We've got 10 days to go in spring training, 11 players that still need to be cut and a few questions that still need to be answered.
I'm on my way out the door to drop my wife off at the airport and head toward Lakeland, but here's a smattering of things to watch this week, stream-of-consciousness style:
This is a big night for Scott Olsen, who starts at 6:05 p.m. against the Tigers. He was effective in his last start, but was still only hitting 86 mph in a simulated game. He's got two starts left before the Nationals would need to cut him or pay him his full $1 million salary for the season, and Craig Stammen is making a strong push for the final spot in the rotation.
If Olsen's velocity is still middling, he gets hit around and Stammen continues to look strong, the Nationals will face an interesting decision: Do they start the year with Olsen in the rotation, put him on the DL to get stronger, option him to Triple-A Syracuse or release him altogether and save $750,000. Tonight's game is worth following for that reason alone.
Neither Cristian Guzman nor Ian Desmond is making a strong case for his ability to improve the Nationals' defensive woes with his play this spring at shortstop.
Guzman's shoulder is still an issue, and when Desmond replaced him during yesterday's win over the Mets, he made his fifth error of the spring.
Desmond is hitting this spring and Guzman isn't, but Guzman will hit at least .280 in the regular season (though he doesn't draw walks). Desmond has an opportunity to take the job if Guzman's shoulder isn't healthy, but he's not doing himself any favors with the errors.
Mike Morse has really tailed off after a hot start to the spring. Part of that was because of a nasty flu virus that sapped his strength last week, but his 1-for-4 day yesterday actually raised his average to .243.
Josh Willingham is quietly having a strong spring. His two homers yesterday raised his average to .391, and he's hit four bombs altogether.
Justin Maxwell or Roger Bernadina has to make the team, right? Not necessarily.
The Nats could start with an outfield of Willingham, Nyjer Morgan and Willie Harris, with Mike Morse and Willy Taveras as backups. Maxwell is hitting .103 this spring and Bernadina is batting .250, but isn't seen as a great option in right field. It's a big week for both players to show something.
OK, gotta run. I'll be back with more this afternoon from Lakeland -- and the live threads will return for tonight's 6:05 first pitch. Talk to you then!