Taylor will be gone several days for family issue (Nats win 10-4)


Score: Nationals 10, Marlins 4

Recap: The Nationals broke out their bats early and often at Roger Dean Stadium, with Ryan Zimmerman leading the charge. Zimmerman went 3-for-3 with a homer, a double and a walk, leaving the veteran first baseman in a 7-for-10 hot streak after an 0-for-17 slump to open the spring. Clint Robinson also provided a big blast, clearing the bases with a three-run double in the top of the first, his first extra-base hit of the spring. Stephen Strasburg labored through a 28-pitch first inning in which two runs scored, but the right-hander retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced before departing with one out in the fifth and his pitch count at 79.

Need to know: Shawn Kelley made his first Grapefruit League appearance in 10 days, tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings. With so many pitchers in camp who needed to be looked at by the coaching staff, the Nationals had Kelley (who is assured of a roster spot) pitch in minor league games in the interim.

On deck: Monday, vs. Yankees in West Palm Beach, 1:05 p.m. on MASN

JUPITER, Fla. - Michael A. Taylor remains away from the Nationals due to a family issue, and is likely to be gone a little while longer.

“Probably a couple days or more,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Texting him this morning, I told him take whatever time he needs.”

Taylor left camp abruptly Saturday morning, his spot in the lineup taken over by fellow outfielder Brian Goodwin. Taylor is from Fort Lauderdale, only a short drive from the team’s complex in West Palm Beach.

Michael-A.-Taylor-gray-swing.pngThe Nationals are facing a tough call with Taylor before the end of the spring. The 25-year-old is once again tearing up the Grapefruit League, batting .444 (16-for-36) with two homers, seven RBIs, six stolen bases and a 1.167 OPS. But given his struggles at the big league level last season, Taylor is no sure thing to make the opening day roster over Goodwin, Wilmer Difo or another bench candidate.

Jose Lobaton, meanwhile, is due to return to action Monday after missing the last eight days with tightness in his left forearm.

Lobaton was scheduled to play in today’s minor league game in West Palm Beach, catching Blake Treinen and Joe Blanton (who were getting extra work). The ailment to his non-throwing forearm is related to the issue that plagued him for a while last summer, though Baker said this case hasn’t been as severe.

“We wanted to catch it before it got to that,” the manager said.

Jayson Werth, who was scratched from Saturday’s game with a sore knee, is expected to return Monday, according to Baker.

Update: The Nationals have broken out a 7-2 lead over the Marlins through the first three innings this afternoon. Clint Robinson cleared the bases with a three-run double to deep center in the top of the first, a much-needed hit for the first baseman who was 5-for-31 with zero extra base hits entering the day.

The Nats scored four more runs in the top of the third, with highlights including a Ryan Zimmerman double (giving him five hits in eight at-bats after starting the spring 0-for-17) and a two-run single by Rafael Bautista (who was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse the other day but has continued playing in major league games).

Stephen Strasburg labored through a 28-pitch first inning, allowing three hits including a two-run single to onetime Nationals farmhand Destin Hood. The right-hander has been better since, retiring seven straight batters. His pitch count (61 in three innings) is still high, though.

Update II: Zimmerman’s long-awaited resurgence is now in full swing. The veteran first baseman has gone 3-for-3 with a homer, a double and a walk today, making him 7-for-10 since the 0-for-17 slump to begin the spring. His two-run homer in the top of the sixth was an opposite-field blast, and his third well-struck ball of the afternoon.

Strasburg, meanwhile, was pulled after 4 1/3 innings, with his pitch count at 79. He did finish strong, retiring 11 of the last 12 batters he faced. His final line: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO.

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