Nats hoping to play through the drops, plus lineups

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The tarp is on the field here at Champion Stadium at ESPN's Wide World of Sports, and the skies have opened up.

They're calling for some pretty heavy showers here this afternoon and I've even heard rumblings of a tornado watch, but the Nationals are really hoping to get today's contest in, largely because they want to get Ross Detwiler into a game.

Detwiler is scheduled to leave the Nats on March 4 to join Team USA for the World Baseball Classic. He'll get a March 9 start for Team USA, but manager Davey Johnson really wants to get Detwiler two starts in Nats camp before his left-hander departs.

Ideally, that would start with two or three innings of work today and then three or four innings on March 3. We'll see if the weather cooperates with that plan.

"It's an important day for him," Johnson said.

While Wilson Ramos said this morning that he hoped to begin sliding today, Johnson said he had heard something different from the training staff. The report that Johnson got said that Ramos would be checked by team medical director Dr. Wiemi Douoguih on March 6 and then potentially could begin sliding thereafter.

Regardless, Johnson likes the way Ramos is progressing.

"I've said he's game-ready for the last week, but what do I know," Johnson said. "But there's no major hurry ... except that he missed all of last year, didn't play winter ball. I wanted to get him swinging the bat a little bit. But he's swinging the heck out of it in BP. I like his stroke. He's very comfortable in his own skin. I'd rather be on the cautious side with him before he gets in ballgames. He feels like he's close, but if we could get the doctors on the same page, I'll be ready to let him go run out there."

Johnson apparently brought his sense of humor with him on this trip, by the way.

"I told (Ramos), as slow as he is, he isn't ever gonna have to slide. He's gonna get tagged out in front of the base," Johnson quipped. "Well that's what I told the trainer. I didn't tell Willy."

Johnson added that Chad Tracy is ready to go after resting yesterday due to a bruised right arm. The veteran infielder will be in the Nationals' lineup tomorrow against the Marlins, playing third base.

For the Nats
CF Eury Perez
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Bryce Harper
1B Tyler Moore
SS Ian Desmond
DH Chris Marrero
RF Carlos Rivero
3B Anthony Rendon
C Jhonatan Solano
P Ross Detwiler

For the Braves
LF Reed Johnson
RF Jason Heyward
DH Justin Upton
1B Freddie Freeman
CF B.J. Upton
2B Dan Uggla
3B Juan Francisco
C Christian Bethancourt
SS Ramiro Pena
P Mike Minor

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