Baker, Maddux speak to USA coaching staff (Nats lose 9-3)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP

Score: Yankees 9, Nationals 3

Recap: The largest crowd of the spring to date (7,675, a sellout) saw some early offensive fireworks from both teams. The Yankees scored four runs in the top of the second off Vance Worley, taking advantage of two walks and then RBI hits by Rob Refsnyder, Ronald Torreyes and Brett Gardner. Worley rebounded from that and was able to go 3 1/3 innings on 61 pitches in his first start of the spring. The Nationals scored three runs in the bottom of the second off Michael Pineda, getting an RBI single from Adam Eaton and a two-run double from Adam Lind. Matt Holliday’s two-run homer off Jeremy Guthrie in the top of the fifth gave New York some cushion.

Need to know: In his first appearance since returning from the World Baseball Classic, Oliver PĂ©rez retired both batters he faced, striking out Gardner. ... Fellow lefty Neal Cotts, who had not allowed a run in six innings this spring, gave up three in the top of the eighth.

On deck: Tuesday vs. Braves in West Palm Beach, 1:05 p.m.

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Mike Maddux spoke with their counterparts from Team USA on Sunday evening to discuss the past and future usage of right-hander Tanner Roark and Daniel Murphy in the World Baseball Classic and the final week of spring training.

Baker spoke to USA manager Jim Leyland, who has mostly sat Murphy on the bench throughout the tournament, starting the reigning National League MVP runner-up in only two of his team’s six games to date. Barring a change of thinking, Murphy likely won’t be in the lineup for Tuesday night’s semifinal against Japan or (should the Americans win) Wednesday night’s championship game against either Puerto Rico or the Netherlands.

Baker-Maddux-Speier-Sidebar.jpgBaker also spoke directly to Murphy, who didn’t convey frustration with his lack of playing time.

“I talked to Murph,” Baker said. “He’s in a great state of mind, just wanted to know what was our game plan to get him ready when he comes back.”

Maddux, meanwhile, spoke to USA pitching coach Jeff Jones about the plan for Roark, who is starting Tuesday night’s game. The Nationals right-hander had built himself up before leaving camp for the WBC, but he has thrown only 1 1/3 innings of relief in the two-plus weeks since. Given that, he may have to be restricted against Japan and when he rejoins the Nats for his next start.

“When he left, he was up to four innings,” Baker said. “We can’t take him back to that threshold when he hasn’t pitched, so he’s more on a pitch count than probably almost anyone there.”

Left-hander Enny Romero, who pitched for the Dominican Republic, was back in West Palm Beach this morning for the first time since his team was eliminated from the tournament. Romero, who is trying to make the opening day bullpen and is out of minor league options, worked out pregame but then went home to rest after the long trip. He’s scheduled to return to full work Tuesday.

Update: Given a chance to start a game and stretch himself out for the first time this spring, Vance Worley had an up-and-down afternoon on the mound. Worley gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings, though he got better as his outing progressed. The right-hander, vying for a spot as the long man in the Nats bullpen, was done in by a pair of walks to lead off the second inning, with both runners coming around to score.

The Nationals lineup helped out by scoring three runs in the bottom of the second, via Adam Eaton’s RBI single and Adam Lind’s two-run double (a much-needed key hit for the veteran first baseman). Ryan Zimmerman, meanwhile, walked and scored in his first at-bat, then singled up the middle in his next at-bat. That leaves him 8 for his last 11 with three walks.

Jeremy Guthrie, also vying for a spot as the long man in the opening day bullpen, served up a two-run homer to Matt Holiday in the top of the fifth, leaving the Nats trailing 6-3.

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