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 win today, marking their 11th straight game without a victory. They recorded as many errors (four) as they did hits, and had another starting pitcher deliver a poor performance - statistically, at least.

"More of the same," said manager Davey Johnson, who later joked that the Nats haven't gotten many chances to play nine-inning games lately with all the losses on the road.

This is becoming a common theme for the Nats, who have really not looked good as of late. Still, Johnson continues to keep a positive attitude and said that he saw some pluses from starter Edwin Jackson, who struggled statistically in today's loss.

"I like the way he was throwing today," Johnson said. "Obviously, he wasn't hitting his spots. His location wasn't very good at all, but he got his work in. Not the way you want it in, but he got it in. ... I go more about the quality of the pitches. He made some pretty good hitters look real bad on some pitches, when he located.

"The only thing you really worry about in spring is arm strength and the kind of shape they're in. And I'm comfortable with all (my starters)."

Steve Lombardozzi made two throwing errors at third base today, with both skipping past the glove of first baseman Chad Tracy.

"The throw from third into the wind, that's probably the hardest thing for a guy that's used to playing second or short," Johnson said. "You get that ball going anywhere off line or into that wind, it's just going to go. Not worried about it."

Johnson passed along some updates on a few injured players, saying that Adam LaRoche (bone bruise on his left foot) will start running the bases Monday, Michael Morse (strained lat) will likely begin throwing Monday and reliever Sean Burnett (back spasms), who threw today back at the Nats' complex in Viera, will toss a side session tomorrow and might be ready to pitch in a game Tuesday.

Shortstop Ian Desmond, a Sarasota native and current resident, returned to play in front of his hometown fans today. It marked the first time the Nats shortstop had been back to play in Sarasota since getting drafted in 2004.

Desmond, who lives just a mile and a half from Ed Smith Stadium and grew up just four miles away, said he had a minimum of 100-200 people at today's game to watch him play, including friends, family members, old coaches and kids he knows from baseball camps. He rewarded them for showing up by knocking a single to right in the fifth inning.

"It was great," Desmond said. "One of the better days of my career."

Time to head back across the state. After what Johnson called a "grueling three days" on the road - and I concur with him there - the Nats have back-to-back home games the next two days; against the Mets tomorrow and Astros on Monday. Check in with you all tomorrow morning.

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