Espinosa wows crowd, Nats with pair of plays at shortstop

Espinosa wows crowd, Nats with pair of plays at shortstop
JUPITER, Fla. - For all his offensive shortcomings - and there remain plenty - Danny Espinosa has long since established himself as an elite defensive infielder. The vast majority of the work he did to build that reputation has come at second base, but those who have followed the 28-year-old throughout his career know he has always fancied himself as a shortstop first. With each passing day this spring, everyone else is understanding why that has been the case all along. Given a chance to be...
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Roark tosses five scoreless, lowers ERA to 0.64 (Nats blank Cardinals)

Roark tosses five scoreless, lowers ERA to 0.64 (Nats blank Cardinals)
NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 7, Cardinals 0 Recap: After torrential rain and lightning washed out Friday night's game against the Marlins, the Nationals returned to Roger Dean Stadium today face the complex's other tenants, and then proceeded to drub the Cardinals. Tanner Roark and relievers Felipe Rivero, Sean Burnett, Matt Belisle and Aaron Laffey combined to shut out a St. Louis lineup that included Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina. At the plate, the...
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Nats could use four-man rotation for season's first week-plus

Nats could use four-man rotation for season's first week-plus
JUPITER, Fla. - Friday night's rainout threw a wrench into the Nationals' pitching plans, but they hope to get everyone back on schedule today, with Tanner Roark pushed back to face the Cardinals here at Roger Dean Stadium and Joe Ross kept back in Viera to pitch in a minor league game. It's not an ideal situation, but manager Dusty Baker said the club couldn't afford to push every member of the rotation back, lest everyone no longer be lined up properly for the season's first week. "This...
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Roark, Nats return to Jupiter to face Cardinals

Roark, Nats return to Jupiter to face Cardinals
JUPITER, Fla. - Hello once again from Roger Dean Stadium, where the Nationals will attempt to play this afternoon against the Cardinals after getting torrentially rained out last night against the Marlins. The good news: The sun is out and the field is dry. For now. Tanner Roark unfortunately had to make two round trips on the bus from Viera, unable to pitch last night but back today to get his six innings and 100 pitches in. A handful of other players who already were scheduled to play both...
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Saturday morning Q&A from Jupiter

Saturday morning Q&A from Jupiter
JUPITER, Fla. - This week's Saturday Q&A comes not from Viera, but from Jupiter, where the Nationals were supposed to play back-to-back games ... until last night's game was canceled amid one of the most intense, prolonged thunderstorms I've ever experienced in person. Seriously, it poured with massive lightning and thunder for a good two hours straight. Anyway, it's a new day, and hopefully it will be dry enough for the Nats to get in this afternoon's game against the Cardinals at...
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Tyler Moore clears waivers, outrighted to Triple-A Syracuse

Tyler Moore clears waivers, outrighted to Triple-A Syracuse
JUPITER, Fla. - Tyler Moore cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Syracuse, the Nationals announced this evening. The transaction removes Moore from the club's 40-man roster, though it does keep him in the organization. He also continues to earn his $900,000 major league salary. Moore, 29, has spent parts of the last four seasons playing for the Nationals, appearing in 277 total big league games. He also shuttled back and forth between Washington and Syracuse on a regular basis,...
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Intense thunderstorm washes out Nats' game vs. Marlins

Intense thunderstorm washes out Nats' game vs. Marlins
JUPITER, Fla. - The Nationals brought a bunch of regulars on the one-hour, 45-minute bus ride from Viera for tonight's game, wanting them take advantage of a rare spring training opportunity to play under the lights in preparation for the regular season. But you can't really take advantage of a game under the lights if a massive cloudburst prevents that game from ever being played. Alas, the Nationals' scheduled game against the Marlins this evening was canceled after two hours of intense...
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Nats head south to Jupiter for back-to-back games

Nats head south to Jupiter for back-to-back games
JUPITER, Fla. - The Nationals face a rarity over the next 24 hours: back-to-back road games at Roger Dean Stadium against two different teams. The club isn't staying over, though some have chosen to do so on their own, so the vast majority of guys are either playing one game or the other. One guy who is scheduled to play in both games is Tyler Moore, who for now remains a member of the organization but who might well be claimed off waivers by another club or outrighted to the minors. Moore is...
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Taylor will get playing time, but Werth has earned it, too

Taylor will get playing time, but Werth has earned it, too
VIERA, Fla. - It has become probably the biggest story of Nationals camp, slowly building each day just as Michael A. Taylor's batting average slowly rises to eye-catching numbers. At one point Thursday afternoon, as he rounded the bases following his fourth home run of the spring, Taylor sported a .500 batting average in Grapefruit League play, his slugging percentage an ungodly .944. And those numbers weren't a byproduct of crazy-good luck. Taylor consistently has hit the ball hard all...
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Observations and quotes from the Nats' 8-2 victory

Observations and quotes from the Nats' 8-2 victory
VIERA, Fla. - Some thoughts, observations and quotes from today's game, an 8-2 victory by the Nationals over the Cardinals: * Max Scherzer's final line (5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K) looked awfully good, but the right-hander wasn't totally satisfied with his performance. That's because he felt like he wasted too many pitches, getting behind in the count and ultimately raising his pitch count too high (he threw 95 in only five innings). "I wasn't as efficient," he said. "When you're...
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Taylor's torrid spring continues (Nationals beat Cards 8-2)

Taylor's torrid spring continues (Nationals beat Cards 8-2)
NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 8, Cardinals 2 Recap: Picking up right where rotation mate Stephen Strasburg left off Wednesday night against the Yankees, Max Scherzer dominated the Cardinals this afternoon, striking out nine over five innings. Scherzer allowed a pair of first-inning runs, but both were unearned after Trea Turner was charged with a fielding error. Combine Strasburg and Scherzer's pitching lines over the last 24 hours, and you end up with: 10 IP, 9 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 18 K....
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Baker may not define bullpen roles until after opening day

Baker may not define bullpen roles until after opening day
VIERA, Fla. - As they enter their final week in Florida, the Nationals still are trying to establish specific bullpen roles. It would help, of course, if they already knew who exactly will be in their bullpen come opening day. That's not the case yet, with two jobs still up for grabs even at this late date. Given that situation, Dusty Baker hasn't been able to finalize in his mind who he'll be calling upon for certain game situations. "We're not exactly sure where we're going to slot guys...
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Scherzer ramping up pitches, batting for himself today in Viera

Scherzer ramping up pitches, batting for himself today in Viera
VIERA, Fla. - There are several signs that you've reached the home stretch of spring training - starting pitchers going five to six innings, position players going back-to-back days, empty lockers throughout the clubhouse after players were cut - but here's another sign that the end is almost here: No more DH. Yes, Max Scherzer will be batting for himself this afternoon, the first time this spring a Nationals pitcher has stepped to the plate in a game. Scherzer also is slated to throw up to...
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Efficient Strasburg strikes out nine Yankees on 68 pitches

Efficient Strasburg strikes out nine Yankees on 68 pitches
VIERA, Fla. - No, it didn't come against anything that remotely resembled the Yankees' regular lineup, but all Stephen Strasburg can do is pitch against the lineup that goes up there to face him. And he pitched awfully well this evening, no matter who those guys were wearing Yankees jerseys at the plate. Strasburg struck out nine over five scoreless innings without issuing a walk. He did surrender six hits but came through with some perfectly executed pitches when he needed them most to...
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Nats put a hurting on Tanaka with seven early runs (Nats rout Yankees 13-0)

Nats put a hurting on Tanaka with seven early runs (Nats rout Yankees 13-0)
NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 13, Yankees 0 Recap: Stephen Strasburg dominated the Yankees' traveling lineup, striking out nine over five scoreless innings and needing only 68 pitches (51 strikes) to do it. It helped that Strasburg's teammates gave him a huge cushion early: They racked up seven runs off Masahiro Tanaka, six of them coming during a third-inning explosion. Stephen Drew and Wilson Ramos each homered during that rally. Anthony Rendon rapped out three hits of his own off...
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Baker on tough decisions, Perez on returning from WBC

Baker on tough decisions, Perez on returning from WBC
VIERA, Fla. - As the days down here dwindle, the Nationals must prepare to make their toughest decisions of the spring: the final roster spots on their bench and in their bullpen. And though baseball executives and managers typically won't admit it, there oftentimes are more to these decisions than the simple question of which player is better than the other. "Contrary to popular belief, contractual things do make a difference sometimes on who you're trying to keep," manager Dusty Baker...
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Giolito sent down, but Nats expect him in D.C. before long

Giolito sent down, but Nats expect him in D.C. before long
VIERA, Fla. - Lucas Giolito knew the situation when he walked into the clubhouse for his first big league camp last month. He wasn't here to make the Nationals' opening day roster. He was here to get as much experience and soak up as much knowledge as possible before he was sent back to the minors to continue his development. So when the roster move finally came today - the Nationals officially reassigned him to minor league camp - Giolito took everything in stride. "I had assumed going in...
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Strasburg, regulars take on Yankees in the twilight

Strasburg, regulars take on Yankees in the twilight
VIERA, Fla. - Rested and refreshed from their only day off this spring, the Nationals are back at it later this afternoon, hosting the ... well, it's not quite the New York Yankees, though it's still better than the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Masahiro Tanaka made the long trip over from Tampa to start this game. Brett Gardner is here, as well. But that's it as far as projected members of their everyday lineup. The Nationals, on the other hand, have Stephen Strasburg on the mound and a...
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Five questions facing the Nats over the final week of camp

Five questions facing the Nats over the final week of camp
VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals enjoyed their lone day off of the entire spring Tuesday - who am I kidding, reporters covering the Nats really enjoyed their lone day off of the entire spring - but now they return to the field for the home stretch. There are eight remaining days of Grapefruit League games, beginning at 5:05 p.m. this afternoon when the Nationals host the Yankees (televised on MASN, by the way). Up to this point, the spring has been about making sure everyone gets their work in and...
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For Wilson Ramos, seeing is believing after LASIK surgery

For Wilson Ramos, seeing is believing after LASIK surgery
VIERA, Fla. - It seems too simple an explanation to actually be true. Then again, sometimes the simplest explanation really does apply. Wilson Ramos struggled at the plate last season. Despite avoiding the disabled list for the first time in his major league career, the Nationals catcher posted a career-worst .229 batting average, .258 on-base percentage and .358 slugging percentage while striking out in a career-high 20 percent of his plate appearances. Then earlier this month, Ramos left...
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