Nats, Strasburg try to adjust after yet another rainout

JUPITER, Fla. - There are two ways to react to bad weather: complain about it or just accept it. Dusty Baker most definitely takes the latter approach.

The Nationals manager could be lamenting the fact that four of his team's last 10 exhibition games have been rained out, but he knows it wouldn't make the clouds go away, so why bother?

"You've still got to deal with it," Baker said after today's game against the Cardinals was called in the top of the fourth when a thunderstorm struck Roger Dean Stadium. "I mean, what choice do you have? We have no choice. You don't like it, but how many things in life are walking around that you don't like? Mother Nature doesn't care whether you like it or not."

The Nationals may not have any choice, but they will have to make some adjustments after much of the last week of spring training was wiped out. And there's no end in sight: There's a 90 percent chance of storms Wednesday in Port St. Lucie, where the Nationals are scheduled to face the Mets in their Grapefruit League finale. And this weekend's scheduled exhibition series at Nationals Park against the Twins: 80 percent chance of rain Friday.

strasburg-head-down-jul-4-hat-sidebar.jpgThe cancellations have a greater effect on pitchers than hitters. Take Stephen Strasburg, who after getting rained out Monday in Viera was scheduled to throw six innings today in Jupiter. The right-hander only got three innings of work in, though, before umpires pulled both teams off the field as lightning strikes approached the ballpark.

Having only thrown 50 pitches to that point, Strasburg wound up going into a batting cage and throwing three more simulated innings with a teammate standing in the batter's box but not swinging.

"That was much harder, to be honest," he said. "There's no air flow. I would've much rather thrown three more innings out there than three innings in the cage. It was pretty rough."

Had Strasburg been able to pitch Monday as originally planned, he would then have been lined up to start Saturday's exhibition in D.C., a final tune-up for his April 7 regular season debut against the Marlins. But in being pushed back to today's game, he now can't appear in another exhibition game and still pitch April 7 on normal rest.

Nationals relievers, meanwhile, haven't been able to make any game appearances the last 48 hours. Several key members of the opening day bullpen were supposed to pitch either or both of these last two days, but now they'll have to find a way to get enough work in the only three remaining exhibitions on the schedule.

"This put a damper on some of my bullpen work," Baker said. "Like, (Jonathan Papelbon) was supposed to throw today. We've just got to find a way to adjust. ... It kind of backs us up tomorrow some. We hope it doesn't rain tomorrow as well."

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