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Souza gets first start, LaRoche takes a seat, Werth at DH

HOUSTON - Steven Souza Jr. will get his first major league start tonight when the Nationals wrap up a quick, two-game series with the Houston Astros. He will play right field and bat eighth. First baseman Adam LaRoche is sitting with a tight quad. Combined with tomorrow’s scheduled off-day, LaRoche hopes to be ready for Friday’s game at Philadelphia. With LaRoche out, shortstop Ian Desmond

Zimmermann becomes winningest pitcher in Nats history

Once the Nationals offense got going, right-hander Jordan Zimmermann had no trouble becoming the winningest pitcher in team history. Anthony Rendon had four hits, including a home run, and three RBIs, and Zimmermann combined with three relievers on a shutout as the Nats completed a two-game sweep with a 7-0 victory over the Astros on Wednesday night. Zimmermann posted his 45th victory for the Nats,

LaRoche and Werth just keep on raking

HOUSTON - Here’s Adam LaRoche’s average slash line in March/April for his career: .223/.318/.400/ Here’s Adam LaRoche’s slash line through 25 games in March/April this season: .312/.413/.495. LaRoche is traditionally a slow starter. That’s no secret to anyone who has followed the Nationals the last few seasons. That only makes the way that LaRoche has started the 2014 season that much more impressive. After going

Clubhouse reactions to Span’s grab, Frandsen’s blind stab and more

HOUSTON - Two ridiculous defensive plays were made by Nationals outfielders tonight. One of them resulted in an out. The other only temporarily held one runner from scoring, but was still just baffling. Denard Span’s basket catch while falling to the ground on the hill in center and Kevin Frandsen’s blind backhanded pick of a ball off the scoreboard in left are the two plays

Williams discusses Nats’ 4-3 win over Astros

HOUSTON - Another comeback win. That makes eight on the season. Ho, hum. The Nationals trailed 3-2 heading to the eighth inning tonight, but they came back on the Astros with a couple of rallies, both times leading to Adam LaRoche RBI knocks. His double off the wall in left-center scored Jayson Werth (who got a great read on the play) from first and LaRoche

Werth blasts off in first at Houston (Nats win 4-3)

Well, that didn’t take long. Three batters into Tuesday’s series opener, Jayson Werth crushed his fourth homer of the year, a two-out shot to left, to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead in Houston. Werth, serving as the Nats’ designated hitter tonight, has tremendous success in his limited time filling that role. In six career appearances as a DH, Werth is now batting .417 (5-for-12)

Williams on Harper’s surgery, Jordan’s demotion, Fister’s upcoming return

Bryce Harper underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb, and Nationals manager Matt Williams received his first chance to address it before his team’s series opener at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Williams isn’t sure exactly when Harper will be back, but had only positive news to report about the procedure. “It’s hard to tell how much time (he’ll miss),

Mattheus on his return to the Nats

Reliever Ryan Mattheus is back with the Nationals for the first time since the club left Viera, Fla., in March. The Nats called up Mattheus and sent starting pitcher Taylor Jordan to Triple-A Syracuse. Mattheus found out last Thursday that he would be returning to the Nats after he was ejected from a game. Mattheus threw one pitch against Indianapolis in the eighth inning. The

Werth to DH, McLouth in right, Frandsen in left

HOUSTON - It seems a bit weird, but the Astros are an American League team now, which means the Nationals get to utilize the designated hitter during this brief two-game set in Houston. Tonight, the Nats’ DH will be Jayson Werth. Manager Matt Williams will have Nate McLouth play right field tonight, and Kevin Frandsen will play left, replacing Bryce Harper, who will be out

Nats recall Ryan Mattheus, option Taylor Jordan to Triple-A

HOUSTON - The Nationals announced this afternoon that they’ve recalled right-handed reliever Ryan Mattheus from Triple-A and optioned right-hander Taylor Jordan to Syracuse. The move almost certainly means that the Nats will go with a four-man rotation for now, skipping what would have been Jordan’s turn on Sunday against the Phillies, and they will have an eight-man bullpen with the addition of Mattheus. Off-days in

As injuries mount, Nats rely on “next man up” mentality

HOUSTON - In the NFL, there’s a saying that is used quite frequently when a team has to deal with a key player getting injured. “Next man up,” is what coaches, general managers and players will often utter when a valuable contributor heads to the trainer’s room. That’s a mentality that the Nationals have needed to adopt this season as one player after another has

Bryce Harper to undergo thumb surgery, miss around two months

HOUSTON - The second opinion that Bryce Harper received on his injured left thumb provided more bad news to an already injury-depleted Nationals team. Harper will need surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in the thumb, a source confirms, and Harper could be out for around two months. ESPN first reported that Harper would need surgery. Harper injured the thumb sliding into third

Some off-day talk

HOUSTON - Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, Doug Fister and Scott Hairston are all already on the disabled list. Denard Span spent time on the seven-day concussion DL earlier this season. Taylor Jordan battled through four innings yesterday while dealing with a bout of the flu. Danny Espinosa has a sore knee after taking an Ian Kennedy curveball off his right kneecap. The blows

Williams on Harper’s injury and what’s next

The decision to place outfielder Bryce Harper on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb was two-fold, said Nationals manager Matt Williams: It gives the team time to get a full evaluation of what’s wrong with the digit, and allows Harper some additional time to let the swelling in the thumb dissipate. Williams said there’s some concern in the organization because Harper has

McLouth subs for shelved Harper in finale against Padres

With Bryce Harper heading to the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb, Nate McLouth gets the call to play left field for the Nationals this afternoon in the finale of a four-game series with the Padres. This is just the kind of situation the Nats were thinking of when they signed McLouth to a two-year, $10.75 million deal in December. It never hurts

Harper placed on 15-day disabled list (updated with Harper quotes)

The Nationals have placed outfielder Bryce Harper on the 15-day disabled list with a left thumb sprain. To take Harper’s place on the 25-man roster, outfielder Stephen Souza has been recalled from Triple-A Syracuse. Harper sustained the injury sliding handfirst into third base on a triple Friday night. He went back in the field the following half-inning, but was later removed with what was first

Williams, Leon react to Roark’s stellar outing in 4-0 win (with Harper note)

Ian Desmond had three hits and an RBI, Jayson Werth had a two-hit ballgame, Adam LaRoche stayed hot, reaching base twice and driving in a run, and Anthony Rendon had a hit and made a couple of tremendous defensive plays. But with all due respect to those guys, Tanner Roark was the story today. Roark delivered a three-hit shutout in the Nationals’ 4-0 win over

Roark on the shutout: “For the first time doing it, it feels really good”

Only once in his 99 career minor league starts had Tanner Roark ever tossed a complete game. He’d never thrown a shutout. Yet here he was today, on the field at Nationals Park in front of 31,590 fans, delivering the finest outing of his professional career in a 4-0 Nationals win over the Padres. Roark retired the first 16 hitters he faced today. He allowed

Roark blanks Padres on three hits in 4-0 win

If you liked last night’s offensive explosion from the Nationals, you’ll like the start to this afternoon’s game. After one inning, the Nats have a 3-0 lead on the Padres. So much for any worries that a day game after a rain-delayed night game would lead to some sort of hangover. The bats are alive, all right. After Tanner Roark dispatched the Friars on nine

Williams says Harper is available, Gonzalez is feeling fine (updated)

Bryce Harper is scheduled to be seen by a hand specialist today at Nationals Park, and the Nationals will wait until that examination is complete to determine if any further diagnostic measures, such as an MRI, are necessary. Harper jammed his left thumb on a headfirst slide into third base on a triple in Friday night’s game against the Padres, and manager Matt Williams said

Harper out of Nats’ Saturday lineup

Not surprisingly, outfielder Bryce Harper isn’t in today’s Nationals lineup against the Padres and hard-throwing right-hander Andrew Cashner. (That’s Cashner, the pitcher, who is not to be confused with Cashner, the outfielder, who played left field for a batter in Thursday night’s opener of the four-game series between the teams.) Harper jammed his left thumb sliding into third base on a triple in last night’s

How quickly things can turn

You hear ballplayers say it all the time. One of the best things about this game is that regardless of what happens one night, you get to come right back the next night and try all over again. On Thursday, the Nationals went 0-for-16 with runners in scoring position. They left 14 men on base. They dropped a tough 12-inning game to the Padres. On

Harper dealing with jammed left thumb, X-rays negative

Despite the 11-1 romp over the Padres tonight, Nationals fans were probably holding their breath for much of the evening after Bryce Harper had to leave the game after four innings with an apparent injury. After the game, however, manager Matt Williams provided some good news, given the circumstances: Harper suffered a jammed left thumb when he slid into third base on a third-inning bases-clearing

Strasburg takes hill against hobbled Padres (under way after rain delay)

The Nationals send right-hander Stephen Strasburg to the mound tonight in the second of four games against the Padres. Weather permitting, of course. Strasburg is 1-2 with a 5.33 ERA in five starts, but has 42 strikeouts in 27 innings. The Nats have won three of his five starts, most recently a 3-2 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday in which Strasburg picked up a

Some bad and some good

The Nationals have hit .223 with runners in scoring position thus far this season, ranking 22nd in the majors in that category. They’ve left 176 runners on base, which leads the National League. The talent is clearly there. The Nats are putting runners on, getting knocks and drawing walks. They had six of their starting position players notch at least two hits last night. For

Williams discusses lack of offense after Nats’ 12-inning loss

The Nationals sure gave themselves chances. They notched 16 hits, walked twice, and had two stolen bases. The opportunities were there, but the knocks in big situations weren’t. The Nats went 0-for-16 with runners in scoring position in tonight’s 4-3 loss to the Padres, and left 14 men on base. Jordan Zimmermann went six solid innings and the bullpen was impressive, but the Nats dropped

Padres-Nats lineups for series opener

The Nationals kick off a four-game set with the San Diego Padres tonight, a team that has a really solid pitching staff but also really struggles to score. San Diego has the fourth-best ERA in the majors at 2.82 and owns the majors’ best bullpen (San Diego relievers have posted a stellar 1.74 ERA). The Padres have scored just 60 runs in 22 games, however,

Looking back on a wild ballgame

What a weird game baseball can be. Tuesday night, the Nationals dropped their second straight ballgame to the Angels, this one by a 7-2 score. They were back to just one game over .500 through the season’s first three weeks and were a win away from being swept. The defense wasn’t pretty and hits with runners in scoring position had been largely absent on the

Williams discusses Nats’ 5-4 walk-off win, Gonzalez’s health

Two walk-off wins in four days. I bet Matt Williams would like the victories to come a little easier, but he’ll take them any way he can get ‘em. The Nationals rallied from a 4-1 ninth-inning deficit with four runs in the bottom half of the ninth, picking up a big comeback win and salvaging a game in this three-game set with the Angels. Jose

Nats lineup for finale vs. Angels

Adam LaRoche is back in the Nationals lineup for tonight’s series finale against the Angels after sitting out Tuesday in part because of a sore quad. Jose Lobaton is also back behind the plate after getting yesterday off. Tonight’s contest sets up to be the most notable pitching matchup of the series with Nats left-hander Gio Gonzalez taking on Angels right-hander Jered Weaver. Gonzalez is

A handful of morning observations

Through the first 21 games of the season, the Nationals have been outscored 44-12 in the first two innings of ballgames. They’ve allowed at least three runs in the first inning six times. They’ve allowed at least three runs in the second inning five times. All of that in just 21 games. Tough to come back from those type of early deficits. Now, as we’ve

Williams and Werth discuss Nats’ 7-2 loss

A couple of familiar early-season trends popped up again in tonight’s 7-2 Nationals loss - an early deficit and defensive miscues. The Nats trailed 3-0 three hitters into the game following a double, an Anthony Rendon throwing error and Albert Pujols’ 499th career homer. The Angels added another run later in the frame, and had a four-run cushion before the Nats even got their first

Barrett recalled, Cedeno optioned to Triple-A (Espinosa hits second, Rendon cleanup)

As promised, it didn’t take too long before Aaron Barrett was brought back from the minors and rejoined the Nationals. Barrett was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse this afternoon, with left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno being optioned to Syracuse to make room for Barrett on the 25-man roster. The 26-year-old Barrett got off to a great start with the Nats in his first taste of the big

More on Clippard’s tough start to 2014

Over the last four years, few late-inning relievers have been as consistently impressive as Tyler Clippard. Since the start of the 2011 season, Clippard has posted a 2.64 ERA and a 0.964 WHIP, struck out 10.3 batters per nine innings and allowed just a touch over a home run per nine. Right now, however, Clippard’s going through a tough stretch. He’s allowed at least one

Williams discusses Nats’ 4-2 loss

Thanks to Tanner Roark’s strong start and Angels starter Garrett Richards suddenly losing his control in the fourth inning, the Nationals led 1-0 heading to the top of the eighth inning tonight. The Angels then rattled off four runs off Tyler Clippard, and held on for a 4-2 win. All four of the runs Clippard allowed were unearned; they came in an inning which saw

Nats lineup vs. Trout, Angels

The Nationals open their first interleague series of the season tonight when they begin a three-game set against Mike Trout and the Angels at Nationals Park. This marks the first time Washington hosted the Angels since 2008 and the first time Bryce Harper and Trout will be on the same field during the regular season. Harper is batting second and playing left field. Tanner Roark

Some Easter Sunday leftovers

There were quite a few encouraging things that the Nationals saw in yesterday’s 3-2 walk-off win. Stephen Strasburg delivered a strong outing against a very tough Cardinals lineup, despite the fact he didn’t use his slider and instead relied entirely on fastball/changeup/curve. The Nats scratched out 11 hits and drew seven walks, and did a good bit of that damage against St. Louis’ bullpen. Jose

Williams discusses Nats’ 3-2 walk-off win

As I dry myself off here in the press box ... Matt Williams might not love the Nationals’ 2-for-12 line with runners in scoring position today or the fact that they stranded 17 runners, but he did love the way his team kept getting runners on and giving itself chances to come back and beat the Cardinals. That’s exactly what happened in this afternoon’s 3-2

Strasburg looks to get on track vs. Cardinals (plus Nats lineup)

It hasn’t been an ideal season for Stephen Strasburg thus far, as the Nationals right-hander enters Sunday 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA and just one quality start in four games. In his last start, the 25-year-old surrendered six runs in four innings on Tuesday at Miami. Strasburg gets another chance to turn things in the right direction on Sunday when he starts against Shelby Miller

Final thoughts on Harper’s benching

Anytime there’s a story involving Bryce Harper, the sports world takes notice. When that story is related to Harper getting benched for a lack of hustle, the sports world really takes notice. Matt Williams’ decision to pull Harper from yesterday’s game for not running out a ground ball back to the pitcher is one of the lead stories on ESPN’s Web site, was all over

Williams removes Harper from game because of “lack of hustle”

Bryce Harper was pulled from tonight’s game after six innings, but manager Matt Williams’ decision to remove Harper had nothing to do with his tight quad muscle. What was the reason? “The inability to run 90 feet,” Williams said sternly after the game, a 4-2 loss to the Cardinals. “Lack of hustle. That’s why he came out of the game.” Harper grounded back to Cardinals

Span activated off disabled list (with Cards-Nats lineups)

Two games with Single-A Hagerstown on a injury rehabilitation assignment have shown the Nationals what they needed to see. As a result, center fielder Denard Span has been activated off the seven-day concussion disabled list. He’ll be in today’s starting lineup against the Cardinals. Span was injured last Friday in a collision between first and second bases with Atlanta’s Dan Uggla. Because of Span’s history

Williams recaps Nats’ 3-1 win over Cardinals

A night after the Nationals were shut out and made three errors in an 8-0 loss, they scratched out a tough 3-1 victory against the Cardinals, a well-played game that saw much crisper defense and tremendous pitching. It wasn’t easy - few games against St. Louis ever are - but the Nats picked up the win, marking the first time they’ve beaten the Cardinals since

Williams on Treinen, Span, Barrett and concerns so far

The Nationals needed another fresh arm in the bullpen, so they sent hard-throwing right-hander Blake Treinen to Triple-A Syracuse and called up left-hander Xavier Cedeno. Treinen, 25, allowed one run in 2 2/3 innings in last night’s 8-0 loss to the Cardinals and pitched to a 1.35 ERA over three appearances during his first career stint in the majors. Before Friday’s game at Nationals Park,

Gonzalez-Wacha matchup highlights Friday night affair

You don’t need to look further than the mound to find the best reason to watch tonight’s game between the Nationals at Cardinals. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez goes up against Cardinals phenom Michael Wacha, who pitches against the Nats for the first time since Ryan Zimmerman broke up his no-hit bid last September. Wacha, 22, is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA through three starts this season

Nats recall Cedeno, option Treinen to Triple-A

The Nationals made a roster move to freshen up the bullpen prior to tonight’s game against the Cardinals. Left-hander Xavier Cedeno was called up from Triple-A Syracuse. To make room for Cedeno on the roster, the Nats optioned right-hander Blake Treinen to Syracuse. Cedeno was on a roll at Triple-A, having thrown 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, walking one and striking out

Addressing the poor record against the better teams

The numbers tell an interesting story. Dating back to the beginning of the 2013 season, the Nationals are 8-30 (a .211 winning percentage) against the Braves, Cardinals and Dodgers. Against everyone else, the Nats are 87-53 (a .621 winning percentage). Is it fair to question why the Nats struggle against the top teams in the National League but dominate the rest of the competition? “Of

Desmond: “I’ve been in some dark places defensively, and this is right there with them”

Ian Desmond was waiting at his locker for reporters after tonight’s 8-0 loss to the Cardinals, like he always is. Desmond went 1-for-4 with an infield single in tonight’s game, struck out twice and made two errors, giving him seven on the season. That’s the most in the majors. He could have hidden from the questions or deflected them, saying that it’s still early in

Harper back in Nats lineup

After being scratched about an hour before gametime Wednesday, Bryce Harper is back in the Nationals lineup tonight against the Cardinals. Harper missed the series finale at Miami because of quad tightness. He’s back to batting second and playing left field. Third baseman Anthony Rendon is leading off and Nate McLouth is playing center field. Taylor Jordan is on the mound, looking to rebound from

Some early notes and quotes

There’s one aspect of the major league schedule that you don’t really think about until you’re a part of it: the travel. The Nationals faced Jose Fernandez, one of the toughest pitchers in the majors, Wednesday night in Miami. They managed to come back from a three-run deficit and pick up a win, then headed out for the Miami airport after the game. The team

Walters, Werth and Roark discuss Nats’ win over Marlins

Jayson Werth and Zach Walters had as big a hand as anyone in the Nats’ 6-3 come-from-behind win over the Marlins on Wednesday. Werth tied it with a three-run homer in the sixth and Walters gave the Nats a 4-3 lead with a homer in the eighth. Right-hander Tanner Roark also contributed, giving up three earned runs in 6 1/3 innings. All three talked about

Williams on comebacks: “It’s a good thing. Not ideal, but good”

The Nationals are now up to five comeback wins in 15 games, meaning more than half of their victories have come when the opponent scores first. The jury’s out on whether that’s the best way to build a winning record, but so far, it has the Nats coming home from a six-game road trip with a 9-6 mark. What exactly does it say about the

Dietrich goes deep on Roark, Werth ties it (Walters homers, Nats win 6-3)

Tanner Roark and Jose Fernandez were swapping zeroes... until Derek Dietrich stepped to the plate in the Marlins’ half of the fourth. With two on and one out, Dietrich took Roark deep to right-center, breaking a scoreless tie with the three-run homer and putting the Nationals in a familiar position - comeback mode. This time, they’re charged with erasing a 3-0 deficit against the Marlins

Updating Span’s status, Fister’s throwing schedule and more

Denard Span, who was placed on the seven-day disabled list for concussions on Saturday, has returned to Washington ahead of the Nationals to be checked out by doctors and begin working his way back. Span had an appointment today and could potentially start a rehab assignment as early as Thursday. “If he passes his tests, which we expect him to do, he’ll go out on

Nats lineup vs. Marlins’ Fernandez in series finale (Harper scratched)

MIAMI - The Nationals get their first crack at Marlins ace Jose Fernandez this season when the two teams wrap up their three-game set tonight. Fernandez, the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year, went 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA in two starts against the Nats last year. He held Washington to one run on five hits and five walks while striking out 13 in

During a game to forget, Souza, Walters have moments to remember (plus Span note)

MIAMI - OK, so last night’s 11-2 loss wasn’t exactly the most enjoyable three hours for Nationals fans, players or coaches, but there were two moments last night that brought a smile to my face sitting next to the Nats’ dugout. In the sixth inning, with the Nats down 11 runs, Steven Souza Jr. came into the ballgame, replacing Jayson Werth in right. Two innings

A couple of issues through the season’s first two-plus weeks

MIAMI - There have been very few times early in Matt Williams’ managerial career when we’ve seen or heard him legitimately frustrated about something. Last night, after watching his team drop a ballgame 11-2 to the Marlins, Williams sure sounded frustrated when discussing the Nationals’ defensive play to begin the season. The Nats made two more errors last night, giving them 15 errors through 14

Postgame reactions after Nats’ 11-2 loss

MIAMI - This was most certainly one of those games a team would like to just toss out the window and forget about. The Nationals were outscored 11-2 by the Marlins tonight. They were outhit 15-2. They made two errors, giving them 15 errors through 14 games. Yup, try and forget about it and start fresh tomorrow morning. Here are postgame reactions from the Nationals

Walters homers, but Nats fall 11-2

If the Nationals are going to continue their mastery of the 2014 Marlins, they’re going to have to come from behind. Three batters into tonight’s game, Stephen Strasburg was down 3-0. Christian Yelich singled off Strasburg’s second pitch and Marcell Ozuna followed by whackin a first-pitch fastball into left field. That brought Giancarlo Stanton to the plate and Stanton mashed a 2-1 changeup over the

Span and Williams on Jackie Robinson Day

Today marks baseball’s annual remembrance of the groundbreaking day when Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947. No matter where he’s played, Nationals center fielder Denard Span has always made a special plea to his manager to make sure he’s in the starting lineup for Jackie Robinson Day. “You can’t sit me on Jackie Robinson Day,” Span said he’s told

Rounding up the Nationals’ injury udpates

I wonder which part of the “How to Be a Major League Manager” handbook covers addressing your team’s injuries with the assembled media before every game. Nationals skipper Matt Williams has been spending an inordinate amount of time each day recapping the various ailments that have befallen the Nats and how players are progressing, and Tuesday in Miami was no different. So without any further

Harper, McLouth, Leon in Nats lineup

MIAMI - As expected, Bryce Harper is in the Nationals lineup tonight against the Marlins, after he left last night’s contest in the seventh inning after feeling some tightness in his quad. The quad issue is considered minor and is something Harper has dealt with for the last handful of days, according to manager Matt Williams. Harper will play left field tonight, with Nate McLouth

On Espinosa’s strong start to 2014

MIAMI - With Ryan Zimmerman out 4-6 weeks with a fractured right thumb, Danny Espinosa will be getting a good bit of playing time at second base in the near future. And while Zimmerman will be missed during his absence, the Nationals sure don’t mind having Espinosa in the lineup given the way the 26-year-old is playing right now. Espinosa is 9-for-26 (.346) with four

Harper on his health, Zimmermann on his outing, Leon on his first big league homer

MIAMI - Despite being removed from the game in the seventh inning of tonight’s 9-2 Nationals win, Bryce Harper says he’s fine, and some minor quad tightness that he’s been feeling lately won’t keep him out of tomorrow’s lineup. “I just fell,” Harper said of the play when he dropped to the infield dirt when trying to move from second to third in the seventh

Williams discusses Nats’ 9-2 romp over Marlins

MIAMI - The frustration that might have built up over the weekend when the Nationals got swept by the Braves melted away tonight, as the Nats pounded out 11 extra-base hits, got seven strong innings from Jordan Zimmermann and routed the Marlins 9-2. Bryce Harper went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a triple before being pulled from the game due to what manager Matt Williams

Nats’ bats break out against Marlins (Nats win 9-2)

Apparently, there’s nothing like the Miami Marlins to bring a team out of its offensive woes. Going to the bottom of the third in Little Havana, the Nationals have a 5-1 lead, with right-hander Jordan Zimmermann on the mound. Zimmermann has given up a run on three hits and struck out three over two frames. In the first inning, it was Washington’s extra-base power on

Williams provides updates on Fister, Span, McLouth

Injured right-hander Doug Fister, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a right lat strain, threw a 50-pitch bullpen in Miami this afternoon. If he feels good tomorrow, the Nationals will work a simulated game into his upcoming rehabilitation schedule. “Fifty pitches, and he was a little winded, he told me afterward, but physically he was good,” manager Matt Williams said. “Everything felt good.

In utility role, Frandsen has to be ready for anything

Before this season, Kevin Frandsen had trotted to the outfield only 14 times in 398 career games. Now, with the Nationals thin in the outfield because of injuries that sent Denard Span (concussion) and Scott Hairston (oblique strain) to the DL, and with Nate McLouth nursing a sore left knee, Frandsen is quickly becoming reacquainted with warning tracks, walls and tricky bounces in opposing ballparks.

LaRoche sits, Moore in Nats starting lineup vs. Marlins

MIAMI - Adam LaRoche is out of the Nationals starting lineup for the first time this season, as the Nats face off against Marlins left-hander Brad Hand tonight. The right-handed-hitting Tyler Moore will get the start at first base in LaRoche’s stead. The red-hot Kevin Frandsen will bat second for the Nats tonight. Frandsen is 7-for-15 with two walks to begin the season. Bryce Harper

Moving on to Miami

MIAMI - I swear the Nationals will play teams other than the Braves and Marlins this season. It might not seem that way, given the schedule of late, but you’ll have to trust me on this. The Nats open a three-game set in Miami tonight, a series that will cap off 12 straight games against the Braves and Marlins and 15 straight games against division

Hearing from Harper, Desmond and McLouth

Bryce Harper can’t explain why the Nationals struggle against the Braves, nor is the slugging outfielder really concerned with Atlanta’s early-season dominance. Going 1-5 against one club during the first two weeks of the regular season isn’t any reason to panic, Harper said after the Nats were shellacked 10-2 at Turner Field on Sunday, with the Braves finishing off a weekend sweep. “It sucks coming

After weekend sweep in Atlanta, Williams’ focus is firmly on the future

Through a quirk in the schedule, the Nationals won’t play the Braves again until June 19, when Atlanta comes to D.C. for a four-game series. Washington doesn’t return to Turner Field until Aug. 8. After being swept this weekend by the homestanding Braves, it’s a good bet manager Matt Williams won’t be critical of the schedule-maker. Maybe by the time they next face one another,

Braves rake Gonzalez early, lead 6-0 (Nats lose 10-2)

It didn’t take long for the Braves to get to Gio Gonzalez. Atlanta took a 3-0 lead over the Nationals in the first inning. Gonzalez issued a leadoff walk to Jason Heyward, and then threw away a bunt attempt by B.J. Upton, placing runners at second and third with no outs. Freddie Freeman followed with a sac fly and Justin Upton homered to center for

Rizzo on injuries, Fister’s progress, struggles against Braves

While fans may lament the Nationals’ early-season injury problems, general manager Mike Rizzo thinks having multiple key players on the disabled list gives his team a chance to show the depth it added in the offseason. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (broken right thumb) today joined outfielders Denard Span (concussion) and Scott Hairston (left oblique strain), pitcher Doug Fister (lat strain) and catcher Wilson Ramos (broken

Zimmerman, Span talk about their injuries

So much for Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman’s sizzling April at the plate. Zimmerman, who was hitting .364 with two home runs and six RBIs in his first 10 games, will be lost for four to six weeks with a fractured right thumb. He suffered the injury Saturday night, diving back to second base on a pickoff throw where he was tagged out by Atlanta

Zimmerman hits DL, Walters recalled from Triple-A (plus updated Nats lineup)

ATLANTA - Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Nationals this morning with a broken right thumb and is expected to be out for four to six weeks. While the Nats will miss their slugging third baseman, they’ll at least get right fielder Jayson Werth back in the starting lineup this afternoon for the 1:35 p.m. series finale against the Braves.

Replay ruling in 6-3 loss frustrates Nationals

ATLANTA - If you’re getting frustrated by the new instant replay system in Major League Baseball, it might make you feel slightly better to know that you’re not the only one. The frustration extends to the Nationals clubhouse, especially after last night’s 6-3 loss to the Braves, when the Nats felt they had challenged a call that would be overturned, only to see the umpires

Postgame reactions after Nats’ 6-3 loss

ATLANTA - The Nationals dropped another one to the Braves tonight, a 6-3 defeat, marking the fourth loss in five tries against Atlanta for Matt Williams’ club this season. Here are some postgame reactions from the clubhouse on the defeat, the Nats going 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position, Ryan Zimmerman’s injury and the string of loses to the Braves: Anthony Rendon On Ryan Zimmerman’s

Zimmerman out 4-6 weeks with fractured right thumb

ATLANTA - Add Ryan Zimmerman to the list of injured Nationals. Zimmerman fractured his right thumb in tonight’s 6-3 loss to the Braves, an injury that will knock the Nationals’ third baseman out for four to six weeks, according to manager Matt Williams. “It is what it is. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us,” Williams said. “Gotta play.” Zimmerman injured the thumb while trying

Jordan off to rough start (Zimmerman removed, Nats lose 6-3)

The Upton brothers have struck again. Taylor Jordan gave up an early 1-0 Nats lead in the first inning after allowing a solo homer to Braves outfielder B.J. Upton. Jordan then allowed a single to Freddie Freeman. One out later, Justin Upton doubled home Freeman to give the Braves a 2-1 lead. Dan Uggla and Evan Gattis then followed with doubles of their own. The

Williams on Span, Barrett and Werth

The Nationals revealed before Saturday’s game that outfielder Denard Span is dealing with concussion symptoms. Span collided with Braves second baseman Dan Uggla late in Friday’s game and has been dealing with a mild headache since, according to manager Matt Williams. “Given his history we thought certainly erring on the side of caution to go ahead and get him on the seven-day concussion disabled list,”

Treinen called up, Barrett sent down, Souza on lineup card, Span not (updated)

ATLANTA - Coming off Friday night’s extra-inning loss to the Braves, one that was especially taxing to the Nationals bullpen, the team has made at least one roster move before tonight’s contest. Right-hander Blake Treinen is in the building and will be called up for the first time in his career. Right-hander Aaron Barrett will be optioned, but said the Nats told him they hope

Werth, Span out of Nats lineup

ATLANTA - Jayson Werth, who left last night’s game with a tightness in his groin, is out of the Nationals lineup today. Also out of the lineup is Denard Span, who will sit today with the Braves starting left-hander Alex Wood. Werth was pulled from last night’s game in the 10th inning, and manager Matt Williams said after the game that Werth would be reevaluated

Clippard discusses his early struggles, issues with Braves

ATLANTA - It could easily be argued that Tyler Clippard was one of the more dominant late-inning relievers in the league last season. Clippard posted a 2.41 ERA in 72 games, had a 3.04-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and allowed just 37 hits in 71 innings. Yeah, 37 hits allowed in 71 innings. This season, things haven’t started so smoothly for Clippard. The Nationals right-hander has allowed

Reflecting on a tough loss to a tough division opponent

ATLANTA - Last night’s game had it all. And then some. Ryan Zimmerman was nearly decapitated by a broken bat, then started a 5-4-3 double play after letting the splintered barrel fly over his head. A ball in play drilled second base umpire Angel Hernandez. Denard Span and Dan Uggla collided between first and second base. Adam LaRoche tried to score from second on a

Williams discusses Werth’s injury, Nats’ nutty 7-6 extra-inning loss

ATLANTA - We saw another ridiculously entertaining, tight ballgame between the Nationals and Braves tonight, one filled with twists, turns, quirks and plenty of action. In the end, the Braves picked up a 7-6 walk-off win in the bottom of the 10th, their third win in four Washington-Atlanta games so far this season. It was a wild ballgame, and a weird one, too. “Players trying

Span gives Nats 6-5 lead, Clippard coughs it up (Braves win 7-6 in 10 innings)

Tanner Roark’s night has taken a turn for the worse in the second inning. The Braves lead the Nationals 4-0, a three-run homer by shortstop Ramiro Pena capping off a four-run second. Pena is in the lineup because regular shortstop Andrelton Simmons is out with a wrist injury. Atlanta took a 1-0 lead when Justin Upton singled, Dan Uggla was hit by a pitch and

Fister passes 35-pitch bullpen session with no problems (plus bullpen note)

Injured right-hander Doug Fister threw 35 pitches during a bullpen session in Atlanta this afternoon and came through without any issues from his strained right lat or the right elbow that troubled him during spring training. “It was really impressive,” said Nationals manager Matt Williams. “He threw it where he wanted to, he had good life, he felt good after. So we’ll progress from there,

Nats lineup in series opener vs. Braves (plus Atlanta lineup)

ATLANTA - The Nationals will face Braves right-hander Julio Teheran for the second time in seven days tonight at Turner Field. Teheran allowed two runs over seven innings in an Atlanta win over the Nats in D.C. last Saturday, and he also added two hits to help his own cause. The Nats will send Tanner Roark to the mound for his second start of the

A handful of random morning notes

ATLANTA - I’m going to rattle off some numbers for you this morning. I know it’s early and some of you might not like numbers at this hour, but if you’re a Nationals fan, I have a feeling you’ll enjoy most of what I’m about to pass along. Through their first nine games of the season, the Nats have seven wins, tied with the Brewers

Williams on Strasburg, saving the ‘pen and two big homers

With the bullpen thin, the Nationals needed a strong outing from their starter Thursday, and Stephen Strasburg came through. Strasburg held the Marlins to one run on three hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out 12 and walking one. That kept the Nats up 2-1 until they put up a five-spot in the eighth inning to pull away for a sweep-clinching 7-1 victory. It also

Span, Lobaton out of Nats lineup for finale with Fish

The Nationals lineup for today’s 4:05 p.m. finale of a three-game series against the Marlins has a slightly different look to it. Denard Span, who is hitting .241 through the first eight games and in a 2-for-17 slump, is taking a seat. He’ll be replaced by Nate McLouth, who will lead off and play center field. Because it’s a day game after a night game

Harping on last night’s Harper homer

Jayson Werth’s grand slam was the big blow last night, the one you’ll see on all the highlight reels and the one that lifted the Nationals to a dramatic 10-7 win over the Marlins. It was a huge blast, both in terms of distance and in terms of importance, helping the Nats turn another deficit into a victory. But let’s talk a bit more about

Williams meets with the media after wild 10-7 Nats win

Blown leads, multiple replay reviews, monstrous homers, more blown leads, plays at the plate, late-game strategy ... this game have enough in it for you? What an entertaining ballgame tonight’s 10-7 Nationals win turned out to be. It lasted a whopping three hours, 56 minutes, saw 364 pitches get thrown, and ended with the Nats celebrating a wild victory thanks to Jayson Werth’s go-ahead grand

Zimmerman returns to Nats lineup

Ryan Zimmerman is back in the Nationals lineup after sitting out the last two contests with shoulder inflammation. Zimmerman is playing third base and batting fifth as the Nats look to clinch the series win against the Marlins. Jordan Zimmermann makes the start and Bryce Harper is batting seventh. This marks the first time Harper is batting seventh since the first four games of his

More on Rendon and LaRoche and their hot starts

My colleague Byron Kerr highlighted the contributions of Anthony Rendon and Adam LaRoche in last night’s Nationals win. I’d like to take a look at those two Nats infielders on a slightly larger scale. Both Rendon and LaRoche have made some solid defensive plays early on, but on the offensive side of things, they’ve just been raking through the first week and a half of

Williams discusses Nats’ 5-0 win

This sure counts as one of those total-team-effort type of wins tonight. The Nationals got stellar starting pitching from Gio Gonzalez, who went six scoreless innings; got great defensive plays from Anthony Rendon, Ian Desmond and others; saw five of their position players chip in with at least one hit; and watched the bullpen lock down a 5-0 win over the Marlins. These are the

Nats set rotation order, plus Fister note

The Nationals have set their rotation for the next five games, starting with tonight’s opener of a three-game series against the Marlins. After left-hander Gio Gonzalez faces the Fish tonight, the Nationals will use right-handers Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg for the final two games of the home series. Righties Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan will start the first two games of the three-game weekend

Williams and Zimmerman on third baseman’s shoulder, throwing drills

Nationals manager Matt Williams backed off his comment during an interview on 106.7 The Fan on Monday night that third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was dealing with an “arthritic” right shoulder, but Zimmerman spent part of early workouts before Tuesday’s game trying to get used to a new throwing motion from a three-quarters arm slot designed to alleviate some of the pressure on the joint. “I

Zimmerman sits again (plus Nats lineup)

Ryan Zimmerman is out of the Nationals lineup for a second straight day, as the team tries to decide a course of action regarding the third baseman’s swollen right shoulder. Zimmerman left Saturday’s game after the fifth inning when he hurt his shoulder on a throwing error. He pinch-hit on Sunday, but did not play the field. Anthony Rendon is starting at third with Danny

On a seemingly different Marlins ballclub and rotation possibilities

In recent years, the Marlins have served as the doormat of the National League East. They’ve lost at least 90 games each of the last three seasons - including a 100-loss campaign last year - and finished anywhere from 29 to 34 games out of first place in the division. Last year, the Nationals took 14 of their 19 games against Miami, outscoring the Marlins

Desmond’s big victory had nothing to do with game-winning homer

While it’s very, very early in the season, there’s no doubt that yesterday’s 2-1 win was a big one for Matt Williams’ club, as the Nationals avoided a sweep at the hands of the Braves and pushed back against a division rival that had dominated the head-to-head matchup dating back to last season. The big blast for the Nats yesterday came from the bat of

Zimmerman dealing with shoulder inflammation, no structural damage

Here’s the good news that I can pass along on Ryan Zimmerman after today’s 2-1 Nationals win over the Braves: An MRI revealed that Zimmerman does not have any structural damage in his sore right shoulder and he isn’t going on the disabled list at this time. The other news - I guess you could call it bad news - is that the MRI did

Zimmerman frustrated with latest shoulder setback

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is clearly frustrated after his latest shoulder setback. Zimmerman was forced to leave Saturday’s game at the end the fifth inning after experiencing right shoulder soreness. He felt it after committing a throwing error in the fourth inning, which led to the Braves scoring two runs. “It’s just more sore than it usually it is,” Zimmerman said at Nats Park prior

Nats put Hairston on DL (Zimmerman, Harper out of lineup)

The injury bug has struck the Nationals again. The Nationals have placed outfielder Scott Hairston on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain and recalled infielder/outfielder Tyler Moore. The Hairston injury comes one day after third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was removed after the fifth inning with right shoulder soreness. Zimmerman will not play today as he is awaiting an evaluation of his shoulder.

A bumpy first week

Despite the fact that the Nationals picked up a sweep of the Mets on the road earlier this week, it sure hasn’t been the smoothest start to the season for Matt Williams’ ballclub. Doug Fister is on the disabled list with a strained right lat, and while he’s slowly progressing, the right-hander is still a ways away from sliding back into the Nats rotation. Wilson

Zimmerman leaves game with shoulder soreness; MRI pending

Ryan Zimmerman left tonight’s 6-2 loss to the Braves with right shoulder soreness, manager Matt Williams said after the game. Zimmerman was pulled from the game after the fifth inning, with Danny Espinosa replacing him in the fifth spot in the batting order and Anthony Rendon moving over to play third base. Zimmerman has dealt with shoulder issues in recent seasons, and of late, he’s

Harper back to batting second

Bryce Harper returns to the No. 2 position in the Nationals batting order for tonight’s game against the Braves at Nationals Park. The matchup between Atlanta’s Julio Teheran and Washington’s Stephen Strasburg should be a good one. Here’s the Nationals lineup: CF Denard Span LF Bryce Harper RF Jayson Werth 1B Adam LaRoche 3B Ryan Zimmerman SS Ian Desmond 2B Anthony Rendon C Jose Lobaton

The little things matter when Nats play Braves

I bet online dictionaries saw a pretty good spike in web traffic among D.C., Maryland and Virginia residents yesterday. There must have been quite a few searches for the word “lodged” after Justin Upton failed to make a play on the ball that ended up under the padding of the left field wall. The point made by manager Matt Williams after the game seemingly is

Zimmermann on his illness, his outing and another tight game with the Braves

Today’s home opener didn’t go the Nationals’ way in the win/loss column. It didn’t go their way when it came to the review in the bottom of the fifth inning when Ian Desmond’s bizarre inside-the-park homer was ruled a ground rule double. It didn’t go their way when it came to having three runners thrown out on the basepaths. The little things add up in

Reviewing the replay reversal with Williams, Desmond

Upon further review, Nationals manager Matt Williams isn’t sure the on-field umpires conferring with New York-based replay officials got it right when they reversed a call on an apparent inside-the-park home run by Ian Desmond in a Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Braves. Neither does Desmond, who acknowledges he doesn’t know all the ins and outs of the new expanded replay but says he’s seen

Replay review reverses Desmond’s inside-the-park homer (Braves win 2-1)

For a few minutes in the bottom of the fifth inning, it appeared that the Nationals had tied the game at 1-1 on an inside-the-park home run by Ian Desmond. Desmond hit David Hale’s first pitch of the inning into the corner in left and the ball came to rest at the base of the padded wall. Left fielder Justin Upton immediately raised both arms

Zimmermann cruising, showing no ill effects (scoreless no more)

Hard to believe Jordan Zimmermann was battling the flu less than 24 hours ago. He looks pretty healthy to the Braves, I bet. Zimmermann is through three scoreless innings and doesn’t look like he’s being overtaxed. He’s allowed one hit - a two-out single to left by Dan Uggla in the second - and is flashing both a mid-90s fastball with movement and a slider

Good catch: Newcomer Lobaton has quickly fit in behind plate (with Fister note)

When they acquired catcher Jose Lobaton from the Rays on Feb. 13, the Nationals added an experienced backup backstop with good defensive skills who brought with him a reputation for preparedness and working hard. The Nationals wanted someone with substantial major league experience ready to strap on the gear in case something happened to injury-addled starter Wilson Ramos. Ramos injured his left hand in the

Stammen on call in case Zimmermann can’t go

While Jordan Zimmermann is listed as the starting pitcher for the Nationals’ home opener this afternoon, manager Matt Williams has a backup plan ready to go, just in case the right-hander hasn’t completely shaken the flu-like symptoms that caused him to be scratched from yesterday’s assignment at the Mets. Zimmermann reported to Nationals Park around 9:35 a.m. on Friday and told manager Matt Williams and

Zimmermann set to start Nats’ home opener (plus lineup)

The Nationals just posted their lineup for today’s home opener and Jordan Zimmermann is listed as the starter. Things could change if the right-hander is still too sick to pitch, but as of now, Zimmermann is set to start this afternoon against the Braves after being scratched from his scheduled season debut Thursday. As for the Nats lineup, Anthony Rendon is starting at second after

After an impressive sweep in NYC, the first battle with the Braves awaits

Happy home opener, everybody. Hope most of you are either able to make it out to Nationals Park this afternoon or sneak away from the office for a few hours and catch today’s game against the Braves on MASN HD. Tell your boss you have to attend a lunch meeting with a Mr. Kolko. That should do the trick. They’re calling for a high of

Williams on the sweep, Roark, tomorrow’s starter (plus Zimmerman)

Manager Matt Williams covered an array of topics after Thursday’s 8-2 win over the Mets at Citi Field, including Jordan Zimmermann’s status, Tanner Roark’s quality spot start and the Nats’ sweep. Perhaps the main topic is whether Zimmermann can start the Nationals’ home opener Friday after being scratched Thursday because of flu-like symptoms. The first indication that Zimmermann might be on track to prevent the

Roark comes through to give Nats quality in a pinch

Tanner Roark didn’t know he’d be on the mound Thursday until right around three hours before first pitch. Jordan Zimmermann walked in sick and the Nats turned to tomorrow’s scheduled starter in a pinch. Didn’t turn out to be much of an obstacle once he got past allowing a two-run Mets rally in the first inning. The Nationals right-hander held New York scoreless over his

Roark recovers for quality start, Nats add to lead (Nats win 8-2)

Tanner Roark’s day is done after a solid recovery from his rough first frame. When the Nationals right-hander allowed two runs in the first inning, prospects for a good day seemed dim. But he bounced back to put together a quality start, finishing with two earned runs on six hits in six innings. Roark struck out five and walked three on the way to opening

Rocky start for Roark (Nats take 3-2 lead)

Perhaps it was the lack of mental preparation that came with last-second notice that he’d be starting today, but Tanner Roark’s first inning was one he’d rather forget. The Nationals right-hander allowed two runs on three hits, a walk and a sac fly in the first inning to put the team in an early 2-0 hole. Daniel Murphy started the rally with a one-out single

Williams on Zimmermann, Roark and the upcoming pitching situation (plus video)

The Nationals were hoping to get their first regular season look at Jordan Zimmermann this afternoon, but will have to wait after the right-hander fell ill last night. Tanner Roark, originally scheduled to pitch Friday, will start the series finale against the Mets. Before Thursday’s game at Citi Field, manager Matt Williams said that Zimmermann is running a fever and spent all night sick to

Espinosa, Leon get first starts of season

NEW YORK - The Nationals will field a slightly different lineup again as they look to sweep the Mets to start the season. For today’s day game after a night game, catcher Sandy Leon and second baseman Danny Espinosa get their first starts of the season with Jose Lobaton and Anthony Rendon starting the contest on the bench. Also, as was previously written here, Tanner

Zimmermann scratched with flu-like symptoms

NEW YORK - The Nationals announced this morning that right-hander Jordan Zimmermann has been scratched from his scheduled start today with flu-like symptoms. Tanner Roark, who had been set to start the Nats’ home opener tomorrow, will now start today’s series finale against the Mets. A chest cold has been working through the Nats clubhouse all spring, and Zimmermann is apparently the latest to catch

Storen starts 2014 where he left off in 2013

NEW YORK - You know how all spring, I kept noting that spring training statistics don’t mean anything? I’m sure you got tired of reading it. Heck, I got tired of writing it. But while it’s certainly nice to see your team’s players dominate during spring training and post impressive numbers, there is no guarantee whatsoever that those stats will carry into the games that

Hearing from Desmond and Gonzalez

NEW YORK - Two Nationals hit home runs in tonight’s 5-1 win. Ian Desmond was the first, which you would expect, because he’s crushed 45 homers over the last two seasons. Gio Gonzalez was the second. And you would not expect that. Let’s hear from tonight’s two homer guys, shall we? Desmond On Bryce Harper’s throw to the plate that cut down Ruben Tejada: “When

Williams discusses Nats’ 5-1 win

NEW YORK - After a wild, dramatic, sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat win in the regular season opener, the Nationals had a smooth 5-1 victory today that featured seven extra-base hits, six strong innings from Gio Gonzalez and three near-perfect relief frames in which Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Craig Stammen combined to strike out seven of the 10 batters they faced. Opening day had a little bit of

Desmond, Gonzalez homer off Colon (Nats win 5-1)

For three innings, ageless Bartolo Colon tamed the Nationals on one hit. But in the fourth inning, the visitors’ bats have awakened. With one out, Jayson Werth doubled and scored on Adam LaRoche’s double into the left field corner. That wiped out New York’s 1-0 lead, courtesy of David Wright’s first-inning sac fly, which scored Juan Lagares, who tripled off lefty Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez, who

Surgery a success, Williams hoping Ramos will return in four to six weeks (Tommy John for Davis)

Catcher Wilson Ramos had successful surgery in Baltimore on Wednesday to remove the hamate bone in his left wrist. “We’ve spoken with the doctor,” manager Matt Williams said before Wednesday’s game against the Mets at Citi Field. “He’s post-surgery now (and) everything went well. He’s heading back to Washington and he’ll be there when we get back tomorrow.” The Nationals are moving on quickly from

Williams: Hitting Harper sixth lets five-tool player potentially show his wheels

Because he’s a first-year major league manager, every move Matt Williams makes will be carefully scrutinized. Williams’ decision to change his opening day lineup - in part because of the injury to catcher Wilson Ramos, but not entirely - for Wednesday’s game against right-hander Bartolo Colon and the Mets drew some curious stares when it was announced. But Williams said hitting Bryce Harper sixth -

Harper batting sixth in reworked Nats lineup

NEW YORK - The injury to Wilson Ramos has at least partly led to a handful of changes to the Nationals lineup. Anthony Rendon, who hit eighth on opening day, will bat second today. Adam LaRoche, who hit seventh in the opener, will hit cleanup today. Ian Desmond will bat seventh. And most surprising of all, Bryce Harper will bat sixth for the Nationals today

A closer look at Lobaton and Leon (Ramos’ surgery “successful”)

NEW YORK - We know now that Wilson Ramos will be out for around four to five weeks after having surgery on his left hand, news that manager Matt Williams confirmed this morning in a weekly appearance on 106.7 The Fan. So where does this leave the Nationals as they wait for their starting catcher to again get back to full health? Backup catcher Jose

Ramos to have surgery, miss at least a month (update)

NEW YORK - It appears the Nationals will be without Wilson Ramos for a matter of weeks, as the injury bug has indeed bit the 26-year-old catcher yet again. According to a Washington Post report, Ramos will undergo hamate bone surgery on his left hand, a procedure that will knock Ramos from the Nats’ lineup for 4-8 weeks. Update: In his weekly appearance on 106.7

Ramos’ bad injury luck continues, plus what may lie ahead

NEW YORK - Back in the early stages of 2012, the Nationals were excited about what Wilson Ramos might be able to do in his second full big league season. Ramos played in just 25 games that year before suffering a devastating knee injury that left him with a torn ACL and meniscus. Entering 2013, after months and months of tireless rehab, Ramos felt the

Recapping a wild opening day in New York

NEW YORK - Let’s run through everything that happened yesterday at Citi Field, shall we? In Matt Williams’ first game as a big league manager, he had his star left fielder, Bryce Harper, take a shin to the head in the second inning, leaving him lying flat on his back for a couple minutes as trainers tended to him. Williams had his cleanup hitter and

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