Regulars get work in before Nats head north

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – The Nationals’ goal for today’s Grapefruit League finale was pretty simple: Get guys in, get them out, get them on a plane to D.C.

Though most of the regulars made the 45-minute trip to Mets camp, all were out of the game by the bottom of the fourth and hitting the showers so they could catch the early bus back to West Palm Beach. After that was the scheduled charter flight home, setting the stage for Tuesday’s final exhibition at Nationals Park and then Thursday’s season opener in Cincinnati.

So there wasn’t a whole lot to evaluate from what wound up a 10-1 loss. As long as everybody emerged healthy, everybody would be happy.

Patrick Corbin didn’t mind that he allowed three runs and seven hits in only four innings. The veteran left-hander knew he was scheduled for only four frames today. He would’ve preferred a slightly lower pitch count than his final total of 86, but the extra work wasn’t the worst thing, either.

“We were thinking four and 60,” he said. “So, some more pitches than I thought. But it was definitely good to at least get one more game, a real spring game, in. I’m ready to go, ready for Saturday.”

Corbin’s previous outing actually came on a back field in a minor league game, so his last Grapefruit League appearance came way back on March 11, when he threw 74 pitches in 3 2/3 innings against the Cardinals.

In his five official spring starts, Corbin finished with a 5.51 ERA, allowing 21 hits and four walks in 16 1/3 innings but striking out 18. He was pleased with the way he was able to add a cutter to his repertoire and believes that pitch will help provide another look for opposing hitters who in recent years have come to know his fastball-slider combo like the back of their hands.

“I got ahead of guys, worked on the cutter a lot, which was the big thing,” he said. “I think overall I’m pretty pleased with it. And I’m ready to make that first start.”

Corbin will next be on the mound Saturday against the Reds, starting the season’s second game after holding the Opening Day assignment each of the last two years.

* There’s only one roster decision left to make, with infield prospect Trey Lipscomb making a strong case to be part of the club. Whether today’s game had any impact on that decision remains to be seen, but Luis García Jr. picked a bad time to make a bad error.

García booted what should’ve been a routine, inning-ending, 4-6-3 double play grounder in the bottom of the third, prolonging the inning and adding pitches to Corbin’s tally. It was his fourth error in 17 games this spring, a recurring issue that drew manager Davey Martinez’s ire earlier in camp.

García, who is out of options, could be in danger of losing his job to Lipscomb, who added another hit off the bench today and finished his spring with a .400 batting average (20-for-50) and .995 OPS.

* Several big league relievers got work today, with mixed results.

Matt Barnes, who was officially added to the major league roster this morning, threw 1 1/3 perfect innings. The mid-spring signee made only five game appearances, but he allowed only one of the 15 opposing hitters he faced to reach base against him.

Kyle Finnegan retired the side on 15 pitches during his final inning of work, his fastball topping out at 98 mph.

Robert Garcia struggled, allowing three runs on three hits and two walks while retiring only two batters in the fifth. Tanner Rainey also retired only two batters in the seventh, walking three batters while plunking another.

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