Top prospects headline Nats' Spring Breakout roster

Brady House Trey Lipscomb James Wood spring training

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The Nationals announced their roster for the first-ever Spring Breakout game next week against the Mets in Port St. Lucie.

It includes 22 of their top 30 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, including nine of the top 10 and 12 of the top 15:

Jarlin Susana, RHP, No. 10
Travis Sykora, RHP, No. 11
DJ Herz, LHP, No. 12
Jackson Rutledge, RHP, No. 15
Mitchell Parker, LHP, No. 22
Cole Henry, RHP, No. 25
Dustin Saenz, LHP, No. 29
Andrew Alvarez, LHP, NR
Lucas Knowles, LHP, NR
Andry Lara, RHP, NR

Drew Millas, C, No. 20
Israel Pineda, C, No. 26
Maxwell Romero Jr., C, NR

Brady House, 3B, No. 3 (MLB No. 48)
Yohandy Morales, 3B, No. 5
Trey Lipscomb, 3B, No. 16
Kevin Made, SS, No. 23
Darren Baker, 2B, No. 27
T.J. White, INF, No. 30
Armando Cruz, INF, NR

Continue reading

Irvin strong in first start, Gallo struggles in return

Jake Irvin Whites

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – In order for Jake Irvin to bounce back from his rough first two spring training outings, the big right-hander thought he just needed to get back into his starting routine.

Irvin’s first two appearances this spring came out of the bullpen after MacKenzie Gore started each game. While he can do his best to try to mimic his process and timing as if he were the starter, it’s still not the same coming in after the game has already begun

The results supported that theory, as he was charged with seven hits and eight runs (seven earned) in just 3 ⅔ innings.

This time around, Irvin got the ball to start the Grapefruit League game while Gore started a minor league game this afternoon back in West Palm Beach.

These results are more like what Irvin is accustomed to: four scoreless innings of two-hit ball with five strikeouts albeit in a 3-1 loss to the Mets at Clover Park.

Continue reading

Gallo returns to lineup, Rosario reports to camp

Joey Gallo spring training 2

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Joey Gallo returns to the Nationals lineup for the first time in over a week tonight against the Mets.

The veteran slugger will serve as the designated hitter and bat fourth behind Joey Meneses in his return to action.

Gallo last played on Feb. 28 against the Red Sox in West Palm Beach, but has since been sidelined with a tight left quadriceps muscle. He and the Nationals weren’t too concerned about the ailment when it happened – Gallo himself insisting if this was the regular season he would be playing – but there was no need to rush him back this early in spring training.

“He said he feels good,” manager Davey Martinez said before the team took the hour-long bus ride north to Clover Park. “Get him in there, get him a few at-bats today and see how he's doing. I haven't talked to him today, but I want to make sure I let him know, hey, just take it easy. Let's get your at-bats. Don't try to get doubles or whatever. Just take it slow, we'll build you up. But it's good to see that he's back in the lineup and he's gonna get some at-bats.”

Earlier today, there was initially a question of whether or not Gallo would play tonight that had nothing to do with his quad. The Mets, who were rained out yesterday in West Palm Beach against the Astros, pushed left-handed starter Jose Quintana to start tonight’s game instead of the scheduled right-hander.

Continue reading

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Mets in Port St. Lucie

Jake Irvin spring training

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – The Nationals and Mets will face off for the second time this spring and the first time at Clover Park, about 45 minutes north of CACTI Park.

Jake Irvin will make his first Grapefruit League start tonight after his first two outings came out of the bullpen. The right-hander struggled in those two appearances, giving up seven hits and eight runs (seven earned) in just 3 ⅔ innings. He’s hoping that getting back into his starting routine and utilizing his new cutter against left-handed hitters will get him back on track.

Today is also MacKenzie Gore’s scheduled day in the rotation. But he started a minor league game back in West Palm to allow Irvin to start against the Mets. Gore faced many of the top minor leaguers, including Elijah Green and Yohandy Morales, and did not hold back. According to manager Davey Martinez, he was pumping 97-98 mph with his fastball.

Joey Gallo is back in the lineup after being sidelined for almost a week with a tight left quadriceps muscle. He will serve as the designated hitter for the time being while the Nationals remain cautious with the veteran before putting him back in the field.

Where: Clover Park, Port St. Lucie
Gametime: 6:10 p.m. EST
TV: (Mets’ feed)
Radio: None
Weather: Partly cloudy, 74 degrees, wind 6 mph from right to left field

RF Lane Thomas
CF James Wood
1B Joey Meneses
DH Joey Gallo
SS Ildemaro Vargas
3B Carter Kieboom
C Drew Millas
LF Jacob Young
2B Darren Baker

RHP Jake Irvin

LF Brandon Nimmo
SS Francisco Lindor
RF Starling Marte
1B Pete Alonso
3B Brett Baty
C Francisco Alvarez
DH Mark Vientos
2B Joey Wendle
CF Harrison Bader

LHP Jose Quintana

With new cutter, Irvin still competing for rotation spot

Jake Irvin spring training

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Today is Jake Irvin Day as the big right-hander finally gets to make his first start of spring training.

Yes, the 27-year-old has already appeared in two Grapefruit League games, but both were in relief out of the bullpen.

Tonight he’ll jog out of the visiting dugout in the bottom of the first inning of the Nationals’ game against the Mets in Port St. Lucie.

Irvin’s results in his first two outings are not what he had hoped for. He gave up a run on two hits and two hit batters while striking out four over two innings Feb. 25 against the Marlins in Jupiter. Then Friday against the Astros, he was charged with seven runs (six earned) on five hits, a home run and two walks with two strikeouts in 1 ⅔ innings.

He threw 42 pitches (28 strikes) during the third and fourth innings of the first game but was limited to just 27 pitches (16 strikes) over the sixth and seventh innings of the second game.

Continue reading

Crews hits first homer, Corbin continues cutter work in win

Dylan Crews spring training

JUPITER, Fla. – Dylan Crews has grabbed a lot of attention at Nationals spring training, and rightfully so as last summer’s No. 2 overall pick. But it’s been James Wood who has taken a lot of the spotlight with the highlight reel he has put together so far in camp.

It was only a matter of time before Crews joined him.

The Nationals’ top prospect finally hit his first home run in Grapefruit League play this afternoon in what would be a 9-3 win over the Marlins at damp Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.

“It felt pretty good,” Crews said of his first dinger. “I was hoping a little sooner than later, but it felt good to get a barrel in and help the team win today. I think the off-day helped a lot just physically and mentally just to kind of get the feet underneath me again. But yeah, it was a great day to day all around: pitching, defensively and the bats were really hot today. So it was a great day.”

Facing former Nats farmhand Jesús Luzardo, Crews hit a low-and-outside 3-1 changeup to straightaway center field. The ball came 102.4 mph off his bat and landed 393 feet away, just over the fence and out of reach of the glove of a leaping Victor Mesa Jr.

Continue reading

Nats add outfielder Rosario on minor league deal


JUPITER, Fla. – The Nationals made a new addition to camp this morning by signing veteran outfielder Eddie Rosario to a minor league contract, a source familiar with the deal confirmed.

Rosario, who still needs to pass a physical before his signing is official, is guaranteed $2 million if he makes the major league club and could earn up to $4 million with incentives.

The 31-year-old has primarily played left field, but has experience in all three outfield spots over the course of his nine-year career. He owns a career slash line of .268/.305/.460 with a .766 OPS with the Twins, Cleveland and the Braves.

A fourth-round pick out of high school in Puerto Rico by the Twins in 2010, Rosario signed a one-year, $8 million contract with Cleveland in February 2021 and was traded almost six months later at the deadline to Atlanta for Pablo Sandoval. Three months later, he helped lead the Braves to their first World Series title since 1995.

Rosario was named the National League Championship Series MVP during that October run after going 14-for-25 (.560) with a double, triple, three home runs and nine RBIs, including a walk-off single in Game 2, two four-hit games and a three-run home run in Game 6 to clinch the NL pennant.

Continue reading

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Marlins in Jupiter

Jesse Winker spring training 2

JUPITER, Fla. – The Nationals and Marlins were supposed to play each other Sunday in West Palm Beach, but were rained out. So instead of the third time, this will only be the second time the National League East rivals will face off in Grapefruit League action, with both coming at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.

Patrick Corbin makes his third spring training start after impressing in his last outing. The veteran left-hander cruised through three innings Thursday against the Cardinals in this very stadium. He needed only 41 pitches (32 strikes) to complete his day, which was highlighted by the increased use of his new cutter. We’ll see how often Corbin incorporates the pitch today against the Fish.

Kyle Finnegan, Hunter Harvey, Luis Perdomo and Derek Law are the relievers listed to make the trip.

The Nationals have a lot of regulars in the starting lineup facing Marlins lefty Jesús Luzardo. This lineup could be very similar to the one we see on Opening Day. James Wood, Robert Hassell III, Brady House and Trey Lipscomb are scheduled to come off the bench.

Unfortunately, the forecast is calling for thunderstorms all afternoon in the area, so the Nats and Marlins may be looking at their second rainout in four days.

Continue reading

While learning in camp, Herz wants to be a "beast" to validate trade

DJ Herz Arizona Fall League gray

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – By recent standards, the Nationals were unusually quiet at last year’s trade deadline despite being in last place and receiving interest in a handful of their major league players.

But general manager Mike Rizzo made only one move, sending third baseman Jeimer Candelario and cash to the Cubs for prospects DJ Herz and Kevin Made.

Both entered the Nats system as mid-level prospects, but by season’s end, one clearly stood out as the one with the highest ceiling.

Herz, who turned 23 in January, quickly inserted himself as one of the best pitching prospects, and maybe the best left-hander, on the Nats farm in just eight starts with Double-A Harrisburg. He finished the season 2-2 with a 2.55 ERA, one home run allowed, 20 walks, 53 strikeouts and 1.132 WHIP and 13.5 strikeout-per-nine-innings rate in 35 ⅓ innings with the Senators.

Now on the Nats’ 40-man roster to be protected from last December’s Rule 5 Draft, Herz is settling into his first major league spring training with his new team.

Continue reading

Other Nats camp observations on an off-day

Cade Cavalli spring training

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The Nationals are enjoying their first scheduled off-day of spring training since camp got underway almost three weeks ago with pitchers and catchers reporting Feb. 14.

Some players may trickle into the team’s facilities at CACTI Park of the Palm Beaches, but for the most part, it’s a day to get some rest and relaxation.

This marks the halfway point of my trip down here before Mark Zuckerman returns to have you covered until the end of camp. So here are some notes and observations from my first five days …

* While the Nats got back over .500 in Grapefruit League play with a 1-0 win over the Cardinals yesterday, perhaps the more interesting activity occurred on the back fields on the complex in the morning.

The Nationals played an intrasquad game on Field 2 – the only one of the back fields here to have the exact dimensions as Nationals Park – mostly to allow Zach Davies, Jackson Rutledge, Joan Adon and other pitchers to get in some game-like work following Sunday’s rainout against the Marlins.

Continue reading

After late arrival, Williams efficient in spring debut

Trevor Williams red

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Trevor Williams was 11 days late in reporting to Nationals spring training. But he had permission from the team with instructions on how to keep himself ready for when he did get to camp.

The 31-year-old right-hander didn't arrive in West Palm Beach until Feb. 25, instead staying home in San Diego to be with his family following the birth of his fifth child. Leading up to his departure from the West Coast, Williams was prepping for major league spring training by facing high school hitters.

After facing live big league hitters and throwing a bullpen session last week, Williams, seeking to maintain his spot in the Nationals rotation as the fourth or fifth starter, was finally ready to make his 2024 Grapefruit League debut this afternoon in what would be a 1-0 win against the Cardinals in a quick 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Aiming for 35-40 pitches in two innings, Williams impressed while making quick work of his two frames on an efficient 27 pitches, 20 thrown for strikes.

“The goal going into it was just to come out healthy,” Williams said at his locker after throwing 15 more pitches in the bullpen following his departure from the game. “At this point of spring training, we want to get as much volume as possible. So thankfully, we're able to get two full innings today. I was able to throw about 15 more in the bullpen to get that volume up. I think it was successful in that sense.”

Continue reading

Nats play intrasquad game, set rotation after off-day (plus more notes)

Zach Davies Dbacks red away

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Yesterday’s rainout against the Marlins made the Nationals get a little creative in order to get players the work they missed out on.

Hello, intrasquad game on the back fields, where the results are even more meaningless than your typical spring training game.

“A bunch of guys are just gonna go there and get at-bats mainly against our pitchers who have to throw,” manager Davey Martinez said before today’s game against the Cardinals.

Zach Davies (yesterday’s scheduled starter) and Jackson Rutledge were the starting pitchers with a group of minor leaguers playing the field behind them. At times, the outfield wasn't even occupied. Stepping into the box were a handful of regular major leaguers, including CJ Abrams, Stone Garrett, Riley Adams, Jake Alu, Carter Kieboom, Juan Yepez, Alex Call, Travis Blankenhorn, Trey Lipscomb, Israel Pineda and Brady Lindsly.

Pitchers behind Davies for the “home” team included Robert Garcia, Jordan Weems, Jose A. Ferrer and Amos Willingham. Behind Rutledge for the “away” team were Joan Adon and DJ Herz.

Continue reading

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in West Palm Beach

meneses trot grey

WEST PALM BEACH – Let’s try this again, shall we?

After yesterday’s rainout against the Marlins, the Nationals return to CACTI Park of the Palm Beaches to face the other team from Jupiter: the Cardinals.

Trevor Williams’ spring debut was supposed to be yesterday, but the Nationals pushed it back to today after he reported to camp late after the birth of his fifth child and scheduled Zach Davies to start instead. This will be Williams’ first Grapefruit League appearance this spring as he attempts to hold onto his spot in the Nationals rotation.

With Davies, Jake Irvin, Jackson Rutledge and Joan Adon also fighting for the fourth and fifth spots and already removed from their spring debuts, Williams will have to impress every chance he gets in order to stick in the rotation. Otherwise, he could be headed to the bullpen as a swing man, which he did to mixed results with the Cubs and Mets from 2021-22.

Being that it’s his first outing, the right-hander will likely be limited to one or two innings and 20-30 pitches. Tanner Rainey, Richard Bleier, Robert Gsellman and Derek Law are among the pitchers listed to follow Williams out of the bullpen.

Continue reading

Is Wood's path to the majors in left field?

James Wood spring training 2

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – James Wood has impressed in all facets so far in spring training.

He’s 8-for-16 at the plate with three home runs, five RBIs, six walks, only three strikeouts and one stolen base in eight Grapefruit League games. He’s posting a .636 on-base percentage and 1.699 OPS.

In the field, he’s played solid defense over his 24 innings in right field and eight in center.

Before yesterday’s rainout against a Marlins split-squad, he was scheduled to hit second and play left field for the first time since 2022, a new avenue that could be his path to the major leagues.

Wood didn’t appear in left field at all last year, playing 67 games in center field and 46 in right field between High-A Wilmington and Double-A Harrisburg. He played exclusively center when he arrived at Single-A Fredericksburg after the Juan Soto blockbuster trade in 2022. He did, however, play 34 innings over four games in left earlier that year between the Padres’ Rookie-level Arizona Complex League and Single-A affiliates, the only time he’s played the position in his first three professional seasons.

Continue reading

Lile gets best-case scenario results after scary injury (Nats-Marlins rained out)

Daylen Lile Fredericksburg

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Last night was nerve-wracking for the Nationals as the team awaited an update on the injured Daylen Lile, who was carted off the field at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers after flipping over the right-center field wall and taken to a local hospital.

Manager Davey Martinez had a look of relief on his face as he provided the good news this morning that the outfield prospect is going to be OK after being released from the hospital and returning to West Palm Beach.

“He went to the hospital last night, took all the tests and everything,” Martinez said in his office before today’s Grapefruit League game against a Marlins split-squad. “Everything came back negative. He's got a lower back contusion. I mean, he's hurting. But he's gonna be OK, which is great news. We lucked out.”

In the bottom of the seventh of yesterday’s 4-2 loss to the Red Sox, Tyler Miller led off with a long drive off Cole Henry. Playing at “Fenway South” – the Red Sox’s replica field of their iconic ballpark back in Boston – means there’s a 3-foot wall in right-center field in front of the home bullpen.

Going back to try to rob Miller of a home run, Lile flipped over the short wall and landed on his back in the Red Sox ‘pen. The moment immediately turned frightening when Boston relievers called for trainers instead of celebrating the homer.

Continue reading

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Marlins in West Palm Beach on MASN

Lane Thomas red catching

WEST PALM BEACH – The Nationals are back on the Atlantic Coast side of Florida after yesterday’s cross-state trip to Fort Myers. They’ll be here for the next week before making their final trip to the Gulf Coast side a week from today to face the Twins.

What was supposed to be Trevor Williams’ spring debut turned into Zach Davies’ second start after the Nationals flipped the two starters to have Williams pitch tomorrow. Davies had a strong debut with the Nats on Tuesday, pitching two shutout innings with three strikeouts, two walks and a hit batter. The right-hander threw 23-of-40 pitches for strikes against an Astros lineup that included a lot of big-name regulars.

Today he’ll try to go a little deeper in the game against a Marlins split-squad team. Joan Adon, Tanner Rainey, Robert Garcia and Jose A. Ferrer are among the pitchers listed to follow Davies out of the bullpen.

Among the Nationals regulars in the starting lineup: Lane Thomas is leading off and in right field, James Wood is batting second and making his first appearance in left, Joey Meneses is at first base, Keibert Ruiz is catching, Nick Senzel is at third and Victor Robles is in center.

And hey, what better way to spend your Sunday than watching the game on MASN at 1 p.m.?

Continue reading

Observations as minor league camp gets set to start

Cristhian Vaquero Fredericksburg

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – As the Nationals enter their fourth week of spring training, the minor league side of camp officially gets underway in the coming days.

Around 50 minor league players have already been in West Palm Beach over the past couple of weeks. All pitchers and catchers officially reported Saturday and the rest of the position players are set to show up in the coming days.

On Friday, Davey Martinez decided to bring some of the minor league guys over to major league camp to participate in drills with their veteran teammates.

“We're gonna bring them over and let them work out with us today,” the big league manager said. “I just wanted to get some of these young kids with us and let them go through the programs.”

On the first backfield at the complex, major league infielders were practicing running down baserunners caught in the basepaths. Who were they chasing? Minor leaguers wearing red workout T-shirts and batting helmets.

Continue reading

Young sticking to strengths to stand out in outfield shuffle

jacob young @TOR

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Unlike some other Nationals prospects, Jacob Young has been in this situation before. He’s no stranger to a major league clubhouse after spending the last month-plus of the 2023 season with the Nats.

He is new to a major league clubhouse at spring training, however, now enjoying his first big league camp. The 24-year-old is hoping his limited, but not insignificant, big league experience helps him this spring and onto the Opening Day roster.

In 33 games last year, Young hit .252 with a .658 OPS, seven doubles, one triple, a perfect 13-for-13 stolen bases, 10 walks and 22 strikeouts, while also playing solid, if not stellar, defense in the outfield.

“That experience, it was great,” Young said. “It was a lot of dreams come true, getting to do your first of a lot of things. It was good to kind of experience that with the family and my wife and everyone. It was just really cool to kind of get that under my belt. I think it's got me more ready for something like this. You know, the guy who just knows more of (his) routine. So it was a great experience. And then the offseason was awesome. I was down in Jacksonville just training. So it was a good offseason. I got to relax a little bit, but a lot of training.”

Young entered spring training on the 40-man roster. He’s a part of an outfield group that has some question marks and a lot of young talent on the way. Although he has an upper leg on his fellow prospects, he’s not a sure thing to make the roster once camp breaks north.

Continue reading

Henry "full-go" to start camp after thoracic outlet syndrome surgery

Cole Henry spring training 2

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Cole Henry missed out on the opportunity to attend his first major league spring training in 2023. He was still recovering from the thoracic outlet syndrome surgery he had in August 2022.

Now 18 months removed from the complex procedure, which involved removing a rib and a neck muscle, the 24-year-old right-hander finally finds himself inside the Nationals clubhouse at the team’s spring training facility. And more importantly, he’s participating in team workouts.

“As of right now, I'm feeling really good,” Henry said. “This is the first offseason I've been able to really work on just strengthening and perfecting the craft a little bit mechanics-wise and stuff like that and not worry about having to rehab. Just make sure I'm able to throw by the time spring training comes around, so it's very productive as far as that stuff goes. I just had to tweak a couple things trying to get back to the way I was before as far as my mechanics and stuff, pitch shapes, different things like that. Majority of the offseason was working on just trying to get stronger, trying to be more durable and just overall focus on just building strength and getting ready for a long season.”

The further removed Henry gets from his surgery, the better he feels. And the closer he gets to getting back to normal. But he still understands the complexities of his surgery and recovery, and that just because he’s back on a mound, that doesn’t mean he’s completely done with the aftereffects.

“I definitely think, as with any surgery, it's going to take a year or two years just to be fully past it,” he said. “I mean, I'll still have hiccups here and there as far as just a little bit more soreness on different days. Doing new things or pitching for a little bit longer than I'm used to. Whatever it is, there's gonna be a little bit of that. But as far as being able to let the reins loose a little bit, take the training wheels off it's been full-go. No restraints as far as rehab or anything. I've been basically going after it like it's gonna be a regular full season.”

Continue reading

With focus on defense, Lipscomb fitting in at first big league camp

Lipscomb Wood Hassell spring training

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Trey Lipscomb hadn’t been invited to major league spring training before this year, but you would never know it with the way he comfortably sits at his locker among his fellow top prospects at the front of the Nationals’ spring training clubhouse.

Dylan Crews, James Wood, Brady House and Robert Hassell III occupy the first four lockers by the front door, with Darren Baker, Lipscomb and Nasim Nuñez next down the line.

That’s a lot of young pedigree to be included in, but Lipscomb has earned the right to be there with them.

The 2022 third-round pick out of the University of Tennessee was arguably one of the most consistent bats on the Nats farm last year. After a mid-June promotion to Double-A Harrisburg, the 23-year-old slashed .284/.310/.438 with a .748 OPS, 15 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs and 45 RBIs with the Senators.

“First full season, enjoyed it,” he said looking back on his 2023 campaign. “I was blessed enough, fortunate enough to play every day, stay healthy, so knock on wood that's still there. But it was fun. You learn some things that you don't learn in college like playing six games a week. In college, you play three, maybe four a week. But playing six games a week and just learning things about your body, it's really cool to see during the season.”

Continue reading