion Stadium tonight, as the Nationals and Braves have combined to hit four home runs through four innings of play. Two have come off Nats’ bats - a two-run shot from Chad Tracy and a solo blast by Jesus Flores - but the two that will draw the most attention were the homers hit

Surprise: Harper to play center field tonight (updated again)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Bryce Harper won’t just be returning to the lineup tonight for the first time in a week after suffering a left calf injury. He’ll also be playing center field. After a late lineup change, Harper will get the start in center for the Nationals tonight, with Roger Bernadina moving over to right field and Eury Perez manning left field. Update:

Morse update plus tonight’s lineup

VIERA, Fla. - Michael Morse isn’t in the Nationals’ lineup tonight, but that doesn’t mean the left fielder isn’t getting work in today. Morse, who is still dealing with a lat strain, will head over to a side field at the Nats’ complex and play in a minor league game today. He plans on getting 6-8 at-bats during that game, which he much prefers over

Nats say Harper still has a shot at opening day roster

VIERA, Fla. - While Bryce Harper’s chances of making the Nationals’ opening day roster have taken a hit as he’s missed the last six days because of a left calf injury, general manager Mike Rizzo says that Harper still is in the mix for the team’s starting right fielder job. “We haven’t made any decision to the contrary,” Rizzo said. “He’s still in the picture,

Rizzo: Nats getting calls on Lannan, not actively shopping him

VIERA, Fla. - Teams around the majors have expressed interest in Nationals lefty John Lannan, but the Nats aren’t anxious to move the 27-year-old starter, general manager Mike Rizzo said today. “I am not actively shopping him,” Rizzo said. “I haven’t actively shopped him all year, all winter.” Rizzo wouldn’t go as far as to say there’s been “a lot” of interest in Lannan, but

Opening day starter still up in the air

VIERA, Fla. - Manager Davey Johnson isn’t ready to announce how his starting pitchers will line up for the first couple regular season series just yet, but that decision will come fairly soon. While we’ve now been through the Nationals’ rotation twice, Johnson wants to see each starter go one more time and get up around that 75-pitch limit before he makes any decisions on

Emptying the notebook after the Nats’ 6-3 loss

VIERA, Fla. - Bryce Harper made it through today’s workout without experiencing any issues with his ailing left calf, and the right fielder will return to the Nationals’ lineup tomorrow evening against the Braves, as planned. Left fielder Michael Morse will not travel to Disney to face Atlanta after seeing action at DH the last two games. As reporters walked into the clubhouse following tonight’s

Despite results, Jackson pleased with his outing (Nats lose 6-3)

VIERA, Fla. - Edwin Jackson should have been out of the first inning having retired the side in order. Instead, he needed to face an extra hitter when left fielder Jason Michaels dropped a lazy fly ball, and Jackson followed by giving up a two-run homer to the next batter he faced. Jackson could’ve benefited from a double play on a sharply-hit ground ball hit

Jackson shaky in third start, Zimmerman still locked in

VIERA, Fla. - How many bad jokes can I make about Ryan Zimmerman being on fire? Nobody touch his bat; you might scald your hands. Don’t look directly at him, you might hurt your eyes. OK, two is enough. Zimmerman is now hitting a whopping .615 this spring after doubling to right-center in his second at-bat tonight. The Nationals’ third baseman is 8-for-13 in Grapefruit

Nats’ bench battle should go down to the wire

VIERA, Fla. - While the bulk of the spots on manager Davey Johnson’s bench are accounted for at this point, the battle for the last slot might get fierce. Johnson said today that the competition for the final bench job “probably won’t be settled until the last day” of spring, allowing outfielders Brett Carroll and Jason Michaels and infielders Chad Tracy, Mark Teahen and Andres

A rundown of banged-up outfielders

VIERA, Fla. - Here are a few rapid-fire injury updates before I have to pop right back down to the field in a couple minutes. You ready? Here we go. As I mentioned a bit ago, Bryce Harper is in tomorrow’s Nationals lineup, but manager Davey Johnson wants to watch him get a full workout today. If Harper comes through the workout feeling OK, he’ll

Tonight’s lineup plus Harper note

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals’ lineup has been posted for tonight’s game against the Tigers, a game which can be seen live on MASN starting at 6 p.m. As you’ll notice, the lineup tonight has a heavy regular season flavor to it. SS Ian Desmond 2B Danny Espinosa 3B Ryan Zimmerman DH Michael Morse 1B Mark DeRosa RF Jayson Werth C Wilson Ramos CF Brett

Zimmerman scorching, Brown impressing

VIERA, Fla. - We can’t count on the 80 degree weather here to cool down Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who is absolutely scorching right now. Zimmerman is on a tear to start his spring, hitting .583 with five of his seven base hits going for extra bases. The new $100 million man has two homers and three doubles in 12 at-bats. That hot stretch

Rendon, Purke part of first round of Nats cuts

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals trimmed nine players from their stable of players at big league camp today, including two of their top three picks in the 2011 draft. First-round pick Anthony Rendon, who has seen time at multiple infield positions this spring, and third-round left-handed pitcher Matt Purke were both optioned to Single-A Potomac. Infielder Carlos Rivero was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse, while six

Johnson on Clippard’s role, DeRosa’s influence, Harper’s injury and more

Tyler Clippard will continue to be one of the most important parts of the Nationals’ bullpen. But manager Davey Johnson wants to make one alteration to the right-hander’s job description heading into 2012. “I don’t envision him coming into ballgames before the seventh inning,” Johnson told reporters in Viera, Fla., this morning before the Nationals hosted a Cardinals split squad. “Last year, I think he

Tracy getting opportunity to crack opening day roster

Nationals manager Davey Johnson hasn’t been shy about making it known that he’s looking for some additional left-handed pop off the bench this season. I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnson started renting billboard space around Viera or posting “Help Wanted” signs throughout the Nats’ clubhouse. Enter Chad Tracy, a 31-year-old corner infielder who spent last season playing in Japan. Tracy slugged 27 homers with the

Gonzalez’s start that wasn’t was pretty impressive

Officially, Gio Gonzalez’s four-inning stint against the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon doesn’t exist. It was washed away, just like the game itself, after four innings. What happened before, however, left both Gonzalez and Nationals manager Davey Johnson quite pleased. Gonzalez allowed two singles, fanned a pair and had a 1-0 lead when rains swept through Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., before the top of

Nats-Cardinals washed out after fourth inning

Today’s Nationals-Cardinals game in Jupiter, Fla., has been canceled after a rain delay. The Nats were leading 1-0 after the fourth inning when play was halted. Lefty Gio Gonzalez went four innings for the Nationals in his second spring start. He allowed two hits and struck out two. The Nationals scored in the third inning when Brett Carroll hit a leadoff single off St. Louis

Updates on Morse, Ankiel, Harper

Nationals manager Davey Johnson told reporters in Jupiter, Fla., before today’s game against the Cardinals that outfielder Michael Morse had a cortisone shot Saturday and could return to the lineup as the designated hitter by tomorrow. Morse was scratched from Tuesday’s lineup with a sore right lat muscle, and has been trying to work through the problem since then. Some of the pain has subsided,

Gonzalez takes hill vs. Cardinals (plus Sunday’s lineup)

With only four teams on Florida’s East Coast for spring training, someone has to bite the bullet when it comes to scheduling Grapefruit League games. Today, it’s the Nationals, who make their second trip to Jupiter, Fla., in three days, this time for an exhibition contest against the Cardinals. The nearly two-hour drive to Roger Dean Stadium isn’t really a bad one - it’s straight

Johnson and Ramos speak after Nats’ 8-2 win over Mets

Some comments from Nationals manager Davey Johnson to reporters after his split squad beat the Mets 8-2 this afternoon in Viera, Fla.: On winner Chien-Ming Wang’s first start: “I was really impressed with Chien-Ming. The ball was really coming out of his hand free and easy. ... I could tell from the get-go he was around 90 or above (with) great life and great movement.

Nationals beat Mets 8-2, tie Tigers

Chien-Ming Wang went two innings, gave up two runs and struck out two as the Nationals beat the Mets 8-2 in one half of Saturday’s split-squad games. Wang was followed by right-hander Craig Stammen, who was able to shut down the Mets for three innings. The pitching was just one strong part in the Nationals’ win. Led by Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche, the offense

Hearing from LaRoche and Wang (updated)

For some veterans, facing a knuckleballer right out of the chute after an extended injury absence would be a recipe for disaster. Suffice it to say Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche isn’t most veterans. LaRoche, who had been sidelined by left shoulder soreness and a mild left ankle sprain, made his first Grapefruit League appearance Saturday as part of a Nationals split squad that faced

Ankiel sidelined by hamstring tightness (plus Saturday lineups)

First baseman Adam LaRoche will make his long-awaited Grapefruit League debut today in the home side of a split-squad game against the Mets. However, Nationals manager Davey Johnson had to tinker with his lineup a little due to the unavailability of outfielder Rick Ankiel. Ankiel is out today with a tight hamstring, and will be replaced in center field by Brett Carroll. Jason Michaels, who

Marlins blank Strasburg, Nationals 3-0 (updated with quotes)

The Nationals were held to four singles in a 3-0 loss to the Miami Marlins in Jupiter, Fla., on Friday night. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg started for the Nationals, went three innings and took his second loss of the spring. Strasburg allowed two runs on three hits, walked one and struck out two. It was the first time in his career he had started a Grapefruit

Johnson: Harper out “at least three days” (plus Friday’s lineup)

That left calf strain that has kept outfielder Bryce Harper out of the lineup for the past two days will probably force him to miss the rest of the weekend’s spring training games. Though Harper expressed earlier today to reporters in Viera, Fla., that he expected to play in a split-squad game against the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla., on Saturday, Nationals manager Davey Johnson pretty

Meet Drew Storen, aka “Tinkerbell”

In the span of just a couple seconds, everything changed for Drew Storen. He was no longer Drew Storen, major league closer. He was “Tinkerbell.” Unfortunately. “This is the worst nickname in history,” Storen said with a wry smile. The nickname didn’t come from a teammate or an opponent trying to get a rise out of Storen. The 24-year-old can thank his manager for the

Despite strong start to spring, Detwiler left looking at long relief

VIERA, Fla. - On practically any other team, Ross Detwiler would be spending his spring competing for a spot in the starting rotation. Unfortunately for the lefty, that’s not the case here. When you’re part of a pitching staff that features Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson, Chien-Ming Wang and John Lannan, you’re likely to find yourself stuck in the bullpen, fighting for

Meeting with the manager after the Nats’ 8-0 win

VIERA, Fla. - Davey Johnson has said it multiple times throughout the first few weeks of Nationals spring training, and he said it again after today’s win over the Astros: He likes what Brett Carroll brings to the table. Carroll, a 29-year-old utilityman who has just a .203 career average in 175 major league games, continues to impress his manager this spring. He boosted his

Johnson: “Edwin Jackson was superb”

VIERA, Fla. - Edwin Jackson doesn’t know what allowed him to get into such a groove today. He can’t quite put his finger on it. But whatever was working this afternoon, the Nationals hope they see a lot more out of it from the 28-year-old starter. Jackson only faced one batter over the minimum in his four scoreless innings of work in this afternoon’s 8-0

Bryce Harper says calf injury is nothing serious (Nats win 8-0)

VIERA, Fla. - When he woke up this morning, Bryce Harper felt some tightness in his left calf. He tried to work it out on a stationary bike at the Nationals complex, but when the calf didn’t respond, manager Davey Johnson decided to pull Harper from today’s starting lineup against the Astros. Speaking in the Nationals’ clubhouse moments ago, Harper said he doesn’t think the

Nats hold 2-0 lead over Houston (make that 4-0)

VIERA, Fla. - The buzz inside Space Coast Stadium just prior to first pitch was all about Bryce Harper being scratched from today’s game because of left calf tightness. Edwin Jackson gave everyone something else to talk about. Jackson threw four scoreless innings against the Astros this afternoon, allowing just two hits and striking out three. The righty showed off impressive offspeed stuff today, and

Bryce Harper scratched from today’s lineup (updated)

VIERA, Fla. - When the Nationals took the field just prior to the top of the first inning, their top prospect was missing from what was set to be his starting spot in right field. Bryce Harper has been scratched from today’s starting lineup. Manager Davey Johnson has moved Brett Carroll moving from center field to right and Eury Perez will take over in center

Your latest LaRoche update

VIERA, Fla. - For the second straight day, Adam LaRoche spent the late-morning hours out at Field 3 here at the Nationals spring training complex testing out his injured foot by getting in some at-bats during a minor league intrasquad game. Like yesterday, LaRoche hit third every half-inning, but unlike yesterday, he actually made some strong contact, ripping a home run to right-center field. It’s

Quick hits plus today’s lineup

VIERA, Fla. - Manager Davey Johnson says that left fielder Michael Morse is feeling better after dealing with a lat strain the last few days, and he while he isn’t ready to return to Grapefruit League action yet, he will get some extra hitting in during the next three to four days. Same for Adam LaRoche, who will hit and run the bases today during

An impressive first turn through the rotation

VIERA, Fla. - The first stage of spring training is now behind us. You know, the stage where each starting pitcher goes out and fires two or three innings, and then says he felt good regardless of the results. “Oh, I gave up six runs in two innings? I was just trying to throw strikes, so mission accomplished.” “My curveball looked flat? Well I just

Desmond finds his way into the hit column

VIERA, Fla. - Davey Johnson hopped out of the dugout with a few innings left in this afternoon’s game with the Cardinals and told home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom that he only had enough pitching to last nine innings. Cederstrom informed Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who agreed to end the game after nine innings if the two teams happened to be locked in a tie.

Zimmermann fights lack of fastball command in scoreless outing (3-3 final)

VIERA, Fla. - All three of Jordan Zimmermann’s strikeouts during his three scoreless innings this afternoon came on sliders. But while the slider was working today, the Nationals’ starter was less than thrilled with his fastball command in his spring training debut. “I felt OK,” Zimmermann said. “I had a rough time locating the fastball today, but I threw some good ones when I needed

Power slowly starting to return for DeRosa

VIERA, Fla. - Much like ligament replacement surgery in the elbow is named after a pitcher who underwent such a procedure, Mark DeRosa thinks wrist surgeries should have his name attached to them. “They named Tommy John (surgery) after him,” DeRosa joked. DeRosa has probably earned that right. His left wrist has been under the knife enough times that the 37-year-old could probably perform the

Another Nats starter looks good in spring debut

VIERA, Fla. - These Nationals starters keep matching each other. It’d be nice if they can do it when the games count, as well, but manager Davey Johnson will take strong innings anytime he can get them. Jordan Zimmermann is done after three scoreless frames this afternoon. The righty allowed three hits and a walk and hit a batter, but struck out three, including a

At-bats for LaRoche plus today’s lineup

VIERA, Fla. - Pitchers don’t start hitting during Grapefruit League games for another week or so, but this morning, they got a chance to place orders for what type of bat they’d like to use. The result was a few blank stares and some general confusion in the Nationals clubhouse about what style and model number each guy should go with. Reliever Brad Lidge joked

Could Chien-Ming Wang be Nats’ ace in the hole?

VIERA, Fla. - Two days ago, after watching Chien-Ming Wang throw two innings in an intrasquad game, manager Davey Johnson declared that the veteran right-hander looked to be stronger than he was at the end of last season, when he made 11 starts for the Nationals after recovering from a shoulder injury. “He looks like the old Chien-Ming,” Johnson confidently stated. The old Chien-Ming was

Johnson talks Werth, DeRosa, Desmond’s defense

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Two balls left Champion Stadium off Washington Nationals’ bats this afternoon. The first came in the second inning when Jayson Werth smacked the first pitch he saw over the right field wall, perhaps benefiting slightly from a heavy wind going out to right. Regardless of whether the long ball was wind-aided, it was a shot, no doubt about that. Manager

Report: Nationals in talks with Lee County over City of Palms Park

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Nationals appear to be taking tentative steps toward moving their spring training home from Space Coast Stadium to Fort Myers, Fla. According to this tweet from Peter Gammons of the MLB Network and MLB.com, the Nationals have given Lee County their plans for a reconstruction of City of Palms Park, the former spring base of the Red Sox. Boston

Radar readings nearly as impressive as Gonzalez’s stuff

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - On Gio Gonzalez’s first official pitch of spring training, the radar gun on the scoreboard at Champion Stadium read 94 mph. On his final pitch of his first inning of work, the gun flashed 95 mph. Gonzalez doesn’t buy those figures. “I think these guns were juiced a little bit,” Gonzalez laughed. “I don’t know if it was really 95.”

Nats not concerned about Morse’s injury (Nats win 5-2)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - It appears Michael Morse’s injury isn’t anything to worry about. Morse was pulled from the Nationals’ lineup less than an hour prior to this afternoon’s game against the Braves because of a lat strain, an injury which can sometimes sideline players for multiple weeks. But the Nationals’ left fielder, who led the team in home runs, RBIs and batting average

Gonzalez makes a strong first impression

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Gio Gonzalez looks pretty darn good in a Nationals uniform. Making his Nats debut today, Gonzalez looked very sharp, going three scoreless innings, allowing one hit, one walk and striking out two. The power lefty threw 41 pitches, 23 of which were strikes. He sat 91-94 MPH with his fastball, and touched 95. Gonzalez struck out Braves left fielder Matt

Werth goes yard, Harper goes too far (updated)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Jayson Werth smacked the first pitch he saw today on a line over the right field wall, giving the center fielder his first hit of spring and giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead over the Braves. The ball got out of here quickly, and while it might have been wind-aided, it was definitely struck well. Two batters later, right fielder

Morse pulled from lineup with lat strain; Harper to start

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Michael Morse was scheduled to get his second start of spring this afternoon against the Braves. That won’t be happening. Morse has been pulled from today’s lineup because of a lat strain. According to the team, Morse is listed as day-to-day. Manager Davey Johnson worked around the Morse injury by moving Brett Carroll from right field to Morse’s left field

One thing the Nats want Harper to work on

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Greetings from the Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World, where the Nationals will take on the Braves in about an hour or so. I can neither confirm nor deny reports that I started crying tears of joy when I drove past the “Happiest Place on Earth” sign on my way in. Right-handed flamethrower Henry Rodriguez got some work

With Johnson as instructor, second base will become classroom

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The class will convene sometime in the next couple of days on the half field at Space Coast Stadium. Nationals manager Davey Johnson will assume the role of teacher, working with several players on how to be a better second baseman. It’s Johnson’s positional version of post-graduate study for guys like Anthony Rendon, a natural third baseman currently blocked by

Adam LaRoche feeling better, eyeing Wednesday return (Davey says no)

VIERA, Fla. - A week of rest has apparently benefited Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche, who says that both his surgically repaired left shoulder and his injured left foot are feeling strong after getting a handful of days off. “I feel better,” LaRoche said moments ago in the Nats’ clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium. “Last couple days, I feel a lot better. Just one of

New plate approach paying dividends for Ankiel

VIERA, Fla. - It was only fitting that Rick Ankiel went yard last night. The pride of Port St. Lucie High School had to put on a show back in his old stomping grounds. In front of a group of friends and some of his high school teachers, Ankiel smacked an opposite-field home run in his first at-bat against the Mets last night, sending a

Bryce Harper channels ... Ichiro?

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Another day, two more hits for Bryce Harper. The Nationals’ top prospect is now an impressive 4-for-7 in Grapefruit League play after tonight’s 3-1 Nats win over the Mets, a game in which Harper went 2-for-2 with a walk. But those four hits might not have come the way many people would expect. All four have been ground ball singles,

Spring competition begins for Lannan (Nats win 3-1)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - This spring is a little different for John Lannan. Instead of going into Grapefruit League competition knowing that he’s got a spot in the Nationals’ rotation all but guaranteed, Lannan is now aware that his chances of making the Nats’ starting five are dependent on how he performs in spring training. Still, Lannan says he’s approaching this spring as he

Lannan done after three innings, Ankiel goes yard

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - All things considered, John Lannan’s first start of spring went just fine. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t terrible, but Lannan worked his way through three innings tonight against the Mets, allowing one run and three hits, walking one and striking out one. The run came in the first when Lannan allowed a leadoff walk to Mets center fielder Andres Torres,

First Wang, now Lannan

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - A day that started with Chien-Ming Wang’s strong intrasquad start continues here as the Nationals prepare to take on the Mets at Digital Domain Park. It was just a 75-minute drive south from the Nats’ facilities in Viera here to the Mets’ complex, which, from my perspective, is actually fairly nice considering I had multiple people tell me it’s “a

Johnson on Chien-Ming Wang: “He’s back”

VIERA, Fla. - Both right-hander Chien-Ming Wang and manager Davey Johnson were pleased with the two-inning effort turned in by the Nationals starter during a minor league intrasquad game this afternoon. “I liked what I saw,” Johnson said. “He’s obviously stronger than last year, even in his warm-ups. He looks like the old Chien-Ming.” Wang, who had been dealing with some stiffness in his throwing

Waiting on Wang in intrasquad (plus tonight’s lineup)

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals have a night game in Port St. Lucie tonight, but there’s still action around Space Coast Stadium early this afternoon. Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang will take the mound in the Nationals’ intrasquad game at 1 p.m., which will be the veteran’s first time throwing to hitters since last Monday’s live batting practice. Wang is working through some stiffness in his pitching

Shared experience will link Solis, Zimmermann

VIERA, Fla. - The call may not come tomorrow, or even in the next week or the next month. But Jordan Zimmermann is sure he’ll pick up his cell phone sometime in the near future and punch in Sammy Solis’ phone number. When Solis picks up, he’ll have a lifeline to someone who’s gone through what he’s facing. Solis, a promising left-hander, will undergo Tommy

Meeting with the manager

VIERA, Fla. - In Davey Johnson’s eyes, Stephen Strasburg had a bit too much adrenaline running through him while out on the mound today, leading to a little bit of wildness. “Stras was too hyped up, amped up,” Johnson said. “You could tell from the first pitch he threw he was loaded for bear. But other than that, everybody came through all right.” Johnson said

Strasburg: “It was pretty much a breeze” (Nats lose 10-2)

VIERA, Fla. - It’s probably a good thing when a pitcher leaves the mound after his first spring training start feeling like he has a good bit more in the tank. That’s how Stephen Strasburg felt after throwing 44 pitches in 2 2/3 innings today against the Astros. “I felt good,” Strasburg said. “Arm felt strong. The big thing was going out there trying to

This sure isn’t pretty

VIERA, Fla. - It’s only spring training. It’s only spring training. Just repeat after me. And do the “Woo-sah” if you start getting overly frustrated. The Nationals trail the Astros 9-1 after five innings, largely because left-hander Tom Gorzelanny couldn’t find the plate. And when he did, Houston teed off. Gorzelanny retired just three Astros, and in his one inning of work, he allowed seven

Strasburg’s day is done

VIERA, Fla. - Nationals manager Davey Johnson had said that Stephen Strasburg was on a 45-pitch limit today. Strasburg’s 44th pitch of the afternoon set down Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez swinging, and that marked the end of his day. The right-hander finishes having thrown 2 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits and a wild pitch. Strasburg had three strikeouts, two of which were

Strasburg works a perfect first (and is through the second)

VIERA, Fla. - It might be his first game action this spring, but Stephen Strasburg looked like Stephen Strasburg in his first inning of work this afternoon. Strasburg set the Astros down in order in the top of the first, retiring Jordan Schafer on a fly ball to right, getting Marwin Gonzalez on a first-pitch grounder to first base, and striking out Brian Bogusevic swinging.

This season, it’s all about the Natitude

Teenagers have attitudes. Senior citizens have attitudes. Yours truly stuck in Beltway rush hour gridlock has an attitude. But Natitude? That’s all you, Nationals fans. We’re only a few weeks away from the start of the 2012 regular season and the buzz in the nation’s capital is fierce. This year’s squad is young, they’re hungry and they’re in prime position to reach the postseason for

Flores flourishing early in camp

VIERA, Fla. - Not too long ago, Jesus Flores was viewed as the Nationals’ catcher of the future. Now, he’s just trying to prove he can stay healthy for a full season and contribute at the big league level. Right shoulder problems - a fractured shoulder blade and a torn labrum - have in many ways wiped out the 27-year-old’s last three seasons. He played

Don’t expect Morse to see time at first base

VIERA, Fla. - They just pulled the tarp off the field here at Space Coast Stadium, and the rain appears to be gone for the rest of the day. We’re just left with 56-degree temperatures and a strong wind. For those of you up north who are rolling your eyes right now, I’m not complaining, I’m just saying. Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for

Storm passes, leaving wind in its wake

VIERA, Fla. - We’ve survived a gullywasher that blew through Brevard County this morning, and now Space Coast Stadium is being whipped by gusty winds. On my drive from my hotel in Melbourne this morning, I was three blocks from the ballpark when a weather advisory warning of winds in excess of 50 mph interrupted my morning helping of classic rock. How windy is it?

Nats trying not to harp on Harper

VIERA, Fla. - Bryce Harper is the story of Nationals camp to 99 percent of the interested public. But the 19-year-old phenom isn’t the story of camp in Davey Johnson’s world. Asked a Harper-related question by a national reporter yesterday - far from the first he’s had to answer on that topic this spring - Johnson made it clear that he’s getting a little tired

Talking hurlers and Harper

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Edwin Jackson said he spent today’s outing focusing on his adjusted mechanics which should help him avoid tipping his pitches. Pitching coach Steve McCatty would prefer the righty didn’t let those thoughts run through his head while on the mound. “To me, we’re not going to make a mechanical issue about anything,” McCatty said. “I’m not worried about tipping, nothing. I want

Facing Nats a strange feeling for Livan Hernandez

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - As much as he wanted to return to the Nationals, Livan Hernandez knew he’d be pitching elsewhere in 2012. That destination, unknown when he had an end-of-season meeting with manager Davey Johnson, wound up being Houston, and the soft-tossing right-hander made his Astros debut by pitching two scoreless innings against his old mates Saturday. The night before he took the mound at

Jackson’s focus on mechanical adjustments in debut (updated with 3-1 final)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Edwin Jackson got a bit of on-the-job training today. The Nationals starter is working to adjust his mechanics in an effort to avoid tipping his pitches, and so the 28-year-old spent much of today’s two-inning stint against the Astros focusing on “timing” issues. “I felt good,” Jackson said in the Nats clubhouse after his outing. “I had a few minor adjustments that

Nats trail Astros 2-1 in fifth

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The Nationals trail the Astros 2-1 heading to the bottom of the fifth inning. Successive doubles by Roger Bernadina and Jesus Flores off Brett Myers in the top of the fifth plated the Nats’ first run of the Grapefruit League campaign. The Astros took a 2-0 lead in the fourth on a two-run homer by Chris Johnson off Ross Detwiler. With one

Johnson looking hard at lefties

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - New Nationals right-hander Edwin Jackson will be on a pitch count of 40-45 for today’s Grapefruit League opener against the Astros. Houston will send very few “names” against Jackson today, unless Jack Cust and Jed Lowrie are your idea of stud big leaguers. Manager Davey Johnson wrote up a lineup dominated by left-handed hitters today, largely because the Nats will face right-hander

Werth in Sunday’s lineup, playing center field

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Jayson Werth’s back spasms are a problem no more, and he’ll start in center field Sunday when the Nationals open their home Grapefruit League season against the Astros at Space Coast Stadium on Sunday, according to the lineup posted Saturday morning. But questions about Werth’s recovery and his ability to move from right field to center were met with some resistance by

Today marks Harper’s first true test

VIERA, Fla. - How many blog entries can one reporter write about one specific player in one spring training? Get ready to find out. I’ve been here two days and somehow I already feel like I’ve typed Bryce Harper’s name a thousand times. It’s certainly no secret that Harper is the story of this year’s Nationals spring training. I wrote about the 19-year-old phenom following

Harper creative yet quiet in spring opener

VIERA, Fla. - Nationals fans might be eager to see Bryce Harper mash home runs and rack up RBIs in spring training, but leading off the third inning in today’s exhibition game against Georgetown, the Nats’ top prospect decided he wanted to drop down a bunt. It might not be Harper’s forte, and the Nats sure don’t expect the power-hitting right fielder to make bunting

Poised Purke dominates Hoyas, earns extra inning of work

VIERA, Fla. - Matt Purke sprinted off the mound after freezing Justin Leeson with an inside pitch that went for a called third strike to end the second inning. The left-hander, a third-round pick of the Nationals in June’s draft, thought his day was over. But he’d been so pitch-efficient that he wound up working the third inning and still didn’t reach his 40-pitch limit.

Outfielder Perez turning heads with his speed (Nats win 3-0)

VIERA, Fla. - If you’re an opposing infielder and Eury Perez hits the ball on the ground, good luck throwing out the speedy outfielder. Same goes for opposing catchers should Perez decide to try and swipe a bag. Perez, a 21-year-old who played last year at Single-A Potomac, doesn’t have a hit yet today, but he’s still found a way to make a major impact

Nationals agree to terms with 15; Storen, Bernadina renewed

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals, who are still up 2-0 on Georgetown in today’s exhibition game in the top of the sixth, just announced that they’ve agreed to terms with 15 players for 2012 and renewed the contracts of closer Drew Storen and outfielder Roger Bernadina. That means all players on the club’s 40-man roster are now under contract. Those signed are left-handers Ross Detwiler

Purke’s spring debut a strong one

VIERA, Fla. - Sure, it was against collegiate opposition, but Matt Purke looked pretty darn good in his spring debut. Facing Georgetown University in the Nationals’ first game of the spring, Purke - the Nats’ third-round pick in June’s draft - went three strong innings, allowing no runs and just one hit. Purke struck out three (including two looking) and did not walk a batter.

Harper busy in early going of first exhibition

VIERA, Fla. - Going to the bottom of the second here at Space Coast Stadium, and Bryce Harper is making a nice impression in his first game action of the spring. In the first inning, the right fielder was in the middle of a rally that provided the Nationals with a 1-0 lead against Georgetown righty Will Harris. With one out, Xavier Paul singled to

Johnson a bit too “frisky” for exhibition opener

VIERA, Fla. - Think it’s just players who get pumped up for the first exhibition game of spring training? Think again. Nationals manager Davey Johnson was so juiced (or, in his words, “frisky”) for today’s exhibition against Georgetown that he ramped up his morning treadmill session. The result wasn’t what the skipper was hoping for. “I overloaded my hummingbird rear end and a little air

Johnson all but rules out Werth, LaRoche for this weekend

VIERA, Fla. - If outfielder Jayson Werth and first baseman Adam LaRoche are going to play in Grapefruit League games this weekend, it’ll take some amazing recuperative powers and a departure from the conservative approach the Nationals have taken with even minor injuries. Manager Davey Johnson all but ruled the pair out of Saturday’s game at Kissimmee, Fla., and Sunday’s home opener, both against the

Nationals’ Saturday lineup at Astros

VIERA, Fla. - Greetings from Space Coast Stadium, where the Nationals are entertaining Georgetown University in an exhibition game today at noon. If there’s such a thing as a pre-preseason game, this is it. The Nationals are taking on the Hoyas in a game that will give manager Davey Johnson and his staff a chance to see some of the younger players in camp. Johnson

New bench coach Knorr has to think for himself

VIERA, Fla. - Randy Knorr may be new to his role as the Nationals’ bench coach, but he’s not unfamiliar with the team or the inner workings of a major league club. Knorr played 11 years in the bigs as a catcher and spent two tours of duty as a bullpen coach with the Nationals. He skippered in the team’s farm system for six seasons,

Additional playoff team could create possibility for Nats

VIERA, Fla. - Davey Johnson doesn’t mind the notion of Major League Baseball adding a playoff team in each league. But he’d prefer the Nationals not try to sneak in as a wild card team. “Now you’re talking about a third way to make the playoffs,” he said. “I never look at (that option). I always address it as winning the division. I think everybody

Extra effort gives Lidge markedly better results

VIERA, Fla. - Michael Morse swung and drove a low pitch from Brad Lidge into the ground, the ball dribbling to a stop at the lip of the infield where grass turns into dirt in front of the hole at shortstop. On the next pitch, Morse barely made contact on a letter-high offering, and the ball fluttered into the netting of the batting cage above

Eckstein impressed by Harper’s commitment to the art of hitting

VIERA, Fla. - Rick Eckstein was talking shop with some of the Nationals’ hitters the other day when Bryce Harper injected himself into the discussion. What the Washington hitting coach heard from his top prospect made Eckstein smile when he recounted the tale because it spoke to how advanced a hitter Harper is, assuming you can believe that a 19-year-old with no major league experience

Johnson sets lineup for exhibition vs. Georgetown

VIERA, Fla. - Nationals manager Davey Johnson has announced his starting lineup for Friday’s exhibition game against the Georgetown Hoyas: 2B - Steve Lombardozzi LF - Xavier Paul RF - Bryce Harper 1B - Tyler Moore DH - Brett Carroll 3B - Anthony Rendon CF - Corey Brown SS - Andres Blanco C - Sandy Leon P - Matthew Purke Purke will be limited to

Mild ankle sprain gives LaRoche chance to rest shoulder (updated)

VIERA, Fla. - A mild left ankle sprain will keep Adam LaRoche out of today’s organized workouts, but the Nationals first baseman expects to throw and hit a little in hopes of being ready to play Sunday for the team’s home Grapefruit League opener against the Astros. “I don’t want to flare it up any more than it is,” said LaRoche, who injured the ankle

Saturday starter Jackson eager to move on to next phase of preseason

VIERA, Fla. - For Edwin Jackson, starting Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Astros in Kissimmee, Fla., is nothing more than a ceremonial assignment. But the right-hander is eager to move on to the next phase of spring training and to begin forging a relationship with his starting catcher, likely Wilson Ramos. “It’s an upgrade from live BP,” Jackson said. “It’s more game mode. You’re

Newcomer Perry hopes trade to Nationals will help rebuild confidence

VIERA, Fla. - One look at Ryan Perry’s arms tells you the relief pitcher isn’t afraid to share his point of view. Each arm is covered in a sleeve of tattoos, and the intricate work on the baseball-themed ink on his left arm is the newest addition. It was done this winter by Glendale, Ariz., tattoo artist Justin Kramer in three separate sessions that each

« February 2012 | Main Index | Archives | April 2012 »