VIERA, Fla. - Good morning from Space Coast Stadium. It's a bit of a chaotic day here - the clubhouse has been closed most of the morning because of a union meeting, and I've got a series of little news items from manager Jim Riggleman's media session. So instead of putting them in a long post, I'm going to break them up into a couple quick posts by topic and fire them off in rapid succession. Enjoy:
* Riggleman said he hasn't seen Henry Rodriguez and Elvin Ramirez, the Nationals' two relievers who have been delayed with visa problems, though both were scheduled to arrive today. Both players have been working out under Nationals supervision, though Riggleman didn't have a good feel for how either player had progressed. Ramirez, the team's first pick in December's Rule 5 draft, would need to make the team out of spring training; otherwise, the Nationals would have to send him back to the Mets or work out a trade. Given the fact Ramirez throws nearly 100 mph, it stands to reason the Nationals will try to keep him unless he's awful this spring. They'd probably have to give up a decent prospect to keep him. "He needs to pitch effectively enough that he's in the discussion," Riggleman said.
* Chien-Ming Wang will get in some games this spring, Riggleman said, though his first action might come in a simulated game against minor leaguers in the team's accelerated spring training camp. "Wherever he's throwing, it'll be exciting to see him in game situations and all the things that go along with game situations," Riggleman said.
* The Nationals don't need a fifth starter until they head to New York for their third series of the year, and they could even start the year with three starters. But Riggleman said the most drastic the Nationals would get with their early-season rotation is to carry four starters instead of five. "You're either going to have starters sitting too long without pitching, or you're going to have a lot of relievers there who aren't getting any action," Riggleman said. He's not happy about having two off-days in the first five days of the season, but the Nationals don't have much choice.