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Gonzalez ready for season after solid outing, Blevins fools Harper

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals left Space Coast Stadium quietly in their final Grapefruit league home game. Mets starter Jonathon Niese and three other relievers combined to shut out the Nats 2-0 while only allowing six hits. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez turned in his third straight strong start for the Nationals, giving up two runs on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts in 5

Quiet day for Nats offense (Nats lose 2-0)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Mets 2, Nationals 0 Recap: Left-hander Gio Gonzalez allowed two runs on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. He also gave up his first home run of the spring, a solo shot by Mets right fielder John Mayberry Jr. Mets pitching, led by starter Jon Niese, shut out the Nats, who were only able to

New Nats outfielder Matt den Dekker suits up vs. old team (with lineups)

VIERA, Fla. - Less than a day after being traded by the Mets, outfielder Matt den Dekker is in uniform against his former team. den Dekker isn’t in the Nationals’ starting lineup, but he does figure to get an at-bat or two and play in the field. “It’s been a whirlwind of emotions and excitement to be over here,” den Dekker said. “It’s a great

Rendon to seek a third opinion on his left knee, Escobar to take a shot at third base

VIERA, Fla. - After visiting orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews on Monday for a second opinion on his ailing left knee, Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon will now head to Vail, Colo., for a third diagnosis from Dr. Steve Singleton. “Every player has the option to go see somebody that they want to see, too, so we sent him to Andrews for the second (opinion),”

Jayson Werth still holding out hope for opening day

VIERA, Fla. - Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth, who is recovering from right shoulder surgery, finally was able to take his first at-bats against live pitching when he participated in a minor league game yesterday. He doubled, walked and drove in a run on a grounder to short in his three plate appearances. “I felt like it was the first game of spring training,” said Werth.

Who’s left in the Nationals bullpen?

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals lost a valuable member of their bullpen yesterday when left-hander Jerry Blevins was traded to the Mets for outfield Matt den Dekker. Blevins was shaky for most of last season, as well as this spring, but nobody can argue what he provided for the Nats down the stretch a year ago - and especially in the National League Division Series.

Mike Rizzo on trade for Matt den Dekker and bullpen health issues

JUPITER, Fla. - Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo had an active day as he sat a few rows from the field next to the third base dugout at Roger Dean Stadium. In the sixth inning, he watched closer Drew Storen prematurely leave the game with a blister on his right big toe after facing four batters. That was after Rizzo had already found out news

Williams on Storen’s toe, Janssen’s MRI and Rendon’s second opinion

JUPITER, Fla. - The Nationals’ injury issues continued in the sixth inning of today’s 6-2 loss to the Cardinals. Right-hander Drew Storen came on to pitch the sixth inning in what was just his third Grapefruit League appearance. After Storen faced only four batters, the Nats’ trainer came to the mound to check on the pitcher. The Nats closer immediately left the field and headed

Nats acquire outfielder Matt den Dekker from Mets (Reed Johnson signs)

JUPITER, Fla. - With the Nationals’ outfield situation so uncertain and opening day just a week away, the club made a move to strengthen that area this afternoon, acquiring Matt den Dekker from the Mets for left-hander Jerry Blevins. den Dekker, 27, played all 80 of his major league games over the last two seasons with the Mets. He’s a career .238/.325/.310 hitter with 12

Drew Storen leaves with trainer in the sixth (Nats lose 6-2)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Cardinals 6, Nats 2 Recap: Nationals starter Taylor Jordan allowed two runs, one earned, on one hit with three walks in four innings today. Nats third baseman Ian Stewart doubled in the second inning and scored the game’s first run shortly after on an errant throw. The Nats picked up their second run when second baseman Dan Uggla doubled in the

Ryan Zimmerman returns to the lineup, crunch time for Dan Uggla and others

JUPITER, Fla. - First baseman Ryan Zimmerman is back in the Nationals lineup after banging his left shoulder during a diving stop in the first inning of Friday’s loss to the Cardinals. It’s a good sign for the Nationals, who have suffered a rash of injuries this spring. With just five spring games left before opening day, today’s lineup features a quartet of non-roster invitees

Sandy Leon dealt to Red Sox

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals have traded catcher Sandy Leon to the Red Sox. What the Nationals may receive in exchange for the 26-year-old catcher is unknown, but Leon was out of options and wasn’t going to crack the 25-man opening day roster. The Nats have Wilson Ramos and Jose Lobaton behind the plate and a host of young catching prospects in the pipeline. On

“Comfortable” Espinosa could be the Nats’ opening day third baseman

VIERA, Fla. - With one week left before the start of the regular season, it’s looking more and more like Danny Espinosa will be the Nationals’ starting third baseman on opening day. Anthony Rendon, the team’s everyday third baseman, hasn’t played since March 9 due to a sprained left MCL. Williams hasn’t officially ruled Rendon out for next Monday’s opener, but I think it’s a

Fister not sharp again, but Harper and company play longball

VIERA, Fla. - Nationals right-hander Doug Fister has struggled the past few times he’s taken the hill. The Marlins tagged Fister for three home runs in the Nats’ 11-7 win this afternoon. He’s allowed 13 earned runs and given up six homers in just five starts this spring. “Basically command (was the issue), mostly on the sinker,” said Fister. “Making sure that it’s down and

Casey Janssen to have a MRI on right shoulder

VIERA, Fla. - Right-hander Casey Janssen will have a MRI on his right shoulder tomorrow, Nationals manager Matt Williams said Sunday afternoon. “He’s having a little trouble getting loose, so we’re gonna have a test done on that,” said Williams. “The last time out, he started to feel it. He had a little issue getting as loose as he wanted to get.” Janssen last appeared

Taylor, Harper and Fister part of home run parade (Nats outslug Marlins)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 11, Marlins 7 Recap: The Nationals broke out of their offensive slump in a big way against the Marlins today. Center fielder Michael A. Taylor set the tone immediately with a lead off solo blast in the first. Right fielder Bryce Harper and catchers Wilson Ramos and Jose Lobaton also went deep for the Nats. Washington starter Doug Fister ran

Zimmerman appears fine, Williams talks lineup minus Werth, Span and Rendon

VIERA, Fla. - After a spring training filled with Nationals starting position players dropping like flies with injuries, manager Matt Williams finally was able to exhale when he received news on the team’s latest medical scares. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman left Friday’s game prematurely after banging his left shoulder on a diving stop. But Zimmerman was able to participate in full pregame drills today and

Michael A. Taylor leads Nats against Marlins (with lineups)

VIERA, Fla. - Center fielder Michael A. Taylor could be the Nationals’ leadoff man against the Mets on opening day. He’s occupied that spot in the order for much of the Grapefruit League season since both center fielder Denard Span and third baseman Anthony Rendon went out with injuries. Taylor has produced 14 hits in a team leading 47 at-bats this spring for a .298

Fister fifth as Williams lines up his rotation

VIERA, Fla. - Try to digest this with your Sunday morning waffles: The fifth starter in the Nationals rotation has started eight postseason games, including one in the World Series, and posted a 16-6 record with a splendid 2.41 ERA last season. In fact, one of those playoff starts came for the Nats in Game 3 of last year’s National League Division Series. And tall

Harper fine after awkward fall, Mets shell Strasburg, Roark

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Right-hander Stephen Strasburg returned to the mound after missing his last start due to a sprained left ankle. He was rolling until the third inning when right fielder Curtis Granderson and third baseman David Wright tagged him for back-to-back home runs as the Mets went on to beat the Nats 10-2. Strasburg ended up pitching four innings while allowing four

Strasburg rocked for back-to-back homers (Nats lose 10-2)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Mets 10, Nationals 2 Recap: Right fielder Bryce Harper hit his second home run of the spring in the sixth inning. It was just one of seven hits on the day for the Nationals who have only scored six runs in the past 36 innings. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg was tagged for back-to-back homers in a 32-pitch third inning. Strasburg allowed four

Williams announces Nats starting rotation for season, plus injury updates

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Nationals manager Matt Williams has set his plan of attack for the team’s imposing starting rotation. On Monday, Williams announced that new ace Max Scherzer will lead things off on opening day against the Mets. Now we know that right-handers Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg will follow Scherzer with lefty Gio Gonzalez next and tall righty Doug Fister rounding out

Stephen Strasburg is back on the hill today (with lineups)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Right-hander Stephen Strasburg returns to the mound after missing his last start with a sprained left ankle. Strasburg threw a couple of light bullpen sessions over the past week and Nationals manager Matt Williams expects him to pitch four-to-five innings against the Mets today. The tall righty missed an additional start earlier when he had an ingrown toenail removed. He

Don’t call it a comeback

VIERA, Fla. - Dan Uggla was considered a long shot to make the Nationals roster when he showed up for spring training. A lot has changed in the past month-and-a-half for the former three-time All-Star who’s batting .303 with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs in 16 Grapefruit League games. “I’m really pleased with the way I’ve been seeing the ball,” Uggla said. “The

Jordan Zimmermann stellar again, not optimistic about contract extension

VIERA, Fla. - On a windy day with storms all over Florida, Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann was able to bear down and deliver another solid performance in today’s 1-1 tie with the Cardinals. The right-hander allowed just one run while scattering four hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings. “I felt good, felt strong,” said Zimmermann. “Arm felt fine. It wasn’t the

Ryan Zimmerman makes early exit, but Matt Williams says he’s fine

VIERA, Fla. - First baseman Ryan Zimmerman left today’s game after just two innings. “He’s good,” said Nationals manager Matt Williams. “He’s played three in a row. He’s fine. He dove for that ball, banged himself a little bit. But he’s good. No worries.” Zimmerman ended the first by diving to his left to make a spectacular stop on a sharply hit ground ball up

Jose Lobaton flashing the lumber (another tie for Nats)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 1, Cardinals 1 (nine innings) Recap: Jordan Zimmermann allowed just one run on four hits with two walks, a hit batter and four strikeouts in six innings. Catcher Jose Lobaton drove in the Nats’ only run when he doubled home second baseman Dan Uggla in the second. It was part of a 3-for-3 day for Lobaton that included two doubles.

Updates on Denard Span, Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon

VIERA, Fla. - It’s time for the medical report from Nationals camp. Unfortunately, this has become the featured portion of manager Matt Williams’ morning press conversations. Let’s start with the most positive news of the day. Center fielder Denard Span, who is recovering from abdominal muscle surgery, is scheduled to swing a fungo bat in the cages today. “It’s good progress,” Williams said. “It’s part

Bryce Harper returns from illness, Drew Storen due to pitch (with Nats lineup and cuts)

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals have reassigned the following players to minor league camp: infielders Cutter Dykstra and Emmanuel Burriss, catcher Steven Lerud, outfielder Derrick Robinson, infielder/outfielder Kila Ka’aihue and right-hander Manny Delcarmen. Right fielder Bryce Harper is back in the lineup after dealing with a stomach virus the past two days. Right-hander Drew Storen is among the pitchers scheduled to appear today after starter

Max Scherzer’s value extends beyond the field

VIERA, Fla. - When Nationals right-hander Doug Fister showed up at spring training, he was swarmed by media wanting insight on Max Scherzer, the new high-profile member of an already elite rotation. Fister and Scherzer starred together for 2 1/2 years on a Tigers staff that was as impressive as any in baseball. “He’s an incredible guy. It’s a huge honor for me to be

A fiery Gio Gonzalez shuts down Mets, bullpen falters

VIERA, Fla. - After giving up back-to-back walks in the third inning, Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez shouted an expletive that could be heard in the left field tiki bar at Space Coast Stadium. “I have a split personality. I talk to myself a lot,” Gonzalez said, admitting frustration after the game. “Once in a while, you’re going to get a firecracker out of me. The

Gio Gonzalez strikes out five (Nats lose 8-3)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Mets 8, Nats 3 Recap: Gio Gonzalez pitched five scoreless innings, allowing only two hits with three walks and five strikeouts. The Nats finally got on the board in the sixth on a pair of doubles from center fielder Michael A. Taylor and right fielder Clint Robinson. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman followed with a single and the Nats scored all three

Bryce Harper misses second day with stomach virus, time running out for Jayson Werth

VIERA, Fla. - Bryce Harper will not be in right field for the second straight game when the Nationals take on the Mets today. The 22-year-old has been dealing with a stomach virus according to manager Matt Williams. “He was really feeling bad yesterday and then today he’s still not feeling well,” said Williams. “He did a little bit of light swinging in the cage.

Tyler Moore looks to solidify a spot (Harper out with stomach bug)

VIERA, Fla. - Today’s starting left fielder, Tyler Moore, was the story early in the exhibition season as extra-base hits were flying off his bat. His scorching spring has been overshadowed the past two weeks by a series of injuries facing Nationals starters. As we approach the home stretch of spring training, Moore’s has a .351 average with three homers, seven doubles, a triple and

With Anthony Rendon doubtful for opening day, who’s on third?

VIERA, Fla. - The opening day countdown is on for the Nationals and third baseman Anthony Rendon. The star injured his knee on March 9 while making a typical Rendon-esque play, diving to his left to stop a sure base bit and then jumping to his feet to fire to Ryan Zimmerman at first base for the out. Rendon actually came up to bat in

Scherzer dominantly backs up Williams’ opening day call

VIERA, Fla. - Two day after Nationals manager Matt Williams announced Max Scherzer will start opening day, the prized right-hander turned in a nine-strikeout gem in 1-0 loss to the Cardinals on Wednesday. St. Louis managed just three hits in six innings against Scherzer, his longest outing of the spring. “I’m happy with that,” said Scherzer. “No walks. Nine strikeouts. That happens. That was a

Scherzer making quick work of Cardinals so far (Nats fall 1-0)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Cardinals 1, Nationals 0 Recap: Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer was spectacular, allowing just four baserunners while striking out a whopping nine Cardinals in six innings. St. Louis threatened only in the fifth when catcher Yadier Molina singled and John Jay doubled. But Scherzer struck out Cardinals starter Michael Wacha to end threat. Need to know: Nats second baseman Yunel Escobar grounded

After Rendon’s second MRI, Williams says opening day is “in jeopardy”

JUPITER, Fla. - Nationals manager Matt Williams is concerned Anthony Rendon will not be ready for the beginning of the season after revealing that his third baseman underwent a second MRI exam on his sprained left MCL yesterday. Rendon has not played since injuring the knee while making a brilliant stop against the Braves on March 9. The Mets come to Nationals Park in just

Another tune-up for opening day starter Max Scherzer (with lineups)

JUPITER, Fla. - The Nationals will skip left-hander Gio Gonzalez in the rotation for today’s game and pitch opening day starter Max Scherzer to keep him on schedule for the beginning of the season. Scherzer has allowed just three runs in 14 innings during Grapefruit League competition. Yunel Escobar will start at second base and bat leadoff in his second appearance of the spring. He

Gonzalez: Ramos “determined to lead this rotation to where it needs to be”

JUPITER, Fla. - Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez is coming off his best outing of the spring, pitching four scoreless innings while striking out five and only allowing two hits and a walk last Thursday. After his effort, he turned all of the attention to batterymate Wilson Ramos for confidently guiding him through his afternoon. “For some reason, just talking to Wilson it looked like he

Can Bryce Harper silence the critics in 2015? (Heath Bell retires)

VIERA, Fla. - By now, I’m sure you’re aware of the ESPN The Magazine baseball preview, which includes an anonymous poll of major leaguers about a variety of topics. Most notable on the list was the balloting on the game’s most overrated player. For the second consecutive year, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper won - or maybe lost - in a landslide. Harper received 41 percent

Nats release Heath Bell, option Taylor Jordan to Syracuse among moves

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals announced they have optioned right-handed pitcher Taylor Jordan to Triple-A Syracuse, reassigned infielder Matt Skole and right-hander Evan Meek to minor league camp and released right-handed reliever Heath Bell. Bell, a non-roster invitee, came to Viera hoping to find a late-inning role on a Nats staff that lost Tyler Clippard late in the offseason. He wasn’t able to regain the

Yunel Escobar finally takes the field, Matt Williams still cautious with Anthony Rendon

VIERA, Fla. - Second baseman Yunel Escobar made a successful exhibition season debut in today’s 7-6 win over the Yankees. The eight-year veteran has been sidelined for the past three weeks with a Grade 1 oblique strain, which he suffered just before the Grapefruit League opener. Nationals manager Matt Williams placed Escobar at the top of the lineup in hopes of getting him two at-bats

Doug Fister rocked for two homers, Yunel Escobar debuts with hit (Nats win 7-6)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 7, Yankees 6 Recap: Right-hander Doug Fister struggled in his fourth spring start, allowing four runs on seven hits, including two homers, in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked none, but saw his spring ERA climb to 4.97. Fister helped his own cause with his bat, however, hitting a two-run single in the fourth. Shortstop Ian Desmond

Max Scherzer will start on opening day (updated with Williams, Scherzer)

VIERA, Fla. - Who will start opening day? That’s the question that’s been surrounding the Nationals ever since they stunned the baseball world by signing right-hander Max Scherzer. The wait is over. Nationals manager Matt Williams has announced he’ll give Scherzer the ball on April 6 against the Mets at Nationals Park. I’m sure Williams was looking forward to finally revealing his opening day starter,

Yunel Escobar to make spring debut against Yankees

VIERA, Fla. - Second baseman Yunel Escobar will make his Grapefruit League season debut today against the Yankees. This spring was critical for Escobar, who is essentially learning to play a new position. Escobar has primarily played shortstop throughout his eight-year major league career, but the Nationals traded away reliever Tyler Clippard to fill a need for a more offensive-minded second baseman. Escobar has played

Center of attention

VIERA, Fla. - There’s been much hype in the Nationals organization and around baseball regarding the high ceiling of outfielder Michael A. Taylor. It didn’t take long for him to introduce himself to the big leagues when he homered in his major league debut last August. Taylor reached a new level yesterday when he drew the attention of Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander. The 23-year-old Taylor

Top prospects Michael A. Taylor and A.J. Cole outshine Tigers superstars

LAKELAND, Fla. - The future of the Nationals was on display and shining bright in today’s 7-7 tie with the Tigers. Center fielder Michael A. Taylor and right-hander A.J. Cole, both 23, helped the Nats get out to an early lead against former American League Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander. It was the first time Taylor had ever faced Verlander. In his second at-bat,

Nats get to Verlander early, Taylor homers (Nats tie 7-7)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 7, Tigers Recap: Center fielder Michael A. Taylor banged two solo homers off Tigers ace Justin Verlander to lead the Nats over the Tigers 7-6. Taylor also added a single on the 2-for-3 day to raise his spring batting average to .324. The 23-year-old now has three home runs to go along with two triples and two doubles in the

Stephen Strasburg returns to the mound, Werth to play five innings today in minors

LAKELAND, Fla. - Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg returned to the mound this morning two days after he sprained his left ankle in conditioning drills. “He threw a light bullpen today so all is well there,” said Nationals manager Matt Williams. “He’ll probably do that again before he gets back on the mound in a spring training game. He’s gonna be just fine. No issues.” Williams

A.J. Cole and Tanner Roark face solid Tigers lineup

LAKELAND, Fla. - Highly-ranked prospect A.J. Cole makes his second start of the spring in place of Stephen Strasburg who sprained his left ankle on Thursday in conditioning drills. Cole has given up three solo home runs along with five other hits as well as two strikeouts and two walks in seven innings this exhibition season. Right-hander Tanner Roark will look to build on his

Versatility on display for Danny Espinosa this spring

VIERA, Fla. - I guess you could say this spring training’s theme for Danny Espinosa has been “new beginnings.” Yesterday, Nationals manager Matt Williams penciled him in for his first start ever at third base. By ever, I mean ever. Like none in high school, not even little league. In fact, Espinosa’s two innings played at third base in the ninth and 10th innings of

Jordan Zimmermann doesn’t back down while Dan Uggla tries to keep it up

VIERA, Fla. - Both starting pitchers created a couple of intense moments during the Nationals’ 4-2 win over the Marlins. It all started in the second inning, when Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann stepped in the box for his first spring at-bat with runners on first and third and nobody out. The first pitch from Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez came up and in, grazing Zimmermann on

Stephen Strasburg to miss Sunday’s start with a sprained ankle

VIERA, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg will miss another spring start, as he sits out tomorrow’s game against the Tigers. “He turned an ankle, sprained his ankle doing some conditioning, so we’ll have to push him a couple of days,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said after today’s 4-2 win over the Marlins. Williams said the left ankle injury occurred yesterday. “I don’t think it’s serious,” Williams

Drama for Zimmermann, Uggla homers (Nats top Fish, fall to Braves)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 4, Marlins 2 Recap: A two-run homer from second baseman Dan Uggla and a two-run single from catcher Wilson Ramos were all the Nationals needed in today’s 4-1 victory over the Marlins. Jordan Zimmermann gave up one run on eight hits with four strikeouts in five innings. Need to know: Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez hit Zimmermann in the left elbow

Yunel Escobar to play first game Monday, Danny Espinosa in unfamiliar territory at third

VIERA, Fla. - Nationals manager Matt Williams has Danny Espinosa doing something he’s never done in a major or minor league game today, starting at third base. In fact, the 27-year-old has only played two innings there, in the ninth and 10th innings of Thursday’s tie with Detroit. “He’s an athlete,” Williams said. “He can play anywhere on the diamond. We could put him in

Danny Espinosa starting at third base vs. Marlins

VIERA, Fla. - Danny Espinosa is starting at third base in today’s split-squad game against the Marlins at Space Coast Stadium. Espinosa has played only at second base and shortstop during his 492 big league games and 342 minor league contests with the Nationals. He has played two innings at third base this spring. Jordan Zimmermann makes his fourth start of the exhibition season. He’s

Tanner Roark misses starting role

VIERA, Fla. - If Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark displayed an attitude or chose to be standoffish, I think most would understand. But the 28-year-old has been anything but a malcontent during spring training, which began roughly three weeks after the signing of former Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer likely bumped Roark from the Nats rotation. “Adding Max definitely helps out the team tremendously,” Roark

Scherzer downplays importance of opening day start, Harper blasts first homer

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer was brilliant today, fanning six in five innings in a 7-5 win over the Astros. He gave up one run on a homer to Astros catcher Jason Castro and scattered three hits with a walk and a hit batter in his fourth start of the spring. Scherzer indicated afterward that, as good as he looked, he’s still got

Espinosa, Moore spark offense early (Harper homers, Nats win 7-5)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 7, Astros 5 Recap: Right fielder Bryce Harper smacked his first home run of the spring and Max Scherzer turned in another exceptional performance on the mound in the win. Harper’s homer gave the Nats their fifth run of the day in the fourth hitting. Scherzer had six strikeouts in five innings, while allowing one run and three hits with

Nate McLouth’s availability for opening day “in jeopardy”

KISSSIMMEE, Fla. - Nate McLouth’s recovery from left shoulder surgery last August is taking a bit longer than expected. The outfielder has not fully participated because of limitations the procedure placed on his throwing shoulder. Nationals manager Matt Williams worked him into two games last week as a designated hitter. However, lingering shoulder soreness led to McLouth being scratched from last Saturday’s lineup and he

Max Scherzer to ramp it up, while Dan Uggla, Mike Carp try for a late push

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Right-hander Max Scherzer is scheduled to throw five innings or around 70 pitches in his fourth spring start today. He’s been very solid so far, allowing just two runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts and one walk in nine full innings this spring. Dan Uggla starts at second base. He’s batting .273 with a homer, two doubles and four RBIs while

Jayson Werth still sees opening day as a possibility

VIERA, Fla. - Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth injured his right shoulder seven months ago when he crashed into the right field wall at Nats Park while making a catch. He missed a handful of games, had a couple of cortisone shots and was in the lineup for the remainder of the season and the playoffs. When the shoulder wouldn’t heal, the 35-year-old finally opted for

Gonzalez and Roark lead Nats in scoreless tie, Werth still aiming for opening day

VIERA, Fla. - Pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark both turned out their best performances of the spring in today’s unique 10-inning 0-0 tie between the Nationals and Tigers. Gonzalez worked the count in his favor throughout his four innings, striking out five while allowing only two hits and one walk. “I think the most I was happy with was how my arm feels,” said

Five strikeouts for Gonzalez, Nats run into trouble (0-0 final in 10)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 0, Tigers 0 (10 innings) Recap: The Nationals and Tigers combined for 12 hits in this scoreless extra-inning affair. Gio Gonzalez was impressive, striking out five while allowing only two hits and one walk in four innings. Tanner Roark had his best outing of the spring, scattering three hits with three strikeouts in two frames. Nats relievers Matt Thornton and

Williams isn’t concerned with Roark, Werth to see minor league game action tomorrow

VIERA, Fla. - It’s hard to say anyone in the Nationals organization has been negatively affected by the offseason signing of right-hander Max Scherzer. But coming off a season where he went 15-10 with a sterling 2.85 ERA as a starter, it appears righty Tanner Roark will get bumped from the rotation due to Scherzer’s arrival. Manager Matt Williams continues to say that Roark is

Nationals lineup centered around Michael A. Taylor

VIERA, Fla. - Michael A. Taylor came to Viera with the goal of making a shorter trip back north to D.C. instead of to Triple-A Syracuse at the end of spring training. He had no idea that would entail being the Nationals’ opening day center fielder. That could be Taylor’s role since Denard Span’s abdominal surgery has likely cost him the beginning of the season.

Slugger Clint Robinson making a case

VIERA, Fla. - Clint Robinson has bounced around the minor leagues for nine years since Kansas City drafted him in 2007. Despite swinging a heavy bat to the tune of a .302 average with 141 homers and 587 RBIs in the minors, Robinson has only taken in the bright lights of the majors for 13 games - four with Royals in 2012 and nine with

Doug Fister singing the “spring training blues,” Yunel Escobar making progress

JUPITER, Fla. - Casey Janssen has spent his entire career pitching in the American League for the Toronto Blue Jays. In the sixth inning of today’s game, with the Nationals holding a 3-2 lead, Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton welcomed Janssen to the National League with a titanic blast that soared well beyond the center field wall at Roger Dean Stadium. “I would imagine that’s not

Shaky start for Fister, quiet bats for Nats (Nats lose 5-4)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Marlins 5, Nationals 4 Recap: Doug Fister allowed two runs on six hits with a strikeout in four innings. He threw 57 pitches, 39 for strikes. The Nats were finally able to get to Marlins starter Mat Latos in the fourth when Michael A. Taylor singled, stole second and then scored on a Dan Uggla double. After Uggla swiped third, Ryan

Williams encouraged with Cole despite cut, plus Escobar and Rendon updates

JUPITER, Fla. - The Nationals optioned right-handed pitcher A.J. Cole to Triple-A Syracuse this morning. Cole, ranked the No. 52 prospect in baseball by MLB.com, gave up three solo home runs among eight hits in seven innings this spring. “I thought he pitched really well and we’ve got to get him back down and get his normal routine going,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. Williams

Doug Fister gets tough test against Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins (Cole cut)

JUPITER, Fla. - Ian Stewart gets another start at third base today for the Nationals, while Anthony Rendon continues to recover from a sprained left MCL. The seven-year veteran has been swinging a hot bat. Stewart is hitting .389 with two homers, a double and three RBIs. Right-hander Doug Fister will have a good test against Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton in his third start of

Stephen Strasburg, Tony Gwynn Jr. recognize a special moment

VIERA, Fla. - It’s hard to read anything into spring training lineups when Nationals manager Matt Williams posts them early in the morning before exhibition games. But while quickly looking at Tuesday’s lineup, I recognized that something important was going to happen when the Nats took on the Tigers. Most are probably thinking I’m talking about the hyped matchup between Nats righty Stephen Strasburg and

Former manager Davey Johnson visits Nats (Kobernus released)

LAKELAND, Fla. - Davey Johnson may have retired as Nationals manager after the 2013 season, but he continued to keep close tabs on his former ballclub from afar by watching virtually every game they played on television last year. “It’s in your blood,” Johnson said. “It was fun. I was addicted to it. I would check the paper. I don’t think I missed but one

Strasburg delivers four shutout innings while Harper’s bat struggles

LAKELAND, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg appeared to be in midseason form throughout today’s start. The Tigers only managed three hits while Strasburg struck out five in four scoreless innings in the Nationals’ 6-4 victory. Detroit’s lineup saw the full repertoire from the big righty. “Two-seamer was working pretty well, changeup got better as the game went on and curveball, I was able to throw it

Nats offense pounds Verlander while Strasburg is dominant (Nats win 6-4)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 6, Tigers 4 Recap: Tony Gwynn Jr. and Kila Ka’aihue homered off Tigers starter Justin Verlander who gave up four runs on five hits. Meanwhile, Stephen Strasburg shut out the Tigers in his four frames, allowing just three hits with five strikeouts. Nats reliever Jerry Blevins had a rough outing, allowing a three-run homer to Tigers left fielder Tyler Collins

Williams looking forward to Strasburg-Verlander, plus injury updates

LAKELAND, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg faces Justin Verlander in one of Major League Baseball’s juiciest pitching matchups thus far this spring. “Oh, yeah. It’s a good one. Both those guys are pretty good. It’ll be fun,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. Strasburg wasn’t able to make his last start after having an ingrown toenail removed, but he still got his work done on the minor

Strasburg, Verlander highlight heavyweight pitching matchup (with lineups)

LAKELAND, Fla. - There’s a marquee pitching matchup today as the Nationals send right-hander Stephen Strasburg to the mound, while the Tigers will start former American League MVP Justin Verlander. Strasburg missed his last start after having an ingrown toenail removed. He gave up two runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings in his first appearance of the

Harper’s arm is a weapon, too

VIERA, Fla. - In a game that included two triples, a throw was perhaps the most incredible part of yesterday’s 2-1 win over the Astros. Houston outfielder Alex Presley ripped a ball past the extended Danny Espinosa and into the right-center gap in the fifth inning. As right fielder Bryce Harper casually made his way to the ball, Presley headed for second. In a flash,

Jordan Zimmermann dodges “a bullet” as Nats shut down Astros

VIERA, Fla. - It was just two days ago that Nationals manager Matt Williams got a scare when Gio Gonzalez fell to the ground on a ball hit hard back up the box. Some hearts probably skipped a beat in the third inning of today’s 2-1 win over the Astros when Jordan Zimmermann was knocked off his feet on a ball Robbie Grossman smoked right

Zimmermann fine after dangerous comebacker, Taylor triples (Nats win 2-1)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 2, Astros 1 Recap: Jordan Zimmermann allowed one unearned run on three hits with three strikeouts and one walk in four innings. The Nationals got on the board quickly, as Michael A. Taylor led off the game with a triple. He tagged up and scored when Ian Desmond hit a sac fly to right field one batter later. The Nationals

Who’s the top option in the lineup?

VIERA, Fla. - One of the biggest questions facing the Nationals with exactly three weeks to go before opening day is who will be atop the lineup. Denard Span most likely won’t be available to return to his normal spot until May, as he’s recovering from abdominal surgery. Anthony Rendon batted first for two spring games until he went down with a sprained left MCL.

Nationals option outfielder Brian Goodwin and pitcher Sammy Solis (with lineups)

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals have optioned outfielder Brian Goodwin to Triple-A Syracuse and left-handed pitcher Sammy Solis to Double-A Harrisburg. Goodwin, 24, had not appeared in an exhibition game this spring as he continues to rehab from offseason surgery on his left shoulder, his non-throwing shoulder. Goodwin returns to Syracuse, where he hit .219 with four homers and 32 RBIs last season. The Nationals

Max Scherzer, Wilson Ramos are still working to get on the same page

VIERA, Fla. - The first time Wilson Ramos crouched behind the plate to catch Max Scherzer, he lasted only three pitches before realizing it was the wrong time to break in a new mitt. The Nationals catcher grabbed his old, broken-in glove and settled back in to begin learning the newest member of the Nats’ elite rotation. “Everything’s moving,” Ramos said with a bit of

No opening day starter talk yet as Scherzer rolls against Astros

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - With 23 days remaining until opening day, Nationals manager Matt Williams isn’t interested in entertaining conversation about who he plans to give the ball to for the start of the 2015 season. “We’ve got three off days right before the season,” Williams said. “So, at this point, we’re running them out there on their turn and if we have to make an

Moore heating up again (Nats fall 3-2)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Astros 3, Nationals 2 Recap: Max Scherzer pitched four scoreless innings today, allowing just a hit and a walk with three strikeouts. He threw 60 pitches, 29 for strikes, in his longest outing of the spring. Tyler Moore hit his seventh extra-base hit of the exhibition season when he smoked a double to the right-center gap in the first. He’s now

Nats option Hill to Triple-A, reassign three others to minors (with lineups)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The Nationals have optioned right-handed pitcher Taylor Hill to Triple-A Syracuse and reassigned right-handers Eric Fornataro, Mitch Lively, and Scott McGregor to minor league camp. Hill, 26, made three appearances this spring, allowing two earned runs on five hits in four innings, while striking out five, walking none and hitting two batters. A sixth-round pick by the Nationals in 2006, Hill rejoins

Ka’aihue brings unique Far East experience to spring training

VIERA, Fla. - Nationals manager Matt Williams made his usual wholesale substitutions before the seventh inning of Tuesday’s road game against the Mets. The Tradition Field public address announcer began reading them off so fans could recognize the changes. “At shortstop, Difo for Espinosa,” he said while continuing down the line with every player’s name and position until he got to the last. “At first

Gonzalez surprisingly happy, Werth hits for first time this spring

VIERA, Fla. - Nationals manager Matt Williams has seen enough of injuries lately, so there was some immediate cause for concern in the third inning of today’s game at Space Coast Stadium when starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez landed awkwardly after jumping and attempting to reach a hard hit ball by the Marlins’ Marcell Ozuna. Williams and Nats pitching coach Steve McCatty immediately came out of

Gonzalez and Roark roughed up, while bats are quiet (Nats drop a pair)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAPS Score: Marlins 4, Nationals (ss) 0 Recap: It was a quiet day for the Nationals offense, which managed just three hits against Marlins pitching. In fact, the Nats didn’t have a runner reach second base until Michael A. Taylor’s leadoff triple in the sixth inning. Gio Gonzalez allowed four runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 2 2/3

Storen not concerned after hand surgery (with split-squad lineups)

VIERA, Fla. - Drew Storen underwent a 20-minute procedure yesterday to remove the hook of hamate bone in his left hand. The Nationals closer said the injury to his non-throwing hand happened when the knob of the bat dug into his hand awkwardly during a hitting drill at the Space Coast Stadium training complex earlier in the week. “I gave it a couple days just

Denard Span on Michael A. Taylor: “He can play, man”

VIERA, Fla. - Denard Span returned to Space Coast Stadium on Thursday morning just three days after surgery to repair a small tear on the right side of his rectus abdominis muscle. The seven-year veteran was already coming off a similar surgery on the left side of the same muscle in December. He showed up early to spring training to test it out and was

Injuries to Rendon, Storen overshadow Fister’s start

VIERA, Fla. - The game of baseball if filled with superstitions. Well, today is Friday the 13th, and it delivered some bad news for Nationals fans. This morning came word that star third baseman Anthony Rendon will miss a week or more with a mild left MCL sprain. Then, after today’s fluky 6-6 tie with the Houston Astros, manager Matt Williams announced that closer Drew

Storen has surgery to remove hook of hamate bone in left hand

VIERA, Fla. - Nationals closer Drew Storen had surgery today to remove the hook of the hamate bone in his left hand. Manager Matt Williams said Storen will miss two to three days before resuming his throwing program but the closer is not in jeopardy of missing opening day. The surgery was on Storen’s non-throwing hand. “He’ll get back to throwing. Initially, until the stitches

Harper gets Nats scoring started (Nats, Astros tie 6-6)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 6, Astros 6 Recap: Bryce Harper had a two-run double and Ryan Zimmerman added an RBI single as the Nats scored three times in the third inning. Kila Ka’aihue and Rafael Bautista both drove in runs to give the Nationals a 5-4 lead. Doug Fister pitched 2 1/3 innings, giving up two runs, one earned, on four hits, with two

More on Rendon’s injury, Severino and Kieboom reassigned

VIERA, Fla. - Nationals manager Matt Williams announced this morning that catchers Pedro Severino and Spencer Kieboom have been reassigned to minor league camp. He said both weren’t able to get enough at-bats and it was important to get them some work before their seasons began Severino, 21, batted .247 with nine home runs and 36 RBIs at Single-A Potomac last season. “He’s a really

Frandsen starts at third for injured Rendon (with lineups)

VIERA, Fla. - Kevin Frandsen starts at third base today after news that Anthony Rendon will be sidelined for at least a week with a mild strain of his left MCL. Rendon suffered the injury in the sixth inning of Monday’s loss to the Braves. Frandsen is 3-for-10 so far this spring. Ryan Zimmerman has been swinging the bat well early in the exhibition season.

Anthony Rendon has mild MCL sprain in left knee

VIERA, Fla. - Nationals manager Matt Williams said this morning that X-rays revealed that Anthony Rendon has a mild sprain of his media collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee. The injury occurred in the top of the sixth inning of Monday’s game, when Rendon lunged to his left making a spectacular stop on a ground ball in the hole and then jumped to his

For Moore, hole-in-one follows hot streak at plate

VIERA, Fla. - By now you’re aware that Tyler Moore’s bat is as hot as anybody’s around spring training from Jupiter, Fla. to Mesa, Ariz. “In the zone” is one of those cliché sports phrases that gets thrown around far too often these day, but for Moore it may actually apply after his remarkable spring extended from the baseball diamond to the golf course on

Cole’s desire excites Williams, no issues with Strasburg in minor league work

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Nationals manager Matt Williams was pleased with the way A.J. Cole threw the ball at the start of today’s 11-9 loss to the Mets. The 6-foot-5 right-hander gave up a solo home run to Curtis Granderson and three other hits along with two walks in 1 2/3 innings. “I thought it was good,” said Williams. “Mid-90s fastball. Probably threw more

Cole tough on himself after rough start, Espinosa homers (Nats outslugged 11-9)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Mets 11, Nationals 9 Recap: Prospect A.J. Cole gave up a run on four hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings in his first start of the spring. Curtis Granderson homered off Cole in the first and Michael Cuddyer took reliever Evan Meek deep in the third. Nats center fielder Michael A. Taylor delivered a two-out double in the third,

Cole is shaky, while Taylor delivers

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - A.J. Cole labored through 1 2/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits and two walks. Curtis Granderson slammed a full-count fastball over the left field wall to give the Mets a 1-0 lead in the first. David Wright and Michael Cuddyer followed with singles and Cole then walked Daniel Murphy to load the bases. He eventually got John Mayberry

Williams on Rendon’s status and Span returning to camp

PORT ST. LUCIE. Fla. - Right-hander A.J. Cole makes his first start of the exhibition season today. Cole, one of the Nationals’ prized prospects, gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits in 2 1/3 innings against the Cardinals on Saturday. “First time out, his breaking ball wasn’t as sharp as he wanted it to be, so that’s part of the plan today, to

McLouth makes first start, good test for Espinosa (with Nats-Mets lineups)

PORT ST. LUCIE, FLA. - Nate McLouth makes his first start of the spring today, leading off as the designated hitter. McLouth received two at-bats in yesterday’s game, going 1-for-2 with a single. Nationals manager Matt Williams said McLouth won’t play in the field until sometime next week as he continues on a throwing program while recovering from shoulder surgery. Hitting second, Danny Espinosa should

“Promising prospect” Cole to start vs. Mets

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - An ingrown toenail has forced Stephen Strasburg to be scratched from making his second start of the spring today. Highly ranked prospect A.J. Cole, who was scheduled to pitch at some point against the Mets, will now get the ball first. It will be Cole’s second appearance of the exhibition season after giving up two runs (one earned) on two

Strasburg scratched from Thursday start because of ingrown toenail

VIERA, Fla. - Right-hander Stephen Strasburg has been scratched from making his second start of the exhibition season on Thursday after undergoing surgery to remove an ingrown toenail “Stras had an ingrown toenail, so we’re going to have him throw on the minor league side where we can control innings,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said after Wednesday’s 9-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers. “He’s a

Difo makes his mark, while Storen and McLouth make spring debuts

VIERA, Fla. - Jordan Zimmermann took the hill for his second outing of the Grapefruit League season on Wednesday. The Tigers managed a run on two hits against Zimmermann, who also added four strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings of work. “I was attacking and trying to get ahead with the fastball,” said Zimmermann. “The last outing, I wasn’t able to do that, but this one,

Fearless Difo sparks Nats, Zimmermann pitches into third (Nats roll 9-2)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 9, Tigers 2 Recap: Jordan Zimmermann gave up a run on two hits with four strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings. Thirty-three of his 47 pitches were strikes. Highly ranked prospect Wilmer Difo was 2-for-3 with a triple, double and two RBIs. Ryan Zimmerman added two doubles and two RBIs. Drew Vettleson and Matt Skoke hit late home runs.Need to know:

Williams on Rendon’s knee with updates on Werth and McLouth

VIERA, Fla. - In Monday’s game against the Braves, Anthony Rendon dove to his left, making an incredible play to field a ground ball in the hole, jumped to his feet and fired to first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. The result of the play was just another spring training out, albeit a spectacular one, but also a bruised left knee for Rendon. He was originally scheduled

Zimmermann, Price in marquee pitching matchup (with lineups)

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals will get a chance to measure their lineup against one of the game’s best when the Tigers send former American League Cy Young Award winner David Price to the mound. The 1 p.m. game will be aired on MASN HD. Price, a four-time All-Star, led the majors in strikeouts last season with 271. The 6-foot-6 left-hander will be a good

Might be right place, right time for Tony Gwynn Jr.

VIERA, Fla. - Less than 10 days ago, Tony Gwynn Jr. was sitting in his home in San Diego without a job. The eight-year veteran was coming off his worst season in the majors on and off the field. “If I’m being honest, around Feb. 1 is when you start to get like, ‘What is going on? There’s nothing happening,’ ” Gwynn said. “But ultimately,

Matt Williams lets Max Scherzer battle

JUPITER, Fla. - Nationals manager Matt Williams sent pitching coach Steve McCatty to the mound in the third inning to check on Max Scherzer. The Nats ace was running near the 55-pitch total that Williams had in mind for his new right-hander who was only making his second start of the exhibition season. “He got in a little trouble there in the last inning, but

Max Scherzer careful to not show too much (Marlins win 2-1)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Marlins 2, Nationals 1 Recap: Max Scherzer gave up one run on six hits with three strikeouts in three innings against the Marlins. He threw 47 pitches, 33 for strikes, in his second outing of the exhibition season. Taylor Jordan pitched two scoreless innings in his second appearance of the spring. Jerry Blevins, Heath Bell and Rafael Martin each tossed a

Mega-million-dollar matchup today

JUPITER, Fla. - Alert Fort Knox. Over a half a billion dollars will square off in the bottom of the first inning today when Marlins star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton faces Nationals ace Max Scherzer. The Nationals, of course, signed Scherzer to a stunning seven-year, $210 million contract in January. Two months before, the Marlins broke the bank by inking the 25-year-old Stanton to a record

The plan is for Scherzer to go three innings (with lineups)

JUPITER, Fla. - Right-hander Max Scherzer gets his second start of the exhibition season today against the Miami Marlins. He’s expected to pitch three innings or around 55 pitches, according to Nationals manager Matt Williams. Jose Lobaton will get his first chance of the spring to work with Scherzer behind the plate. Danny Espinosa starts at shortstop today and should get more opportunities to familiarize

Rizzo: “It’s Michael Taylor time right now”

VIERA, Fla. - Dealing with injuries is nothing new for Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. He was left scrambling throughout last season as the middle of his club’s lineup formed a line to the disabled list. Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos and Ryan Zimmerman all missed more than 50 games in 2014. Now, barely a week into the Grapefruit League season, Rizzo faces the predicament of

Williams pleased as Gonzalez completes one round through the rotation

VIERA, Fla. - It was a brief but successful first exhibition outing for Gio Gonzalez. The left-hander threw just 19 pitches, 15 for strikes, in two scoreless frames against the Braves. Gonzalez gave up just one hit, a double, and also recorded a strikeout. “It felt great,” Gonzalez said. “My arm felt fantastic, strong. Shoulder felt great. I wasn’t thinking about pitch count or anything

Gio Gonzalez makes quick work of Braves in first outing (Nats lose 2-1)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Braves 2, Nationals 0 Recap: Gio Gonzalez looked good in his first outing of the exhibition season. He gave up one hit, a double to Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt, but was otherwise stellar in two innings of scoreless work that also included a strikeout. Overall, Gonzalez threw just 19 pitches with 11 for strikes. Tony Gwynn Jr. was 2-for-2 on the

Williams says Span will be out four to six weeks after core surgery

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals are experiencing their first bout with adversity this spring after center fielder Denard Span underwent surgery this morning to repair a right core muscle injury. Manager Matt Williams expects Span to be sidelined for four to six weeks before he can resume any baseball activity. Span first felt the injury coming into spring training, according to Williams. “He thought that

Today’s Braves-Nationals lineups

VIERA, Fla. - While we wait for Nationals manager Matt Williams to address Denard Span’s surgery today to repair a right core injury, here are today’s lineups for the Braves and Nationals. You can watch today’s game at 1 p.m. on MASN HD. Tony Gwynn Jr. gets the start in center field, Dan Uggla is the designated hitter against his former team and Bryce Harper

Denard Span undergoes surgery to repair core injury (updated)

VIERA, Fla. - Nationals center fielder Denard Span underwent surgery this morning to repair a right core muscle injury. Manager Matt Williams will provide an update on Span’s recovery timetable later this morning in his pregame meeting with the media. There’s no word yet on how the injury occurred. Span is coming off hernia surgery in December. He showed up in Viera a few days

Gonzalez gets his turn today

VIERA, Fla. - Gio Gonzalez gets his first chance of the Grapefruit League season when he starts today against the Atlanta Braves at Space Coast Stadium in a 1 p.m. game that will be aired live on MASN HD. He’s the last of the big five in the star-studded Nationals rotation, but maybe the least celebrated heading into this season. Yet, of the other four

Williams sees “tremendous” progress with Taylor

TAMPA, Fla. - The Nationals are now 3-1 in the Grapefruit League after falling 3-2 to the Yankees on Sunday afternoon. It was the first tune-up start for Doug Fister, who needed just 19 pitches to complete two scoreless frames that included one hit and one walk. “I felt like it was my first outing of the spring,” Fister said. “There’s definitely some things I

Sizzling bats for Moore and Taylor, Fister solid (Nats lose 3-2)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Yankees 3, Nationals 2 Recap: Michael A. Taylor led off today’s game with his first home run of the exhibition season. The highly regarded outfield prospect also singled and is now 3-for-5 in two exhibition games. Tyler Moore added two more doubles in today’s game. Through three games, Moore is 6-for-8 with four doubles, a home run, a triple and six

Matt Williams on Danny Espinosa and Nats bench

TAMPA, Fla. - Doug Fister takes the ball today for his first tune-up of the exhibition season. Manager Matt Williams continues his plan of all starters throwing two innings or around 45 pitches. So far, Stephen Strasburg is the only member of the Nationals rotation to even reach 40 pitches. “At this time, we’re making sure that they’re getting through their games and they’re healthy

Frandsen at third for Nats, A-Rod at third for Yankees

TAMPA, Fla. - Kevin Frandsen is starting at his third different positionin as many games, playing third base this afternoon for the Nationals. Frandsen played second base in the exhibition opener and left field on Friday against the Braves. Nothing new for the versatile Frandsen, who appeared in 105 games for the Nationals last year at four different positions while hitting .259 with one home

First look at Fister heading into a contract year

VIERA, Fla. - The parade of stellar Nationals arms sent to the mound continues today when Doug Fister takes the hill against the New York Yankees. It promises to be the start of an interesting ride for Fister in 2015. The 31-year-old finds himself uncertain of his future as his contract with the Nats expires at the end of the season. “I don’t think there’s

Williams not concerned about Strasburg, impressed by prospects

VIERA, Fla. - Most of the focus of spring training has surrounded the Nationals rotation, especially since the addition of Max Scherzer in January. Scherzer and Jordan Zimmermann started the Nats’ first two exhibition games. On Saturday, it was Stephen Strasburg’s turn. The tall righty looked strong early, as he needed just 12 pitches to retire the Cardinals in the first. But Strasburg struggled in

Despite early struggles, Strasburg satisfied with effort (Nats rally, win 6-5)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 6, Cardinals 5 Recap: Stephen Strasburg allowed two runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings. Strasburg’s difficulties began in the second when he walked Randall Grichuk to start the inning. The Cardinals followed with three straight singles taking a 2-0 lead. Grichuk homered off A.J. Cole in the third extending the Cardinals lead

Strasburg struggles in first start

VIERA, Fla. - After breezing through a perfect first inning, Stephen Strasburg labored through 28 pitches in the second before Nationals manager Matt Williams removed him with two outs. Williams had previously said that it was his plan for all starters to pitch either two innings or around 45 pitches. Strasburg had thrown 40 pitches, 26 for strikes, when Williams went to the mound. Strasburg

Escobar to miss 7-10 days with Grade 1 oblique strain

VIERA, Fla. - Yunel Escobar will miss seven to 10 days with a Grade 1 left oblique strain according to Nationals manager Matt Williams. “It’s very light, but we still have to shut him down for a few days to make sure that it gets out of there,” Williams said. “We would anticipate him being back and playing in spring training games and ready for

The right test for Espinosa begins today (with lineups)

VIERA, Fla. - Danny Espinosa makes his first start of the exhibition today against the Cardinals at Space Coast Stadium. Today’s game will be televised on MASN HD beginning at 1 p.m. He’s been a focus of the early part of spring training as he continues to work on hitting exclusively from the right side of the plate. Espinosa has been a switch-hitter since his

Uggla can see comeback

VIERA, Fla. - Dan Uggla is very familiar with Champions Stadium, just not the visitors clubhouse. Uggla played for the Braves for four seasons, meaning he was part of several spring trainings at the stadium down the street from Disney World. Coincidentally, his first Grapefruit League game in a Nationals uniform came against his old team. Uggla smoked a line drive single to right field

Moore’s hot start is no surprise to Williams

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - One of the few roster questions the Nationals are facing this spring is what to do with Tyler Moore. The 28-year-old is out of minor league options, meaning he either needs to make the 25-man opening day roster or be subjected to the waiver wire on his way to the minors - and it’s doubtful he’d pass through unclaimed. Moore,

Zimmermann satisfied, while Moore’s bat scorches early (Nats win 9-8)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 9, Braves 8 Recap: Tyler Moore was 2-for-3 with a triple, home run and five RBIs. He started the Nats scoring in the second with a two-run shot over the right field wall and then his bases-loaded triple in the fifth gave the road team a 7-4 advantage. Moore is now 4-for-5 through the first two games of the exhibition

Escobar to see doctor for sore back, today’s lineups vs. Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Mike Carp was originally scheduled to start at first base in today’s game between the Nationals and Braves, but has been scratched. Carp was hit in the foot last night, and manager Matt Williams said he’s fine but just sore with a little swelling today. Carp was 1-for-1 with a single and two runs scored last night in his first

Blake Treinen doesn’t shy away from pressure

VIERA, Fla. - Right-hander Blake Treinen earned a save last night by pitching a perfect ninth inning to protect the Nationals’ 5-4 lead for their first win of the Grapefruit League season. The 26-year-old recalled finishing three Nationals wins last year, but none of them were tight games. “It’s just fun to come in and shut the door,” Treinen said. “Whether it’s the guy in

Plenty of firsts for Scherzer and Zimmerman, but not for Escobar

VIERA, Fla. - Nationals manager Matt Williams was pleased with what he saw from starter Max Scherzer in his first game action of the Grapefruit League season. “Good velocity, pounded the strike zone,” said Williams. “He got behind and gave up a homer. But other than that, he was good.” Williams had Scherzer on a two-inning, 45 pitch limit heading into tonight’s game against the

Scherzer gives up home run in first exhibition start (Nats win 5-4)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 5, Mets 4 Recap: Max Scherzer threw 29 pitches, 20 for strikes, in his first exhibition game with the Nationals. Tanner Roark followed Scherzer to the mound and only pitched thethird after giving up three runs, including a towering two-run homer off the bat of Eric Campbell. The Nationals responded in the bottom of the third after a double from

Escobar scratched from exhibition opener with “general soreness”

VIERA, Fla. - Yunel Escobar has been scratched from today’s Grapefruit League opener with what the team is calling “general soreness.” Escobar was due to make his first appearance in a Nationals uniform in a game today after coming to Washington from the A’s in a trade in mid-January. Kevin Frandsen, who was originally slated to serve as the designated hitter and hit ninth, will

Nats set for Grapefruit League opener against Mets

VIERA, Fla. - We’ve known now for two days that Max Scherzer will take the mound later this evening when the Nationals open the exhibition season against the Mets. Former American League Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon will pitch for New York. Here’s the Nationals’ expected lineup against Colon: CF Denard Span3B Anthony Rendon RF Bryce Harper 1B Ryan Zimmerman C Wilson Ramos SS

Werth making progress, hits off the tee for first time

VIERA, Fla. - Jayson Werth took another step, albeit a small one, in his rehab from surgery to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder on Jan. 9. “I took some dry swings and I took like five swings off the tee or something like that,” Werth said. “I don’t think I’m supposed to take swings off the tee, but it’s a little too

Harper faces Strasburg for first time

VIERA, Fla. - It wasn’t exactly Roy Hobbs blowing fastballs by “The Whammer” in a field next to the train tracks, but Wednesday morning’s faceoff between flame-throwing Stephen Strasburg and violent-swinging Bryce Harper was certainly the highlight of the first two weeks of spring training. The Nationals made Strasburg and Harper the No. 1 overall picks in 2009 and 2010, respectively. But never had the

Williams reveals probable pitchers for first two games

VIERA, Fla. - Just one more day of practice left before the Mets visit Space Coast Stadium for the Nats’ Grapefruit League opener. Nationals manager Matt Williams revealed yesterday that Max Scherzer will take the mound first on Thursday followed by Tanner Roark, each throwing two innings or around 45 pitches. This morning, we found out the other pitchers who could also pitch against the

Rick Ankiel returns to help young Nationals players adjust

VIERA, Fla. - Rick Ankiel returned to the field with the Nationals on Tuesday - not as a player, but as the minor league life skills coordinator, a new position created within the organization. By the time Ankiel reached the Nationals in 2011, he had already made one of the most resilient comebacks in baseball in the last 50 years. Ankiel made his debut in

Williams on naming a No. 1 starter, Gwynn and more (with photo and videos)

VIERA, Fla. - Since Max Scherzer joined the star-studded Nationals rotation, many have argued with friends over adult beverages, or with sports talk show hosts, as to which pitcher should start on opening day. Some have even skipped the looming 162-game schedule and jumped to Game 1 of the National League Division Series in October. October? Can we get some sun first? “I think there’s

Scherzer to start spring training opener

VIERA, Fla. - Nationals manager Matt Williams announced this afternoon that Max Scherzer will start Thursday’s spring training opener against the Mets. Tanner Roark, who most likely will be bumped from this year’s starting rotation due to Scherzer’s signing, will be the next to take the mound in the first exhibition game. Williams has a limit in mind for his pitchers. “Two innings, 45-ish (pitches),

Williams on Taylor’s progress: “He’s really close”

VIERA, Fla. - Michael A. Taylor’s rare combination of power and speed has led him to be considered as one of the top prospects in all of baseball. The 23-year-old made the jump to the majors in August 2014 and hit his first home run in his big league debut at Citi Field in New York. Most would think that would easily be the highlight

Tony Gwynn Jr. signs minor league deal with invite to spring training

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals have agreed to terms with outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. on a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training. The 32-year-old has played parts of eight seasons in the majors with the Brewers, Padres, Dodgers and Phillies. Gwynn played his college ball at San Diego State and was drafted by Milwaukee in the second round of the

Live BP continues for starters, while work continues at first base

VIERA, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Tanner Roark took the hill yesterday, throwing to actual hitters for the first time this spring training. Today brought a chance for the rest of the rotation - Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmermann - to show its pitches to live Nationals stepping into the batter’s box. “Gio’s velocity was really good. His curveball was good,”

Barrett looks to wipe out postseason memories

VIERA, Fla. - ESPN’s Buster Olney and John Kruk stopped by Nationals camp on Sunday. After taking in practice and talking with many of the players, the two discussed which Nationals players were the ones to watch in a 2015 season filled with so many expectations. With a star-studded rotation dominating the headlines, along with a lineup including Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper, Olney’s response

A conversation with John Kruk on the Nationals

VIERA, Fla. - ESPN’s tour bus rolled into Viera on Sunday to preview the Nationals during a special midday presentation of “SportsCenter.” Buster Olney and John Kruk of “Baseball Tonight” and anchor Bram Weinstein interviewed several Nats players, including Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer, throughout the morning. Afterward, I had a chance to sit down with Kruk on the bus for a conversation about the

Espinosa stays right, while Williams talks left

VIERA, Fla. - Seems like Danny Espinosa is taking most of his fielding reps with Ian Desmond at shortstop while Yunel Escobar and Dan Uggla are handling second base. But the focus this spring training is on improving Espinosa’s production at the plate. The career switch-hitter continues to take extra batting practice every day as he attempts to transition exclusively to a right-handed hitter. As

Scherzer, Nats pitchers face live hitters

VIERA, Fla. - Nationals pitchers threw to live hitters for the first time in spring training this morning. Though very few swings were taken, it does serve to be beneficial for pitchers to have actual hitters digging in the box as opposed to just throwing bullpen sessions. Fans scurried to the practice field where Max Scherzer was taking the mound to get a look at

McLouth closing in on full strength

VIERA, Fla. - Nate McLouth’s first season in Washington never got on track. He was bothered by shoulder inflammation throughout much of the year, which eventually led to surgery in August to repair a torn right labrum. Before shutting it down, the veteran outfielder managed just a .173 batting average with one home run and seven RBIs in 79 games. Those numbers were the worst

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