Nats release Norris, responsible only for $688,000 of salary

Nats release Norris, responsible only for $688,000 of salary
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - From the day they signed Matt Wieters, Derek Norris knew his time with the Nationals would be short-lived. The end finally came this morning, when the club granted the 28-year-old catcher his unconditional release. Norris, who had been acquired from the Padres in early December presumably to be the Nationals' starting catcher, now becomes a free agent hoping to sign with another club before opening day. "With two weeks left in spring training, I feel like I've done...
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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. - Hello again from The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. It's good to be back after a little mid-spring trip home (complete with some unexpected snow shoveling). Thanks as always to Pete Kerzel for helping out in my absence. I'll be here through the remainder of camp, and things should start ramping up soon as the big decisions have to be made and the regulars start playing a lot more. Speaking of the regulars ... almost all of them are in the lineup for today's "road"...
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Roark, Murphy ready for intensity of World Baseball Classic

Roark, Murphy ready for intensity of World Baseball Classic
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - There is no way to adequately prepare in only two spring training starts for pitching in a high-level international competition at the end of the week. Tanner Roark knows this. He also knows he has done everything he can so far this spring to prepare himself as best he can for his next assignment: the powerhouse Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. "I feel like I'm well prepared," the Nationals right-hander said. "Body feels good, arm feels good, mind...
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Pitchers still ahead of hitters this spring (Nats lose 4-2)

Pitchers still ahead of hitters this spring (Nats lose 4-2)
NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Twins 4, Nationals 2 Recap: In his final tune-up before the World Baseball Classic, Tanner Roark looked as sharp as he could, tossing four scoreless innings on 57 pitches. The right-hander scattered two hits and struck out three, setting himself up well to next pitch for Team USA against the Dominican Republic on Saturday night at Marlins Park. Dusty Baker's lineup featured seven regulars, but those hitters couldn't manage much against Twins left-hander Hector...
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No closer? No problem, insist members of Nats bullpen

No closer? No problem, insist members of Nats bullpen
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Shawn Kelley doesn't know who the Nationals closer is going to be to start the season. Neither does Blake Treinen nor Joe Nathan nor Joe Blanton nor Dusty Baker. (Well, maybe Baker knows deep down who he intends to have pitching the ninth inning, but he's publicly insisting that decision hasn't been made yet.) To outsiders, this appears to be cause for concern, maybe even a major problem. How can a team as good as the Nationals, a team trying to win its fourth...
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Baker understands risk of watching spring games from field

Baker understands risk of watching spring games from field
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It's a familiar sight in spring training ballparks across Florida and Arizona, managers and coaches watching the game not from the dugout but from folding chairs stationed behind the on-deck circles, on the field of play. Given how many players there typically are in spring training, and given the less-than-official nature of these games, many managers and coaches like to sit in those chairs to get a better view of pitchers and batters. All the while, though, they know...
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Starting lineups: Nats vs. Twins in West Palm Beach

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Twins in West Palm Beach
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Today marks the last time we'll see Tanner Roark, Daniel Murphy and four others in Nationals uniforms for a little while. Later this afternoon, the Nats' six representatives in the World Baseball Classic are set to leave camp and join their home countries to play in the international tournament. (Along with Team USA's Roark and Murphy, Rafael Martín and Oliver Pérez will pitch for Mexico, Jhonatan Solano will catch for Colombia and Enny Romero will pitch for the...
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A mid-spring fan's guide to West Palm Beach

A mid-spring fan's guide to West Palm Beach
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - We have reached, believe it or not, just about the halfway point of spring training. (Time flies when you're having fun, huh?) Which means there has been ample time to start to get to know both the complex at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and the entire area. I knew very little previously about this part of South Florida, aside from having driven through it on a few occasions over the years. And there's still plenty more to learn. But given the fact I'm heading...
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Lee injury in ninth puts damper on otherwise clean game

Lee injury in ninth puts damper on otherwise clean game
JUPITER, Fla. - This was shaping up to be an entirely positive afternoon for the Nationals, who got three scoreless (and efficient) innings from Gio González and then five more scoreless innings from a parade of relievers to carry a 1-0 lead over the Cardinals into the bottom of the ninth at Roger Dean Stadium. And then things took a decided turn for the worse. St. Louis' Patrick Wisdom launched a game-tying home run to left to lead off the inning, leaving the game suddenly tied 1-1. Then...
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González tosses quick three innings vs. Cards (it's a 1-1 final)

González tosses quick three innings vs. Cards (it's a 1-1 final)
NATIONALS QUICK WRAP SCORE: Nationals 1, Cardinals 1 Recap: Gio Gonzalez cruised through three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk and using two double-play grounders to help him record nine outs on only 29 pitches. Wilmer Difo produced the game's first run thanks to a single, two bases advanced on Lance Lynn's wild pickoff throw and Grant Green's RBI groundout. The Nationals bullpen put up more zeroes to protect the 1-0 lead, with Joe Nathan, Matt Albers, Jimmy Cordero and...
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Wieters still catching bullpens, Norris dealing with sore back

Wieters still catching bullpens, Norris dealing with sore back
JUPITER, Fla. - Matt Wieters has been in a Nationals uniform for more than a week now, but has yet to take the field with his new team for a game. That development should be only a few days away, though, with the veteran catcher still focused for now on catching bullpen sessions from the Nats pitching staff. While the Nationals are playing the Cardinals today in Jupiter, Wieters stayed back in West Palm Beach and was scheduled to catch Joe Ross' bullpen session, the latest opportunity to get...
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Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in Jupiter

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in Jupiter
JUPITER, Fla. - It's another windy day in South Florida, and just like yesterday in West Palm Beach the wind is blowing straight in from center field. Pitchers love it. Hitters and fielders, not so much. The Nationals face the Cardinals for the second straight day, merely moving the venue 15 minutes north to Roger Dean Stadium. There aren't many regulars on the trip, but Ryan Zimmerman is in the lineup for the second straight day, this time serving as designated hitter. Clint Robinson, who...
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Zimmerman pleased with process over results in first game

Zimmerman pleased with process over results in first game
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - When Ryan Zimmerman stepped to the plate Friday for the first time this spring, then ripped a line drive to left field, there was an audible reaction from the crowd at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. It would have been difficult to strike a baseball with much more authority than the Nationals first baseman did. The crowd reaction, though, quickly changed to groans when Cardinals left fielder Randal Grichuk ranged two steps to his right and snagged the ball out of the...
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Nationals agree to terms with all 22 pre-arbitration players

Nationals agree to terms with all 22 pre-arbitration players
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals announced tonight they agreed to terms with all 22 of their pre-arbitration players, ensuring everyone on the roster is under contract with a set salary for the season. The players who agreed to terms: right-handers Blake Treinen, Joe Ross, Trevor Gott, A.J. Cole, Koda Glover, Rafael Martín, Austin Adams, Jimmy Cordero and Austin Voth; left-handers Sammy Solis, Enny Romero and Matt Grace; infielders Clint Robinson, Matt Skole, Trea Turner, Wilmer Difo...
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Strasburg ditches windup and likes the results

Strasburg ditches windup and likes the results
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It may look a bit odd - pitching from the stretch, not a full windup, when there's nobody on base - but in Stephen Strasburg's mind, if that unconventional tweak can help make him a healthier and more effective pitcher, why not give it a shot? "I'm not trying to reinvent myself," the Nationals right-hander said today after debuting his windup-less delivery during an impressive two-inning start against the Cardinals, "but trying to simplify things as much as I can...
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Sans windup, Strasburg cruises in spring debut (Nats split a pair)

Sans windup, Strasburg cruises in spring debut (Nats split a pair)
NATIONALS QUICK WRAPScore: Nationals (ss) 8, Marlins 5 Recap: Jhonathan Solano's two-run single capped a four-run seventh inning as the Nationals rallied past the Marlins. ... Right-hander A.J. Cole started and was battered for six hits and four runs (three earned) in three innings, with his ERA zooming to 13.50. Need to know: Wilmer Difo, a career infielder, made his first appearance in the outfield when he subbed for center fielder Adam Eaton. The Nationals are hoping to increase Difo's...
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Pregame notes on Strasburg, Zimmerman, Difo and Wieters

Pregame notes on Strasburg, Zimmerman, Difo and Wieters
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - We're now a full week into Grapefruit League play, but today is a pseudo-debut day for several Nationals. Stephen Strasburg is on the mound against an opponent for the first time. Strasburg, who tossed one inning in last Thursday's intrasquad game, is slated to pitch two innings today against the Cardinals The Nationals held off Strasburg's Grapefruit League debut by a couple of days to help line him up the way they prefer entering the season. With Max Scherzer's...
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Starting lineups: Nats split-squad vs. Cardinals and Marlins

Starting lineups: Nats split-squad vs. Cardinals and Marlins
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals play their first split-squad games of the spring today, with one team staying home to face the Cardinals while another team makes the short drive up to Jupiter to face the Marlins. The home game features three notable Grapefruit League debuts: Stephen Strasburg on the mound, Ryan Zimmerman at first base and Pedro Severino behind the plate. Strasburg and Zimmerman's debuts were merely held back because of the long spring; Severino was dealing with a minor...
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Joe Blanton isn't at all like you probably think he is

Joe Blanton isn't at all like you probably think he is
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If you've followed baseball over the last decade and you have some knowledge of Joe Blanton, you probably have an image in your mind of the right-hander. There's a good chance the image you have of him, however, is inaccurate. You probably think of Blanton as something less than a physical specimen, a pitcher with an everyman's body that does anything but scream professional athlete. You probably think of him as a country boy from Kentucky who doesn't have much...
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Despite "pure panic" moment, Werth swinging a hot bat

Despite "pure panic" moment, Werth swinging a hot bat
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Jayson Werth was taking swings in the big batting cage just outside The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, just as he would normally do in the minutes leading up to a spring training game in which he was only serving as designated hitter. This being the Nationals' home ballpark, and him batting sixth in the lineup, he figured he had plenty of time before his first at-bat of the day. And then at 1:11 p.m., Syracuse hitting coach Brian Daubach quizzically looked at the...
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