VIERA, Fla. - Former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie is here at Space Coast Stadium today, wearing a personalized No. 22 Nationals jersey.
Flutie, who went to Boston College, also has shorts with a Red Sox logo on them, repping two organizations at once. I guess we can let that slide.
Flutie took batting practice in the Nats’ third hitting group today and spent some time talking to players and team staffers. The former Heisman Trophy winner and Pro Bowler actually has a pretty good swing and still looks like he’s in pretty good shape for a guy in his 50s.
Back to actual Nationals updates, right-hander Ryan Mattheus said today that he’s thrown off flat ground from 90 feet as he tries to work back from inflammation in his chest that recently caused him to miss nearly two weeks of workouts.
Mattheus will continue to progress slowly, as he still feels some discomfort in the chest when lifting, but his health has improved to the point that he hopes he can get back on a mound in about a week.
Infielder Zach Walters is also progressing after being scratched from Wednesday’s game due to flu-like symptoms. Walters has participated in workouts the last two days and says he feels a lot better now than he did earlier this week.
I mentioned earlier that the Nats scratched Doug Fister from today’s game because of right elbow inflammation and slid Tanner Roark into the starting spot for this afternoon, but that wasn’t the only change to their pitching schedule for the next few days.
Right-hander Taylor Jordan had been scheduled to start the road half of tomorrow’s split-squad game against the Cardinals, but Chris Young will now make that start. Jordan will stay back and pitch against the Braves here in Viera, piggybacking Ross Detwiler, who will get the start against Atlanta tomorrow.
Manager Matt Williams said that he made the change because he wants to get a chance to watch Jordan in person. The 25-year-old righty is a candidate for the Nats’ fifth starter spot, and has allowed two runs on six hits with five strikeouts over four innings so far this spring.
Williams will manage the game here at Space Coast Stadium tomorrow, while bench coach Randy Knorr will head down to Jupiter and skipper the away split-squad game.
“I wanted to get a chance to see him,” Williams said of Jordan. “I’ve certainly seen Chris more than Taylor. So I wanted to see him pitch here tomorrow.”
Here are the lineups for today’s matchup between the Nats and Astros:
For the Nats
CF Denard Span
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
LF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
DH Tyler Moore
2B Jamey Carroll
RHP Tanner Roark
For the Astros
CF Robbie Grossman
2B Jose Altuve
1B Marc Krauss
DH Chris Carter
LF Jesus Guzman
RF George Springer
C Carlos Corporan
3B Marwin Gonzalez
SS Jonathan Villar
LHP Brett Oberholtzer