VIERA, Fla. - Greetings from a damp and cloudy Viera.
I arrived last night, still reeling from the news that Verizon is discontinuing its time and weather service. Weather, OK, I understand that. But time? I'm sorry, but that's a service I use frequently when I'm getting my boarding pass online for a flight the next day.
I know I'm not the only one who uses it for that purpose. When the airline doesn't let you check in until 24 hours before the flight is scheduled, and you're desperate to be in the "A" boarding group, you need that magic tone that tells you it's okay to click that mouse.
But I digress.
The Nationals are playing the Mets at home today, and the Astros tonight in Kissimmee, in another split-squad affair. The game in Viera started an hour late due to the rain this morning, but the extra time gave me some time to catch up with some scouts and some out-of-town media.
There's a continuing theme that begins these conversations that goes something like this: "Your club looks pretty good" or "You guys are going to be a handful" or something similar.
One Mets reporter likened what's happening with their club in the media to Chico Escuela's famous book from "Saturday Night Live" 30 years ago: "Bad Stuff 'Bout the Mets." The financial issues that have connected the Mets to the Bernie Madoff scandal may impact that team for years to come.
Chad Gaudin drew the start today for Washington, and through two innings, he's retired all six hitters, striking out three. I can see Gaudin making this club as a long reliever. He's made 75 big league starts in an eight-year career, and would love that fifth starter's slot, but that's probably not why he's here.
Nyjer Morgan had another hit and scored the first of three first-inning Washington runs, a pair knocked in by Adam LaRoche with a ground-rule double. Morgan's slow start down here is history.
There are just short of three weeks left in spring training, and things can change. An Astros' scout is here - they're still interested in finding a catcher - and as I said last week, I think they're more interested in Ivan Rodriguez than Jesus Flores. They don't necessarily want another young catching prospect - they don't have much to offer in exchange. Flores, whose throwing arm is still not 100 percent, would be considered more of a project. Their priority is a catch-and-throw guy, and any offense would be a bonus.
Gaudin got through three innings, allowing just a single hit. It should've been three perfect, but for a fly ball misjudged by Laynce Nix in the third that gave Met shortstop Chin-lung Hu - that's correct, Hu is not on first - a cheap double.
I'll check back in later.