VIERA, Fla. - Tyler Moore, Roger Bernadina, Chris Snyder and Chad Tracy all took their hacks against Stephen Strasburg this morning in the right-hander's first live batting practice session of spring.
As Bernadina warmed up just before stepping into the cage, he turned around and started chatting with a couple of reporters. I asked whether Bernadina would be going yard off Strasburg, and Bernadina quickly turned his head toward the mound as Strasburg fired in a few warm-up pitches that had to be in the mid-to-upper-90s.
"He's too much ahead of me right now," Bernadina said with a smile. "I'll be happy if I make contact."
Bernadina did, in fact, make contact; he fouled off one of the five pitches he saw from Strasburg during his first round at the plate, and then put two in play (a chopper to first base and a liner in the hole between first and second) in his second round.
All in all, Strasburg threw 37 pitches. Only seven of those were hit out of the cage, and five were put in play. The right-hander looked pretty sharp, painting the inner half to righties with his fastball and mixing in a couple nice curves.
Moore made the best contact off Strasburg, ripping a hanging curveball up the middle and taking another pitch to left through the hole.
Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos took some cuts against Ross Detwiler and appeared to be in decent form, smoking a ball just foul down the right field line. He then took the second pitch he saw from Drew Storen to the track in center.
Storen's live BP session was probably the most impressive I saw today. He looked to have great velocity on his heater, painting the inside corner to right-handed hitters, and threw a few nasty sliders.
One of those sliders was so tight that it caused Jayson Werth's knees to buckle just slightly, drawing a laugh from Werth and a bit of a "My goodness" shake of the head.
Bryce Harper struck two pitches pretty well off Ryan Mattheus, sending a deep fly ball to the track in left, and smoking a hot shot line drive into the left-center gap.
Danny Espinosa also got into one off Nathan Karns, crushing it over the center field fence.