After another big spring at the plate, Harper is ready to go

After another big spring at the plate, Harper is ready to go
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - While Max Scherzer scrambles to build his arm up over the final week of spring training and Daniel Murphy scrambles to get as many at-bats as he can and Matt Wieters tries to get his body ready for the rigors of a full season behind the plate, there's at least one player in Nationals camp who clearly doesn't need any more prep time before the regular season. Bryce Harper is good to go. "He told me three or four days ago he was ready," manager Dusty Baker said. Harper...
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Despite mechanical glitches, Scherzer dominates Mets

Despite mechanical glitches, Scherzer dominates Mets
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Max Scherzer felt like his mechanics were out of whack today, his fastball command off, his fatigue level coming sooner than he'd normally like. The result of all those problems: five innings of scoreless ball, with the only two hits he allowed coming in his final inning. "That's a pretty good outing for a guy who didn't really have it all together," manager Dusty Baker noted. Yes, indeed. If this is how Scherzer looked when he wasn't in top form, imagine how he...
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Decision-makers meeting tonight to pick closer (Nats win 6-0)

Decision-makers meeting tonight to pick closer (Nats win 6-0)
NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nats 6, Mets 0 Recap: Max Scherzer cruised through the Mets lineup, carrying a no-hitter into the fifth before he allowed two singles. The right-hander did walk three batters and drove up his pitch count to 85 before departing after five scoreless innings. He got plenty of offensive support from Bryce Harper and Trea Turner. Each young star homered twice, with three of the bombs coming off Mets starter Seth Lugo. Enny Romero continued his dominant spring with two...
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Nathan on unconditional release: "I get it"

Nathan on unconditional release: "I get it"
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Joe Nathan and Matt Albers did just about everything within their power to convince the Nationals to make them part of their opening day roster. In the end, the club simply didn't have space for either veteran in its deep bullpen. The Nationals granted both Nathan and Albers their unconditional releases this morning, beating a noon Eastern time deadline that required the pitchers either to be told they had made the club or else be paid a $100,000 retention bonus to...
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Starting lineups: Nats vs. Mets in Port St. Lucie

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Mets in Port St. Lucie
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Who wants to see a 29-year-old Heisman Trophy winner with extremely limited baseball experience step into the batter's box against the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner? Well, you're in luck, because that's going to happen today at First Data Field. Tim Tebow is going to bat against Max Scherzer. In a game. Probably more than once. The Nationals today get their first taste of the circus that is Tebowmania. The former football player is, inexplicably, still...
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Decision looms for Nats and Nathan (Albers, Nathan released)

Decision looms for Nats and Nathan (Albers, Nathan released)
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The time has come for the Nationals and Joe Nathan to make a decision on each other. Per Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement, the Nationals have until noon Eastern time today to either inform Nathan he has made their opening day roster, grant him his unconditional release or pay him a $100,000 retention bonus, which would allow Nathan to begin the season in the minor leagues with a new deadline of June 1 to opt out if he isn't called up to...
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On González's struggle, Albers' zeros and Snyder's demotion

On González's struggle, Albers' zeros and Snyder's demotion
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Given how well he has pitched all spring, Gio González was entitled to one rough day. That's how Dusty Baker viewed the left-hander's uncharacteristically poor start this afternoon, in which he was roughed up by the Astros for five runs in five innings. "It's hard to be good all the time in the spring," the Nationals manager said. "That was the first bad one he had." González entered the day sporting a sparkling 1.10 ERA in four previous Grapefruit League...
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González endures first rough start of the spring (Nats lose 5-1)

González endures first rough start of the spring (Nats lose 5-1)
NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Astros 5, Nats 1 Recap: Gio González struggled through his worst start in an otherwise fantastic spring, allowing five runs in five innings, including a pair of home runs. The left-hander entered with a 1.10 ERA but departed with that number having jumped to 2.95. The Nationals managed only one run off Astros starter Joe Musgrove, the product of Trea Turner's leadoff double in the first and Bryce Harper's sacrifice fly. Need to know: Matt Albers tossed two more...
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Strasburg gets fourth career opening day assignment

Strasburg gets fourth career opening day assignment
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The worst-kept secret at Nationals camp was unsealed and made public this morning: Stephen Strasburg will start on opening day. "Yeah, that's correct," manager Dusty Baker said. "I know you guys can count. He's slated to go opening day." It had been obvious for more than a week that Strasburg would be getting the ball for the April 3 season opener against the Marlins, once it was clear Max Scherzer's throwing schedule lined him up for the season's third game...
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Starting lineups: Nats vs. Astros in West Palm Beach

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Astros in West Palm Beach
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals and Astros face each other for the second straight day, the only difference that the Nats are wearing white pants this time while the Astros wear gray. Such are the perks of the shared spring training complex, all that differentiates road games from home games are the color of slacks. Gio González takes the mound for this one, looking to continue what has been a dominant spring to date. The lefty has a 1.10 ERA in five starts, having allowed only 12...
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After learning pitching staff, Wieters now addressing his swing

After learning pitching staff, Wieters now addressing his swing
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Matt Wieters sees the batting average on the scoreboard in right-center field. On Saturday afternoon, it read ".100" and that's hard to ignore. Wieters also recognizes his top priority in his first month with the Nationals hasn't involved his bat, but rather the connection he has attempted to make with every pitcher he'll be catching throughout the season. "Getting comfortable with the staff, this spring training, was most important for me," he said. "The...
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Strong return for Roark and Murphy; Nats make five cuts

Strong return for Roark and Murphy; Nats make five cuts
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Dusty Baker didn't know what he could reasonably expect today from Tanner Roark, considering the right-hander hadn't pitched in Nationals uniform since March 10 and didn't get regular work while away from camp during the World Baseball Classic. Suffice it to say Baker was more than pleased with what he wound up seeing from Roark: 5 1/3 innings of one-run, three-hit ball in a much sharper-than-expected performance given the circumstances. "That's a tribute to...
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Roark, Murphy sharp in first game back (Nats win 4-1)

Roark, Murphy sharp in first game back (Nats win 4-1)
NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 4, Astros 1 Recap: In his first start since returning from the World Baseball Classic, Tanner Roark was exceptionally sharp. The right-hander carried a shutout into the sixth inning before allowing back-to-back hits and departing with one run across the plate, having thrown 71 pitches. Daniel Murphy, his Team USA mate, went 2-for-4 with an RBI double in his first game back from the WBC. Ryan Zimmerman had two hits, a stolen base and a nifty move to elude a...
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Nats have picked a closer, but haven't told him yet

Nats have picked a closer, but haven't told him yet
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals appear to have decided on their closer to open the season. They just haven't informed the winner of that spring training competition, so his identity will remain anonymous for now. "We've kind of settled on a guy," manager Dusty Baker said. "But we've got to tell the guy first." The most significant and intriguing battle of the spring hasn't proven particularly dramatic. Each of the candidates - Shawn Kelley, Blake Treinen, Koda Glover - has pitched...
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Starting lineups: Nats vs. Astros in West Palm Beach

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Astros in West Palm Beach
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - When last he stood on a mound throwing a pitch, Tanner Roark was at Dodger Stadium, wearing a Team USA uniform and facing an imposing Japanese lineup in a do-or-die World Baseball Classic semifinal game. The stakes won't be quite as high this afternoon when Roark returns to the mound, this time wearing a Nationals uniform at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, facing the Astros in a Grapefruit League game. High stakes or not, this is this still an important outing for...
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Where the roster stands with nine days to go

Where the roster stands with nine days to go
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - We are now nine days from opening day, and it's time for the Nationals to start making those hard decisions they've been putting off all spring. We may even get a few of them today, now that yesterday's split-squad day-night doubleheader in two different towns is over, negating the need for extra bodies in big league camp. But before anything goes down, let's take a look at who exactly still is here. This is the spring roster as it currently stands, with asterisks...
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Guthrie makes one last pitch to make Nationals staff

Guthrie makes one last pitch to make Nationals staff
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Jeremy Guthrie came to Nationals camp last month with a simple objective: make one genuine last attempt to make a major league pitching staff. He still had a bitter taste in his mouth after pressing too hard one year ago and then struggling with two different Triple-A clubs. He wanted to give it another try. And if it didn't work out? "I feel like there was something left, something pushing me," the 37-year-old right-hander said. "When I'd go to bed at night, I'd...
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Strasburg, Ross get work in minor league games (Nats fall 3-1)

Strasburg, Ross get work in minor league games (Nats fall 3-1)
NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Cardinals 3, Nats 1 Recap: In the first half of their split-squad, two-town, day-night doubleheader, the Nationals' regular lineup faced a comparable lineup from the Cardinals. Both starting pitchers, though, stole the show. Jeremy Guthrie, trying to make the Nats roster as a long reliever, did not allow a hit over 4 1/3 innings, pitching around two walks and a hit batter. St. Louis' Michael Wacha, meanwhile, went five scoreless innings, allowing two first-inning...
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Roark and Murphy still beaming after WBC experience

Roark and Murphy still beaming after WBC experience
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Tanner Roark and Daniel Murphy rejoined the Nationals this morning, each still basking in the glow of their experience playing for the gold-medal-winning Team USA in the World Baseball Classic and each confident he'll be ready for the start of the regular season. The WBC experience differed between the two, with Roark pitching four scoreless innings in Tuesday's semifinal victory over Japan while Murphy rode the bench for nearly the entire tournament. Neither expressed...
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Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in West Palm Beach

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in West Palm Beach
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals are playing a rare day-night, split-squad doubleheader today, with half the club facing the Cardinals at home this afternoon and the other half facing the Marlins in Jupiter this evening. If you're in town and trying to decide which game to attend ... come to The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. As you can see below, all the regulars are in the lineup here. The lone exception is Daniel Murphy, who along with Tanner Roark has reported back to camp following...
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