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The Nationals' spring training complex was a whirlwind of activity today, with Livan Hernandez arriving, a handful of pitchers throwing live batting practice and the team running its first drills. Here are a few snippets from the day:
--Plenty of you have asked about how Riggleman will run his camp to ensure a greater emphasis on fundamentals after last year's 143-error season. He started right off with a bunt defense drill, and said he has a rotating list of fundamental drills planned for camp. The Nationals will cycle through one of them every day, with players who aren't on road trips working on that day's drill at Space Coast Stadium. He mentioned the following drills: Bunt defense, first-and-third defense, rundowns, priorities on pop-ups, and cutoff/relay throws. "We'll just keep hitting those," Riggleman said. "They'll be worked on every day."
--Matt Capps impressed a number of team officials with his bullpen session, which provided a steady soundtrack of popping catcher's mitts. He's looked ready to go all spring, and has a much livelier fastball than I expected to see.
--Garrett Mock faced Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman while throwing live BP, and left a juicy fastball right over the plate to Dunn at one point. Dunn took the pitch, but Mock asked if he would have hit it out had he swung at it. "I'll let you know, meat. Just worry about pitching," Dunn said. Mock responded with a nasty high-and-tight fastball, and Dunn fouled it sideways with a grunt before exchanging some good-natured trash talk with Mock. "I knew he was going to swing at that one," Mock said to pitching coach Steve McCatty after the session was done.
One more thing: If you're interested in seeing the commercial I shot last week, promoting our Nats spring training coverage, you can take a look here.
The whole experience was a lot of fun -- kudos to director David Butler, producer Lindsey Thomas and actor John Lenartz (cast as the "Pesky Traveler") for making it so enjoyable and pulling it off so well. Hopefully my entrance to your living rooms isn't too unwelcome. :-)
I'd love to hear what you think of it, or any other questions you've got from the day. It was kind of a hodgepodge of things going on, so if there's a particular aspect of the workout you'd like to hear about, just ask.