Greetings from Lakeland, where we're about 20 minutes from the first pitch between the Nationals and Tigers. I'll have the live thread up and running in a few minutes. But first, a few pregame news items:
--Nyjer Morgan, who has been out all week with tightness in his right hip flexor, will return Thursday night against the Tigers as planned, manager Jim Riggleman.
--Asked about the workload at catcher, Riggleman said he'd like to keep Pudge Rodriguez around 110 games, and have Wil Nieves work the rest. That, of course, leaves nothing for Jesus Flores, who is planning to return this year, but the Nationals will work him in when he comes back. Right now, however, they can't assume a return date.
--Scott Olsen will pitch five innings against the Tigers in what could be a pivotal start for the left-hander's chances to make the team. His velocity has been hovering around 86 mph all spring, down from his peak of 92-93 mph with the Tigers, and Riggleman said 88 mph is the low end of where Olsen could still be effective. "If you go down lower than that, you almost need to add another pitch to be effective and keep the hitters off of you," Riggleman said.