VIERA, Fla. - I love watching major league teams take infield, and luckily for me, the Nationals have done plenty of quick-moving infield drills so far this camp.
Manager Matt Williams grabbed his fungo bat and hit grounders to his top two groups of infielders this morning, putting them through the drill at a crisp pace.
Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman both put on a show with some nice barehanded grabs, and Danny Espinosa continued to look smooth at short playing behind Desmond.
Have I mentioned Espinosa’s arm is kinda impressive?
Stephen Strasburg threw his second live batting practice session of camp today, facing Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, Tyler Moore and Sandy Leon.
Not much to report from Strasburg’s session other than that the right-hander looked good. He continued to mix in his slider a bit, and other than a few soft line drives and grounders, he didn’t give up much contact.
Drew Storen took the mound for his first live BP of camp today, and he had an impressive session. Storen gave up a hard-hit ball to Wilson Ramos that bounced over the right field fence, but then blew a fastball by Ramos in the catcher’s next turn in the cage.
Storen also showed off a sharp changeup today, which drew multiple swings and misses from Tyler Moore.
“Was good,” catcher Jhonatan Solano said, when I asked him how Storen looked from behind the plate. “Nasty changeup.”
We had a little bit of friendly fire today, as reliever Clay Hensley drilled Anthony Rendon in the left hip when trying to come inside during his live BP.
Rendon briefly hopped around, trying to shake it off, all with a smile on his face. Hensley immediately took a few steps towards Rendon and started apologizing, and Rendon laughed the incident off.
No teammate-on-teammate brawls today.
Hensley sawed off Ian Desmond with one pitch, sending the barrel of Desmond’s bat flipping through the air to the third base side of the mound. After his session was over, Hensley and Desmond spent a couple minutes chatting about the movement on Hensley’s curveball. The right-hander missed on the curve a few times to Leon, only to eventually bring a tight one in over the inner half to Desmond.
Left-hander Felipe Rivero, one of the minor leaguers the Nats got from the Rays in addition to catcher Jose Lobaton, faced the Nats’ A-team during his live BP session. He saw Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos, Jayson Werth, Denard Span and Scott Hairston during his time on the mound.
Harper was first in to face Rivero, and he was caught off-balance on a nice curveball from the lefty, drawing some chuckles from Harper and his teammates. Ramos was also bested by a Rivero curve, swinging and missing at one down in the zone.
Rivero definitely brings the heat, but he nearly drilled Werth with one fastball that missed way off the plate inside to the Nats’ right fielder.
Meanwhile, right-hander Erik Davis, who is on the 60-day disabled list with a right elbow strain, will see the Nationals’ doctors on Saturday to check and see how his elbow is recovering.
Saturday will mark 3 1/2 weeks since Davis felt discomfort in the elbow during a bullpen session, and 2 1/2 weeks since he last saw the Nats’ doctors. He hopes to begin doing some throwing soon, although this session with the doctors will determine how quickly he’ll be able to start ramping things up.