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Quick thoughts from Williams after Nats’ 5-4 win

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - On a broad level, in the grand scheme of things, today’s 5-4 Nationals win means absolutely nothing. But for new manager Matt Williams, it was still nice to see his team do some of the minor things necessary to win games in the regular season, even though this was just the Nats’ first game of spring. Williams said he enjoyed

Zimmerman, Ramos, McLouth and Garcia discuss Nats’ spring opener

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - After two long weeks of workouts on the minor league fields focusing on fundamentals and just taking batting practice, do you think Nationals players were excited to actually take part in a game and face a real opponent? “Yes. Yes. Yes,” outfielder Nate McLouth said, smiling. “Those workout days kind of drag a little bit, but they’re necessary, obviously. It

Hearing from Taylor Jordan after his spring debut (Nats win 5-4)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP SCORE: Nationals 5, Mets 4 Recap: The Mets put up four runs on Christian Garcia in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead, but the Nats chipped away in the late innings and took the lead in the top of the ninth on Michael Taylor’s RBI triple to center. Need to know: The two young Nats starters who threw today, Taylor Jordan

Ramos doubles, Garcia gets hit hard

PORT ST. LUCIE - After being set down in order in their first 12 trips to the plate today, the Nationals got something going in the fifth inning when Wilson Ramos smoked an RBI double off the wall in left-center. The long fly ball plated Ian Desmond, who had reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second base. Adam LaRoche led off the inning with

Two scoreless innings in the books for Taylor Jordan

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Taylor Jordan has gotten the Nationals’ slate of spring training games off to a good start. The 25-year-old right-hander has completed two scoreless innings against the Mets, allowing just a first-inning leadoff single to left by Chris Young. Jordan struck out the left-handed-hitting Ike Davis looking to end the first inning on what looked like a good changeup on the

Williams on the fifth starter competition, bus pranks, Sunday’s starter and more

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - On his first pregame bus ride as Nationals manager, Matt Williams was in a joking mood. So when he saw defensive coordination and advance coach Mark Weidemaier nodding off twice during the bus ride, he tried to sneak up on Weidemaier and snap a picture. Both times, however, Weidemaier quickly snapped up. “He opened up his eyes, so I couldn’t

Man with gun reported outside Viera courthouse near Space Coast Stadium

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Multiple outlets are reporting that a man with a gun is outside the Viera courthouse, just down the street from the Nationals’ spring training facility at Space Coast Stadium. Reports of the incident first started circulating before 10:30 a.m., and Florida Today has recently reported that the man with the gun is still outside the Moore Justice Center, occasionally pacing

Let the games begin

VIERA, Fla. - Baseball games are here, ladies and gentlemen. We’ve watched bullpen sessions for more than two weeks. We’ve seen countless swings in the cages. We’ve witnessed bunt plays being run and comebackers being fielded and relays being practiced. We’ve seen infielders practice catching popups. We’ve seen pitchers throw to hitters, but with L-screens stationed in front of them. We’ve watched the Nationals go

Span turns 30, Ramos puts on a show

VIERA, Fla. - Today is Denard Span’s 30th birthday, and a handful of fans who were in attendance for this morning’s casual workout inside Space Coast Stadium sang “Happy Birthday” to the Nationals center fielder when he stepped into the cage for his first round of batting practice. After the song was over, one fan shouted, “Old man!” at Span. Not nice, dude. Not nice.

Rule change means extra work for Nats catchers

VIERA, Fla. - About 20 minutes before the Nationals’ workout got under way this morning - a workout that was brief and laid-back the day before Matt Williams’ squad will get its spring schedule underway - a group of catchers stood out at home plate at Space Coast Stadium putting in some extra defensive work. Bench coach Randy Knorr and third base coach Bobby Henley,

Storen’s confidence is high and his changeup is improving

VIERA, Fla. - After two weeks of watching pitchers throw bullpens and live batting practice sessions with an L-screen in front of them and more than a week of trying to pull some type of information from watching position players field groundballs and take BP, we’re just one day away from something of substance. Yeah, at this point, a meaningless Grapefruit League game against the

Nats agree to terms with all 17 pre-arbitration players

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals announced late this afternoon that they’ve agreed to terms with all 17 of their pre-arbitration players, settling the contract terms for all players on the 40-man roster for 2014. The 17 players are: Danny Espinosa, Ryan Mattheus, Tyler Moore, Xavier Cedeno, Tanner Roark, Taylor Jordan, Jhonatan Solano, Erik Davis, Eury Perez, Christian Garcia, Jeff Kobernus, Sandy Leon, Zach Walters, Aaron

Wednesday Williams quotes on Friday’s lineup and his use of late-inning relievers

VIERA, Fla. - Wonder what went into Matt Williams’ thinking on his lineup for Friday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Mets? Wonder no more. “Just planning the whole thing out for spring,” Williams said today. “Understanding that, one, we want to get a look at guys (and), two, We want to stack our main guys to ramp at the end of spring, certainly get more

Nats release lineup for Friday’s spring opener at Mets

VIERA, Fla. - Matt Williams’ first lineup as Nationals manager has been posted. Here’s the batting order the skipper will run out for the Nats’ Grapefruit League opener on Friday at Port St. Lucie against the Mets: RF Nate McLouth 2B Danny Espinosa 3B Ryan Zimmerman 1B Adam LaRoche SS Ian Desmond C Wilson Ramos DH Tyler Moore LF Scott Hairston CF Eury Perez RHP

Sights and sounds from Wednesday’s workout (plus Davis note)

VIERA, Fla. - I love watching major league teams take infield, and luckily for me, the Nationals have done plenty of quick-moving infield drills so far this camp. Manager Matt Williams grabbed his fungo bat and hit grounders to his top two groups of infielders this morning, putting them through the drill at a crisp pace. Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman both put on a

Jordan reacts to starting Nats’ spring opener, plus Friday and Saturday pitching probables

VIERA, Fla. - Matt Williams has posted the pitching probables for the Nationals’ first two Grapefruit League games, starting with Friday’s game at Port St. Lucie against the Mets. As I mentioned yesterday, right-hander Taylor Jordan will get the start on Friday, and Jordan said today that he’s been told he’ll throw two innings. Here’s are the pitchers scheduled to follow Jordan to the mound

One minor league position player to watch this season

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals have a handful of pitchers who could quickly move through their minor league ranks and make an impact at the big league level in the next year or two. Since the promotions of Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon, however, the Nats have lacked a big-name position player prospect who can excite fans and leave them looking forward to future seasons.

Notes from Williams’ daily session with the media

VIERA, Fla. - Matt Williams met with the media this afternoon, as he does every afternoon in spring, and discussed a variety of topics. Here’s a sample platter from that afternoon session with reporters: On Ryan Zimmerman getting his first work this spring at first base during early drills: “He’s got great hands, man, so he’s really good at it. ... We worked with his

Giolito talks Tommy John rehab, outside expectations and improvements he’s made (with J. Johnson, Jordan notes)

VIERA, Fla. - It’s now been nearly 18 months since Lucas Giolito underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, but the Nationals’ 19-year-old right-hander and top prospect says he’s completely healthy, feels strong and is ready to attack his first full season as a professional ballplayer. Giolito met with reporters today outside the Nationals minor league facility, towering over us with his 6-foot-6, 255

Mattheus day-to-day with inflammation in his chest

VIERA, Fla. - An MRI taken yesterday afternoon has revealed that Nationals reliever Ryan Mattheus has costochondritis, which is inflammation of the cartilage that attaches the ribs to the breastbone. Doctors have told Mattheus he’s day-to-day at this point. Mattheus first started feeling pain in his upper chest after throwing his second bullpen session of spring, back on Feb. 18. He was shut down for

Clay Hensley’s revival, and the quirky throwing program that got him here

VIERA, Fla. - Around July of last year, veteran right-hander Clay Hensley had one foot out the proverbial door, ready to step away from baseball and move on to the next phase of his life. Now he’s in Nationals camp, pitching well and battling for a spot in Matt Williams’ bullpen. That in itself sounds like a cool story, but tales like that aren’t unique

Final notes from today

VIERA, Fla. - While most of the day was highlighted by the “Pitchers’ Hitting Game” that took place on the field at Space Coast Stadium as well as Field 5, there were some other drills run today. Before the hitting game took place, position players and pitchers all warmed up on the minor league fields, as per normal. They then practiced making turns around first

Harper will stay in left, Clippard comes through bullpen session OK

VIERA, Fla. - While Bryce Harper was the Nats’ starting left fielder for the vast majority of last season, he essentially backed up Jayson Werth in right, starting 16 games out there, and also started eight games in center in place of Denard Span. Harper’s versatility and arm strength allows him to play all three spots, and former Nats manager Davey Johnson took advantage of

“Pitchers’ hitting game” tops the list of most entertaining drills of camp (with video)

VIERA, Fla. - Spring training can be a tedious, dull experience for major league players. Many of the drills they’re being put through during these weeks leading up to games are ones that they’ve been doing since middle school. Position players take batting practice and work on defensive fundamentals. Pitchers throw bullpens and practice fielding comebackers. Gets old after a while. Actually, it gets old

A few notes leading up to this morning’s workout

VIERA, Fla. - They’re calling for some more rain today here, but the Nationals might luck out again. It looks like the showers won’t hit us until mid-afternoon, by which point the Nats will be off the fields and will have their workout behind them. That’s chief meteorologist Dan Kolko with that report. The live batting practice sessions we saw over the weekend have been

Like Strasburg, Detwiler adding to his repertoire

VIERA, Fla. - Like manager Matt Williams, Nationals bench coach Randy Knorr moved back and forth between Field 2 and Field 3 during yesterday’s workout, trying to watch a little bit of every pitcher’s live batting practice session just to see how everyone was looking. He watched Stephen Strasburg pound the zone and locate four pitches, (including his new slider) on Field 2, then walked

Venezuelan Nats offer support for home country, plus workout notes and photos

VIERA, Fla. - Following today’s workout, a handful of Nationals players gathered in the bullpen at Space Coast Stadium, held Venezuelan flags and offered their support to the people of Venezuela, who have been dealing with violent clashes throughout their country as of late. Reports out of Venezuela are that at least eight people have died within the last two weeks due to violent protests

Strasburg toys with slider, cracks a smile during today’s live BP session

VIERA, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg’s repertoire already features a four-seam fastball that last season ranked second in the major leagues in average velocity among qualified starters. He has a sharp, knee-bucking curveball. And he has a changeup that often makes hitters look silly given how much movement it has and how fast it is relative to most changeups. Today, during Strasburg’s first live batting practice

Mattheus shut down due to chest injury, Clippard returns to workouts

VIERA, Fla. - While the rest of the pitchers in his throwing group took part in their first live batting practice sessions of spring today, Ryan Mattheus remained sidelined with what he said is an upper chest injury. Mattheus has been shut down since Tuesday, he revealed today, after feeling discomfort in the chest following his second bullpen session of spring. He will undergo an

Tommy John rehab complete, Skole healthy and excited to be back in camp

VIERA, Fla. - It’s a really foggy morning down here in Viera and more rain might be on the way throughout the afternoon, but the Nationals will try and get in a full workout today despite the conditions. Players were required to report before 7 a.m. today for photo day, in which they move from station to station and have their picture snapped by various

Reviewing some of the new replay rules

VIERA, Fla. - After he was done running Friday’s workout and taking part in all of his normal daily meetings with his coaching staff, Nationals manager Matt Williams took the hour-long drive to Kissimmee for another meeting. This one was with Major League Baseball officials, and was held to instruct Williams as well as a few other managers on the new video replay rules that

Final Saturday afternoon notes, plus photo gallery

VIERA, Fla. - After facing left-handers Sammy Solis and Matt Purke in live batting practice today, and before he was set to step in against right-hander A.J. Cole, I asked shortstop Zach Walters what he thought of the young, talented hurlers the Nationals were rolling out to the mound on Field 2 today. “Is it like a requirement now that every guy we have is

Fister, Rendon, Ramos and Williams discuss Fister’s live BP session

VIERA, Fla. - As spring training progresses, we’ll slowly be able to learn more and more about the new players that are in Nationals camp. Doug Fister looked sharp and shown impressive command down in the zone during his three bullpen sessions coming into today. And with hitters stepping into the batter’s box against Fister for live batting practice for the first time, we got

Solis stands out during first live BP session of spring

VIERA, Fla. - Today’s workout was briefly interrupted by a heavy rainstorm that lasted about 15 minutes or so, but the Nationals still were able to take part in their first live batting practice sessions of spring, with a couple taking place before the rain came and the rest after the showers had passed through. Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez were the first to throw

Live BP sessions begin today, Ramos discusses possible ban on home plate collisions

VIERA, Fla. - Full-squad workouts will get slightly more interesting starting today, as live batting practice sessions will start this morning out on the back fields by the Nationals’ minor league complex. For those who are unaware, live batting practice is when an actual pitcher is throwing to actual hitters, although there is an L-screen in front of the pitcher and the hitters often spend

Williams looking for big things from Span in 2014

VIERA, Fla. - We can talk all we’d like about where Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman are going to hit in the batting order this season. And believe me, there will be plenty of blog posts about those very topics over the next handful of weeks. But the guy who will set the tone for the Nationals lineup this season is Denard Span,

Notes on replay and Clippard’s spring workload (plus photo gallery)

VIERA, Fla. - Manager Matt Williams made the drive to Kissimmee a bit ago for a meeting with Major League Baseball officials regarding the new replay rules that will be instituted this season. MLB asked Williams to drive in so that the new rules could be explained in detail, giving the teams complete knowledge of what will be allowed and when. I’ll be interested to

Moore on increased reps at first base: “I just feel comfortable over there”

VIERA, Fla. - Tyler Moore came up through the minors as a first baseman. Prior to the 2012 season, Moore had appeared in 414 games as a professional. He had played first base in all 414. The last two seasons, in an effort to add depth and find a way to get Moore’s bat in the lineup, the Nationals have asked Moore to learn the

Harper lands one in the lake, Clippard gets a rest (plus more workout notes)

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals got lucky today, and Matt Williams knows it. The rain just started coming down pretty hard here, only a couple of hours after the Nats finished their workout on the back fields by the minor league complex. It was sunny and breezy during the workout, and now it’s pouring. In the second day of full-squad workouts, Danny Espinosa was right

Delcarmen hoping to make his way back to majors with Nationals

VIERA, Fla. - It’s been three years since Manny Delcarmen last appeared in the big leagues. This was a guy who posted a 2.05 ERA in 44 innings for the Red Sox in 2007 and worked the eighth inning of a World Series game. This was a guy who appeared in 73 games for Boston in 2008, serving as a key set-up man as the

Comparing Williams to Johnson in the early stages of spring

VIERA, Fla. - A lot of the talk early on this spring has been about how Matt Williams is detail-oriented and intense, and is running his first camp as Nationals manager at a quick pace and with a high level of focus on the fundamentals. His players, almost universally, seem to like that, and appreciate how Williams has handled things so far and the way

Fister, Soriano impress Williams (plus photo gallery)

VIERA, Fla. - After sitting out the first two bullpen sessions that he was scheduled to throw because of a side injury, Ross Ohlendorf took to the mound today and got in his first mound work of spring training. While all the other pitchers in camp had thrown at least one bullpen session this spring coming into today, Ohlendorf had been held out because of

Werth on his playing time, his spot in the batting order and his beard competition

VIERA, Fla. - Jayson Werth reported to camp on Tuesday. He took his physical yesterday. But today, reporters finally crossed paths with Werth for the first time since he arrived in Florida for the start of camp. Werth took part in today’s first full-squad workout, getting in some defensive work and taking some batting practice on the back fields. He then chatted with reporters for

Williams: Trust the process, focus on fundamentals, improve defensively

VIERA, Fla. - Anytime a new manager or coach takes the reins of a team, the early stages of his tenure will be carefully analyzed to see how he handles his players and runs the ship. We’ve discussed how Matt Williams’ first week running the Nationals has been very detail-oriented and planned out. There’s a structure in place for how Williams wants things to go,

Espinosa primarily sees time at shortstop during today’s full-squad workout

VIERA, Fla. - When position players got into the first drill of the first full-squad workout of Nationals camp, Danny Espinosa didn’t receive the first reps at second base. He didn’t actually line up at second base at all. Instead, Espinosa was set up as the second shortstop to get infield work, backing up Ian Desmond in this morning’s early drills. Anthony Rendon was the

First full-squad workout is today

VIERA, Fla. - Now that the gang’s all here, it’s time to see everyone take the field together as a group for the first time. All of the Nationals’ position players have reported to camp and there were no issues with any of the physicals, according to manager Matt Williams. That means the Nats can have everyone take part in today’s first full-squad workout of

Going over some early lineup possibilities

VIERA, Fla. - It will likely take new Nationals manager Matt Williams a good while before he settles on a set lineup that he’d like to use during the regular season. First, Williams needs to see all his hitters take some cuts, both in the cage and in games, with his own eyes. Then, he needs to get a sense of where they feel most

Final notes from today, plus Day 5 photo gallery

VIERA, Fla. - It was a pretty quiet day at Nationals camp today, with position players taking their physicals and working out with team trainers, and all pitchers getting the day off from bullpen sessions. How quiet a day was it? Well, the most exciting thing to happen out on the back fields during today’s workout was when Mark Lerner’s two schnauzers tried to attack

Harper hoping to improve, Williams hoping to help

VIERA, Fla. - Given how well-known he is across the baseball landscape and the level of talent he possesses, it’s easy to forget that Bryce Harper is still just 21 and has played in just 371 games as a professional. Harper’s skill set is vast, but he has some things he needs to improve upon, some ways that he can bolster his game. And he

Harper is happy, healthy, bulked-up and ready to move past the wall collisions

VIERA, Fla. - Just before the end of the first period of today’s U.S.-Czech Republic Olympic hockey game, which a number of Nationals players were intently watching on the lone TV in the clubhouse, Bryce Harper got up from his spot near the TV and headed to his locker to chat with a few reporters. Most of us had seen Harper at NatsFest a little

Blevins settling in, enjoying his reps at shortstop

VIERA, Fla. - There was a new addition to the Nationals clubhouse this morning - a picture of pitching coach Steve McCatty was hanging up next to Gio Gonzalez’s locker. In the photo, which looks like it was taken in sneak-attack fashion, McCatty is sitting at his locker in the coaches’ dressing room with a surprised/confused look on his face and a bag of ice

Zimmerman still working to rebuild confidence in throwing shoulder

VIERA, Fla. - I’ve now been in Florida for a week, and already I’m at the point where I’m falling asleep at 9:45 p.m. That might be the norm for some people, but I’m typically a guy who can’t shut it down for the night until at least 1 a.m., if not later. Every year, without fail, this is an assignment that turns me into

Final notes and quotes, plus Day 4 photo gallery

VIERA, Fla. - Tanner Roark has been quietly going about his business so far this spring, but very little about pitching coach Steve McCatty is quiet. So when Roark was wrapping up his bullpen session this morning, McCatty turned to minor league pitching coordinator Spin Williams and took a playful shot at Roark, well within earshot of the right-hander. As most of you surely know,

Zimmerman to begin getting playing time at first base this spring

VIERA, Fla. - The chatter about Ryan Zimmerman eventually moving to first base has been going on for some time now. And while we don’t know where Zimmerman will be playing the majority of his games two years from now, we do know that he’ll get at least a little bit of playing time at first this season. New Nationals manager Matt Williams told Zimmerman

Harper does some hitting, Soriano throws his first bullpen session

VIERA, Fla. - All 62 players on the Nationals’ spring roster have reported to camp, according to manager Matt Williams. Reporters haven’t seen Jayson Werth to this point, but that means nothing. Werth has apparently reported to people who actually matter, unlike myself, and he’ll take part in player physicals tomorrow. Bryce Harper will meet with reporters tomorrow after he takes his physical. Today, Harper

Harper arrives, Purke returning to form after injury

VIERA, Fla. - Bryce Harper and Jeff Kobernus walked into the home clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium a little before 9 a.m., which leaves Jayson Werth as the only member of the Nationals’ 40-man roster who I have yet to spot at camp. Harper dished out hugs to teammates and then started unpacking his things as he grabbed a seat in front of his locker.

In the early days of spring, Williams keeping an open mind on roster construction

VIERA, Fla. - While a host of position players have rolled into the Space Coast Stadium complex over the last handful of days, I don’t think I realized just how close the Nationals were to having their full complement of players in camp until late yesterday afternoon, when I went up and down the roster, checking off the names of everyone who had arrived. Turns

Lobaton starting to settle in, plus Day 3 photo gallery

VIERA, Fla. - It’s been four days since Jose Lobaton was acquired by the Nationals in a trade with the Rays, and in that time, the Nats’ backup catcher has slowly started to feel more and more comfortable. Except, it appears, when it comes to knowing the names of the pitchers he’s been working with. “I like, after a bullpen, talk to them a little

Hearing from the skipper after Day 3 of workouts

VIERA, Fla. - Yesterday, I mentioned that manager Matt Williams and new third base coach Bobby Henley were seen practicing signs in an empty Space Coast Stadium about two hours after nearly all the players had left the facility for the day. What exactly were Williams and Henley doing? Why couldn’t they just practice those signs over dinner or in a meeting room? Turns out,

LaRoche on his beard, his health and his experiences with Williams

VIERA, Fla. - You can add Adam LaRoche, Denard Span, Tyler Moore, Eury Perez, Mike Fontenot and Will Rhymes to the list of position players who have arrived to camp early. The left side of the Nationals’ clubhouse - the side occupied by the position players - is slowly starting to fill up. LaRoche strolled into the clubhouse early this afternoon with a lengthy beard

Fister, Solis impress; Jeroloman almost ready for workouts

VIERA, Fla. - There’s only so much you can take out of bullpen sessions early in spring. There’s no one standing in the batter’s box. There’s no umpire. There are only a couple dozen people watching on instead of 30,000. And, well, pitchers are throwing in a bullpen that has nine other mounds, and typically four other pitchers getting in their own work. That said,

More on the “open competition” at second base, Carroll excited to compete

VIERA, Fla. - Matt Williams’ comments yesterday about the Nationals having an “open competition” this spring between Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa for the team’s starting second base job seemingly drew a lot of attention from fans. Rendon came up as a rookie last season, adapted on the fly to a position he had barely played since Little League, and fared pretty well. He improved

Williams wants his infielders to be dancing machines

VIERA, Fla. - It wasn’t all that long ago that walk-up music was first introduced in baseball games. It used to be when a player came up to the plate to start an at-bat, his name would be announced, the fans would applaud, then the noise would fade and then the player would dig into the batter’s box. I’m at the age that I can

Final note plus Day 2 photo gallery

VIERA, Fla. - I’ve got one quick final note to pass along from today, since I shared quotes from Matt Williams yesterday about how detail-oriented he can tend to be. A couple of hours ago, well after today’s workout had ended and players had gone home, Williams and new third base coach Bobby Henley emerged from the Nationals clubhouse and made their way up to

Strasburg’s focus this spring: holding runners (plus plenty more Strasburg quotes)

VIERA, Fla. - Slowly over the last couple of years, one aspect of Stephen Strasburg’s game has jumped out at him as an area that has to be improved. The numbers show it, and the results within games have made it plenty evident. Strasburg needs to get better at holding runners. The right-hander has only picked off one runner in his career, and of the

More from Williams on bullpen construction, Strasburg and Skole

VIERA, Fla. - The deeper we get into spring training, the more that we’ll talk about roster construction scenarios with new Nationals manager Matt Williams. You don’t want to spring too much on the guy right out of the gate, especially when he’s still learning about his players and seeing many of them for the first time with his own eyes. But Williams did get

Williams: Starting second base job is up for grabs

VIERA, Fla. - Danny Espinosa said at NatsFest last month that he had been told by general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Matt Williams that he would have a chance this spring to - as he phrased it - win his starting second base job back. Today, Williams essentially confirmed that, saying that the Nationals will have an “open competition” for the second base job

Sights and sounds from Day 2

VIERA, Fla. - It felt like Florida weather this morning for the first time in a few days, as the sun came out and the temperatures rose into the 70s while the Nationals got their second workout of spring into gear. That allowed Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler and a host of others to throw their first bullpen sessions of spring in solid conditions.

Cedeno hoping to build off strong finish to 2013, stellar winter ball effort

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals’ workout schedule today will pretty much mirror the one that they had yesterday. They’ll head out to the back fields around 10 a.m., get in some stretching, rotate through a few stations (bullpen sessions, pick-off practice, bunting drills and pitchers’ fielding practice) and then likely wrap up sometime around noon. Those scheduled to throw bullpen sessions today: Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen

The evaluation process has already begun

VIERA, Fla. - The first day of workouts is in the books. Matt Williams was probably able to sleep a little bit better last night now that things are under way and the first workout jitters are behind him. As of right now, the Nationals have a whopping 63 players set to eventually report to camp. That total includes right-hander Erik Davis, who is here

Quotes from McLouth and Roenicke, plus photo gallery

VIERA, Fla. - You can add Nate McLouth to the list of position players who have reported early to camp, this after the veteran outfielder made the trip down from Tennessee to Viera yesterday. McLouth signed a two-year, $10.75 million deal with the Nationals this offseason, giving the team an experienced fourth outfielder who is capable of playing all three outfield positions, has some pop

Williams on Harper’s health, Livo’s role and the idea behind the daily quotes

VIERA, Fla. - Back at NatsFest in late January, Bryce Harper expressed some doubt that he’d be at full strength when spring training begins, this after he underwent surgery in October to debride and repair the bursa sac in his left knee. “Trying to get back to full strength and we’ll see where I can get by spring training,” Harper said at the time. “See

Hearing from Williams after his first workout as Nationals manager

VIERA, Fla. - Matt Williams admits he had a little trouble sleeping last night ahead of his first workout as Nationals manager. Williams got out of bed early and made his way to the Nats’ spring facility by 5 a.m. He got in a workout, then went over to the minor league facility at 5:45 to mess around with one of the minor league coaches.

First workout is in the books

VIERA, Fla. - While we’ve talked a lot about how intense Matt Williams was as a player and how regimented and focused his spring training workouts will likely be, today’s workout for pitchers and catchers - Williams’ first as Nats skipper - seemed pretty laid back and quiet. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t tightly run, however. Groups of pitchers quickly rotated through stations where they

Garcia ready to move on from “miserable” 2013, plus notes before first workout

VIERA, Fla. - Today is the first official day of workouts here at Nationals camp, with players taking the field at around 10 a.m. to begin stretching. Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez, Chris Young, Taylor Jordan, Ross Ohlendorf and new signee Josh Roenicke will throw bullpen sessions today. A big group of players were crowding around the lone clubhouse TV this morning, watching the U.S.-Russia Olympic

The many sides of Doug Fister

VIERA, Fla. - You can learn a learn a lot about Doug Fister in 12 minutes if you ask the right questions. And in that 12 minutes, it’s easy to see Fister as more than just the Nationals’ newest addition to their starting rotation, a guy with a career 3.53 ERA and lauded by many as one of the more underrated starters in the majors.

Davis updates his injury, plus more from Lobaton

VIERA, Fla. - Erik Davis had been having what he felt like was a “great” offseason. He was full-go, pretty much ready for spring training and throwing to hitters back home a week before he was set to report to camp. Then, when letting go of a changeup about 50 pitches into that throwing session, Davis felt something in his right elbow. He threw another

Clippard talks contract, is sorry to see Jeter go

VIERA, Fla. - It was just four days ago that Tyler Clippard and the Nationals finally agreed to terms on a contract for 2014 after weeks of negotiations, a deal that will pay the right-handed reliever $5.875 million this season and avoid the need for arbitration. Today, on his 29th birthday, Clippard strolled into the Nationals clubhouse, pleased to have the process done with and

Nats sign reliever Josh Roenicke to minor league deal

VIERA, Fla. - Spring training will have a bit of a family feel for Ian Desmond this year. The Nationals just signed his brother-in-law to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league spring training. Right-handed reliever Josh Roenicke, who is married to Desmond’s sister, agreed to terms with the Nats today. The 31-year-old spent last season with the Twins, posting a 4.35

Detwiler’s belt may cause cancer, Lobaton getting settled (plus other notes)

VIERA, Fla. - For a lengthy period this morning, the Nationals clubhouse here at Space Coast Stadium was nearly completely empty, with the exception of six reporters standing around waiting for something, anything, to happen. Pitchers and catchers were out getting their physicals at an off-site location. A few coaches were on the back fields with some minor leaguers. The only team employee in sight,

After another rehab-oriented offseason, Jordan ready to battle for starting spot

VIERA, Fla. - It might have taken most of the day yesterday for all of the Nationals’ pitchers and catchers to arrive at camp, but everyone made it in on the report day, according to a team official. That includes closer Rafael Soriano, who reported to camp late last year because of a visa issue, and right-hander Doug Fister, whose flight to Florida was delayed

Jersey numbers, facial hair updates and more Ramos quotes

VIERA, Fla. - For those of you who are interested in keeping up with the jersey numbers of the new Nationals - and I know you people are out there - I have updates for you. Outfielder Nate McLouth, who signed a two-year deal this offseason, will wear No. 15, which was worn by Dan Haren last season. Right-hander Doug Fister, acquired in a December

Lobaton deal official, Erik Davis to 60-day DL (with Rizzo quotes)

VIERA, Fla. - The Jose Lobaton trade is finally official. In addition to the Nationals acquiring Lobaton from the Rays to presumably serve as their backup catcher, they also receive two 22-year-old minor leaguers - left-hander Felipe Rivero and outfielder Drew Vettleson. Right-hander Nathan Karns is the only player going from the Nats to Tampa Bay. As I mentioned earlier, Lobaton hit .249/.320/.394 in a

Karns discusses the trade, Ramos discusses Lobaton

VIERA, Fla. - One day into spring training, we have our first trade. Not much time wasted there. Mike Rizzo found who he surely expects to be the Nationals’ backup catcher this morning, completing a trade with the Rays that sends right-hander Nathan Karns to Tampa Bay in exchange for catcher Jose Lobaton. The teams have not yet announced the trade, but the deal is

Nationals deal Karns to Tampa Bay for Lobaton

VIERA, Fla. - Earlier this morning, Nationals right-hander Nathan Karns discussed the possibility of being traded. Now the rumors have come to fruition. Karns just finished meeting with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, who informed him that he’d been dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays. So instead of reacquainting himself with teammates in the only organization he’s ever known, Karns is now packing his gear

Karns reacts to recent trade rumors

VIERA, Fla. - Nathan Karns was having a relaxing dinner with fellow right-hander Aaron Barrett last night, mentally preparing for the first official day of spring training for Nationals pitchers and catchers today. Then Karns got a call from his agent telling him that his name was being tossed out in trade rumors involving Rays catcher Jose Lobaton. How about that for a bit of

A hodgepodge of morning notes and quotes

VIERA, Fla. - As I start to get moving this morning on my first full day in Florida, I’d just like to wish everyone well back up north as you deal with this massive snowstorm that’s coming through the mid-Atlantic region. Stay safe, everyone. Hopefully everyone’s power remains on throughout the day, and I hope to have plenty of notes and updates from down here

Report: Nats and Rays discussing Lobaton-for-Karns trade

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals have been interested in Rays catcher Jose Lobaton for a little while now. A report late this afternoon tosses out right-hander Nathan Karns as a guy who might be able to help the Nats land Lobaton in a deal with Tampa Bay. The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that the Nats and Rays are talking about a Lobaton trade, with

Back with the Nats, Ayala ready to battle for a bullpen spot

VIERA, Fla. - Hello from the press box at Space Coast Stadium on a beautiful sunny, 79-degree day in Viera, Fla. I’m not rubbing it in, I swear. Just updating everyone on the current climate here on the east coast of Florida. (OK, I’m rubbing it in a little bit. Sorry about that.) The Nationals’ spring facilities are very much the way I remember them

MASN unveils 2014 Nationals broadcast schedule

MASN announced its broadcast schedule for the 2014 Nationals season this afternoon. The television home of the Nats will air 157 of 162 games this season with 97 appearing live on MASN and MASN HD, and 63 on MASN2 and MASN2 HD. Five games are scheduled to be aired on national networks in 2014. MASN will broadcast Washington’s March 31 season opener against the New

Flying down to Florida

I’ve never been anywhere close to what you would consider a morning person, but I snapped out of bed at 4:45 this morning, terrified that despite spending a couple of hours packing for spring training yesterday, I had forgotten something crucial to my trip. The time last season that I took a cab all the way to the airport for a flight to Atlanta only

My spring training dark horse for the Nationals (with broadcast note)

If you were watching the Olympics yesterday and had to do a quick double take because you thought you saw Jayson Werth competing in the men’s moguls competition, well, you weren’t alone. Turns out, Swedish freestyle skier Per Spett looks a good bit like Werth when he’s got his skiing gear strapped on. And that led to some Nationals fans doing some quick Photoshop work,

Nats agree to terms with Tyler Clippard, avoiding arbitration

The Nationals announced today that they have agreed to terms with right-handed reliever Tyler Clippard on a deal for the 2014 season, avoiding arbitration. Clippard will make $5.875 million this season, according to CBSSports.com. Clippard had asked for $6.35 million, while the Nats had countered at $4.45 million, meaning that the two sides agreed to a deal nearly half a million above the midpoint between

What areas of the roster could still use some work?

In less than 48 hours, I’ll be on a flight headed for Orlando, ready to leave behind this brutal weather and kick off spring training 2014. Word on the street is that the D.C. area is supposed to get more snow later this week. Guess I’ll miss out on that. What awful luck. (Is my sarcasm coming through clearly enough?) Nationals pitchers and catchers are

Expectations abound again

It’s not too difficult to remember how we all felt this time last year. Nationals fans expected a stellar season following the team’s division title in 2012. I expected the Nats to win over 100 games. Davey Johnson, well, he had such high expectations that he entered the season thinking, “World Series or bust.” Things will probably be a little different this year, after the

On the Burnett-to-D.C. rumors, plus Kimball note

A couple of weeks ago, A.J. Burnett wasn’t sure whether he wanted to pitch in 2014. Now, Burnett’s decision on what uniform he’ll be wearing this upcoming season has become one of the main storylines remaining as we work up toward spring training. And the Nationals are being mentioned as one potential landing spot for the 37-year-old right-hander. Burnett, who posted a 3.30 ERA and

Nats sign Luis Ayala to minor league deal

Remember that list of players that the Nationals will have as part of their spring training roster? We can add another name to it. The Nationals have signed right-handed reliever Luis Ayala to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league spring training, a source confirmed late this morning. Ayala, 36, spent the 2013 season with the Orioles and Braves, posting a 3.27

A look at the Nats’ spring training roster

We’re now less than a week away from the official start of Nationals spring training. Six days from now, the home clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium will be swarming with pitchers and catchers, as Feb. 13 is the deadline for battery members to report to camp, with their first official workout scheduled for Feb. 15. Position players will report by Feb. 18, the first full-team

Span more comfortable, confident entering his second spring with Nats

When Denard Span showed up to NatsFest last year, he says he walked into the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and immediately felt somewhat out of place. Span had just been acquired by the Nationals in a trade with the Twins - the only organization he had ever known - two months prior, and had yet to meet the vast majority of his teammates and

Nats sign catcher Koyie Hill to minor league deal

The Nationals have increased the competition for their backup catcher job, signing veteran Koyie Hill to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league spring training. Hill, 34, has played in parts of 10 big league seasons, seeing time with the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Cubs and Marlins. He appeared in 18 games with Miami last season, hitting .155 with a .373 OPS in 58

A quick check on what’s left on the market

Even though we’re around a week away from the start of spring training, there are still a handful of big names left out there on the free agent market, guys that can make a significant impact on a team. Starters A.J. Burnett, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana and Bronson Arroyo are still without a team for the 2014 season. Closer Fernando Rodney will bolster the back

Now fully healthy, Solis open to whatever comes this year (Baker to Marlins)

Scan the list of left-handed pitchers that the Nationals have invited to big league camp this spring and you see a wide variety of names. You have your established starter in Gio Gonzalez. You have your veteran reliever in Jerry Blevins. You have a possible swingman in Ross Detwiler. You have a number of guys with experience at Triple-A now competing for big league jobs

Williams on what Espinosa must do in spring to reach his potential

Last night featured a lopsided, less-than-thrilling game, a mediocre batch of commercials and an overall boring night on Super Bowl Sunday. Bring on baseball season. We’ve talked a lot this offseason about Danny Espinosa and how he might fit into the Nationals’ plans for 2014. General manager Mike Rizzo says that he feels Espinosa could be valuable to the Nats as a reserve middle infielder,

Plenty of new faces competing for bench roles in 2014

Super Bowl Sunday might be the biggest day of the football calendar, but to me, it always serves as a reminder that baseball is just around the corner. There’s just one more football game remaining this winter, one more major sporting event left before pitchers and catchers report to spring training and we start the transition towards the warmer-weather sports. That’s not to say that

Nationals agree to terms with Doug Fister (Brown signs with Red Sox)

The Nationals announced this morning that they have agreed to terms with right-hander Doug Fister on a contract for 2014, avoiding arbitration. Update: The New York Post reports that the Nats and Fister agreed to a one-year, $7.2 million deal. The Nationals had offered Fister $5.5 million through the arbitration process and Fister had countered at $8.5 million. Fister, who went 14-9 with a 3.67

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