Nationals Chatter: Recovery comparisons, Williams and Desmond profiles

Happy new year, baseball fans!

I know 2014 technically started in January, so I guess I should be more specific. Happy baseball new year!

The Nationals kicked off the 2014 season in dramatic, extra-inning fashion on Monday.

With the excitement of opening day, you may have missed some stories about the team from other media outlets.

* Back in 2012 the Nats were in the midst of a division race with the Atlanta Braves. In early September, the team decided to shutdown ace Stephen Strasburg because he had reached his post-Tommy John surgery innings limit. Since his surgery, Strasburg has been relatively injury-free. The same cannot be said for the Braves' Kris Medlen. Medlen, who underwent his second Tommy John Surgery early last month, was not placed on an innings restriction and ended up reinjuring himself. There's a more scientific breakdown of the way Medlen and Strasburg rehabed and subsequently return to their teams. Click here if you want to read more.

* Rookie reliever Aaron Barrett was not the only one to earn his first major league win on Monday's opening day. Manager Matt Williams earned his first win as well. Sports on Earth's Howard Megdal spent a day with Williams in spring training and provides behind the scenes view of the new Nats skipper. Williams believes communication with his players is one of the most important aspects of his new job. The profile is really well written and even has a picture from Williams' playing days. Interested in reading more? Click here.

* As one of the longest tenured players on the team, shortstop Ian Desmond is often listen among the club's leaders. Desmond is not just a leader among the Nationals' 25-man roster, but the minor leaguers, as Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post explains. Desmond mentors players within the organization. Desmond has earned the respect of players and coaches throughout the organization. Bench coach Randy Knorr may sum Desmond up best, "We were hitting" in the batting cage, bench coach Randy Knorr said. "Guys were standing around, and they would go, 'Boy, that guy's a leader, man. I'd follow him anywhere.' "

* Finally, I'll leave this week's post with a preseason rankings list from FOXsports.com. I'll try to include rankings in Nationals Chatter throughout the season. Heading into Monday's opener, FOX ranked the Nationals the No. 7 team in baseball. The Nats find themselves just behind the Oakland Athletics and right in front of the New York Yankees. The key for the Nats will be getting off to a hot start, according to FOX.

That's a wrap of this week's Nationals Chatter. Don't forget to come back to MASNsports.com for complete Nationals coverage.

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