Pretty crummy weather here in Viera today -- it rained much of the day, and temperatures have only been in the 40s -- but the Nationals were still able to get some work in this morning.
Stephen Strasburg threw live batting practice for the first time this spring, though nobody took a swing against him. Eric Bruntlett, Roger Bernadina, Derek Norris and Willy Taveras all stood in against Strasburg, simply to track pitches and add a layer to what would have been his normal bullpen session. Strasburg didn't completely let it fly in the cold weather, but threw a handful of impressive sliders that started around Norris' head and ended around his knees. His last fastball was probably the hardest he threw all day, and he finished the session on an emphatic note.
You wouldn't think he'd have pitched in much cold weather, being from San Diego, but Strasburg had a number of tests on the road in the Mountain West Conference, which took him to locales like Colorado Springs, Colo., and Provo, Utah, where cold weather and thin air are constant realities of the games. "It gets cold up there, especially in Friday night games," he said.
The Nats are likely done pursuing pitchers, though one team official said "you never say never," and suggested Washington might sign another veteran if the staff suffers another injury. The official said though Scott Olsen and Livan Hernandez are expected to be in the rotation, he considers there to be "two, maybe three" spots up for grabs on the starting staff.
Lastly, Elijah Dukes, Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman took batting practice at the same time, and as one player after another started knocking balls over the fence, an impromptu (and unspoken) game of Home Run Derby broke out. If there was a contest going -- and it seemed from players' reactions that there was -- Dukes might have stole the show by blasting four homers over the left-field fence in the span of five minutes. But Zimmerman had the most impressive shot, launching a ball over the 30-foot batter's eye in center field.