Afternoon Nats notes: Ramirez arrives, Marquis hopes to rebound

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals finished a light workout early this afternoon; most of their morning was planned out with the Major League Baseball Players Association meeting here today, and because of it, their work on the back fields didn’t feature as much action as the last couple days.

Coaches threw batting practice to players, instead of pitchers throwing live BP, and the Nationals doubled up on drill stations to get through their work faster. The day off for pitchers, though, should put most of them on line for a regular work schedule when spring games start next week.

A couple notes from today:

* Elvin Ramirez, the reliever the Nationals took in the Rule 5 draft, has finally arrived in camp after sorting through visa issues that had kept him out of the country until now. Ramirez doesn’t speak much English, but he seemed relieved to finally be in camp and have his logistical issues behind him. The Nationals love his arm, and he’s got a good chance to make the team out of camp. We still haven’t seen Henry Rodriguez, the other Nationals reliever who was having visa problems, though the team expects him to arrive within the next several days.

* Jason Marquis, who’s fully healthy this spring after his ugly debut to his Nationals career, said his attempt to power through the first month of the year with bone chips in his elbow was probably a mistake. He had surgery in May, and didn’t return to the majors until August. Marquis went back to New York for the first six weeks of his rehab to work with a specialist he’s known for years. “It was a little different being at home,” he said. “I’ve never experienced a summer at home in 16 years.” He was serviceable when he returned in the final two months of the season, posting a 4.29 ERA in 10 starts. That’s close to his career numbers, and if he can give the Nationals a full season with an ERA in the mid-4s, they’d be happy. “I’m back to being Jason Marquis,” he said. “I need to get that sharp bite on my slider, keep my sinker down and pound the strike zone.”

Also: I had a nice time talking Nationals with a couple fans who were watching workouts today, recognized me from my picture here and called me over. If you’re down in Florida for any workouts or games this spring, don’t hesitate to say hello or ask a question. I’m always happy to chat.