News and notes from Wednesday's workout

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Some news and notes from Wednesday at Nationals spring training …

* Defense and baserunning again were at the top of the list on the second day of full-squad workouts, with an emphasis on some different areas of each skill.

As he did Tuesday, manager Davey Martinez opened the session by personally leading the baserunning instruction. After guiding all players through the club’s expectations out of the batter’s box and then at first base the previous day, he had everyone gather at second and then third base this morning to go over proper technique.

Tuesday’s defensive work covered popups and fly balls, and the communication required to make sure every one is caught by somebody. Today’s drill covered balls that land in the outfield for hits, with outfielders tracking them down in the corners or the gaps and infielders assuming proper positioning for relays under each situation as called out by field coordinator Bob Henley.

Notable alignments among the first-teamers who ran through the defensive drill together: Both Victor Robles and Alex Call were in center field, with Jacob Young part of the second team; Carter Kieboom joined Nick Senzel at third base; and Joey Gallo joined Lane Thomas in right field for the outfield drills, then sprinted in to join Joey Meneses at first base for infield drills, showing off his versatility.

* Patrick Corbin will start Saturday night’s Grapefruit League opener against the Astros. Martinez wasn’t ready to name any other pitchers who will appear in that game, or in the days to come. But the choice of Corbin as the first starter out of the gate is not necessarily an indication of the team’s plan come Opening Day. It had more to do with the left-hander being ahead of most other guys at this early stage of spring, having already thrown two innings’ worth of live batting practice Tuesday.

“He’s been down here throwing,” Martinez said. “He lives here. He’s been throwing a lot. So we’ll just go with Corbin right now.”

Martinez wasn’t going to take the bait when asked about his eventual Opening Day starter, saying he’ll wait until the final few weeks of camp to make that announcement. Corbin was given the honor each of the last two seasons because of his seniority on an otherwise inexperienced staff. But Martinez might be inclined to hand over the assignment to Josiah Gray this time after the young right-hander made his first All-Star Game last year.

“We’ll see how spring training goes, and then towards those last two weeks we’ll line it up for who we feel like will start Opening Day,” the manager said. “To me, I know it is a big deal for pitchers to be able to start. But all these guys have got to do their job, no matter what. Whether it’s day one, day two, day three, these guys have got to be ready to go.”

* Trevor Williams continues to be away from the team following the birth of his fifth child Friday in San Diego. The veteran starter was told he could stay at home and report late so he could be with his family.

Martinez said Williams is expected to report Saturday, at which point he’ll throw a bullpen session, then advance to facing live hitters before making his spring game debut.

* Zach Davies threw a bullpen session today and impressed the coaching staff with his strike-throwing skills. The veteran right-hander signed a minor league deal over the weekend and reported to camp Tuesday. “He’ll throw another one,” Martinez said. “Then he’ll throw some live (batting practices) and then we’ll see where he’s at.”

* Ryan Zimmerman reported for camp today and will be around for about a week as a special instructor. “Employee No. 11” spoke to the entire team during the morning “Circle of Trust” meeting and then spent the rest of the workout observing and working individually with several players.

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