Nats hit the field Sunday morning for intrasquad game

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals haven't traditionally held intrasquad games at spring training, but Dusty Baker has. And what Dusty wants, Dusty gets.

So it is that the Nats will split up into two teams this morning and play a pseudo-exhibition game against each other. Just don't count on this resembling anything like an official game.

For one thing, the plan is to play at most eight innings. Possibly fewer than that, if all the pitchers get used up. Each pitcher is scheduled to throw one inning, with Max Scherzer and Joe Ross getting the start for their respective squads.

scherzer-red-spring-sidebar.jpgSome prominent big-name players (like Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman) aren't scheduled to play. Baker has planned all along to bring his veterans along slowly, knowing they don't need as much time to get prepared for the regular season and knowing their bodies don't need too much wear and tear in late February.

There also will be several prospects called over from minor league camp to participate in this game, which (by the way) starts at 11 a.m. inside Space Coast Stadium and is open to the public for no charge.

So why does Baker believe intrasquad games are important?

"The hardest parts of starting the first game or two are the enormous fields," he said. "You've been on the field with 60 guys, so there's very little space out there. Then all of a sudden, you're in a big old stadium and the next guy is a mile away on one side and a mile away on the other side. Just sort of get used to seeing how vast the stadiums are."

In his perfect world, though, Baker wouldn't have his team play each other. He'd have it play another organization that happens to call the same spring training stadium home.

Unfortunately, that won't be possible until next spring, when the Nationals and Astros move into their new shared complex in West Palm Beach.

"A lot of times, your pitchers don't pitch the same way (in an intrasquad game) because they don't want to hit one of their own guys," Baker said. "They're not thinking about hitting somebody else's guy. They'll pitch inside without thinking about it. But here it's a little different when you have intrasquad games because guys are thinking about hitting each other. If you see a lot of guys missing outside, that's why. I don't think they do it consciously, but subconsciously."

Here you go: Lineups for today's game ...

Team A
CF Tony Campana
SS Brendan Ryan
3B Jason Martinson
RF Matt den Dekker
1B Tyler Moore
2B Scott Sizemore
LF Reed Johnson
C Jhonatan Solano
DH Jose Lobaton

RHP Max Scherzer

Team B
LF Ben Revere
2B Trea Turner
SS Danny Espinosa
1B Clint Robinson
RF Chris Heisey
CF Michael A. Taylor
3B Stephen Drew
C Spencer Kieboom
DH Wilson Ramos

RHP Joe Ross

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