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. His command I'm sure wasn't what he wanted it, but he was awful close."
On whether Wang has completed his comeback from shoulder surgery: "What I'm seeing now is he's pretty much making the trip completely back. ... When you think of it, at the back of the rotation having a Chien-Ming Wang? With his experience and what he's throwing now?"
On first baseman Adam LaRoche's injury-delayed Grapefruit League debut, in which he singled in his first at-bat: "He's going to play tomorrow. He wanted to get a couple of at-bats and I said, 'Get a couple of at-bats and see how you feel tomorrow.' After he came out, he said, 'I want to play tomorrow.' So that's good."
On the Nationals a week into the exhibition season: "The progress I've seen from last year to this year has been great. And I think all the guys feel it, too."
Designated hitter Wilson Ramos was 2-for-4 with two RBIS and talked about his progress at the plate this spring:
On working with hitting coach Rick Eckstein: "I'm working hard, trying to hit the ball the other way. I'm working hard and I feel better. I feel comfortable. I feel comfortable when I hit the ball to the other way. ... That's what I'm looking for."
On his approach at the plate: "I'm trying to stay more relaxed at the plate. Sometimes, when I'm more aggressive, I don't feel good. ... I'm trying to be more relaxed and put a good swing on the ball."