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Offense keeps rolling as Nats hand Mets first home loss in 8-2 win

Flushing, N.Y. - Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg has labored through the first two innings tonight. He has already racked up 52 pitches. The Mets turned a pair of doubles from shortstop Wilmer Flores and catcher Kevin Plawecki into the game’s first run in the second. Two batters later, right fielder Curtis Granderson followed with an RBI single, which left Strasburg and the Nats in a

Rendon potentially back in rehab game in Bowie tomorrow, Janssen’s plan set

FLUSHING, N.Y. - If all goes well, infielder Anthony Rendon will resume his minor league rehab stint with Double-A Harrisburg when the Senators travel to Bowie to play the Baysox this weekend. Rendon played in games last Friday and Saturday and then, after a scheduled day off Sunday, he became a late scratch Monday when he had trouble loosening up his injured left knee in

Escobar returns as Strasburg and Zimmerman look to find a groove (with lineups)

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Right-hander Stephen Strasburg didn’t have much of a chance to pick up a win in his last outings as the Nationals were shut out last Saturday in Miami. He’s yet to find consistency this season as he brings a 4.88 ERA into his fifth start this evening. Strasburg is 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA and 44 strikeouts in five career starts at

Span, Espinosa charge to New York on a tear

FLUSHING, N.Y. - The Nationals showed up to Turner Field on Tuesday afternoon licking their wounds, in some cases literally, from a six-game losing streak. The offense, the main culprit for the early-season slide, had become a quagmire filled with poor situational hitting and untimely strikeouts. They began the fifth inning on the mat, trailing by a normally insurmountable eight runs. But center fielder Denard

In offensive assault, Jordan Zimmermann delivered the biggest blow

ATLANTA - Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann pitched seven solid innings and delivered a three-run single to help the Nationals earn their second series win of the season in a 13-4 victory over the Braves. After yesterday’s chaotic 13-12 game, the Nats needed a lengthy start from Zimmermann and he came through allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. Little

Offense erupts in Nats’ 13-4 win

ATLANTA - For the third straight night, the Nationals found themselves playing from behind after the first inning. Braves right fielder Nick Markakis led off tonight’s game with a single to left field off Nats starter Jordan Zimmermann. First baseman Freddie Freeman added a double and then catcher A.J. Pierzynski scored them both on a soft single to center. It was nothing new for Markakis,

Scherzer set to return Friday, while Rendon and Escobar are still on the mend

ATLANTA - Citi Field will be the site of the best pitching matchup in the majors on Friday as Nationals ace Max Scherzer will get the start against Mets right-hander Matt Harvey. Scherzer’s swollen thumb has healed, allowing Nats manager Matt Williams to get his stud right-hander back in the rotation. “Maxie will slide in there Friday,” Williams said. “He threw again today. Just some

Zimmermann looks for series win, Uggla back for more (with lineups)

ATLANTA - Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann looks to correct an uncharacteristically poor start against in the rubber match of this season’s first three-game series with the Braves. Zimmermann is 1-2 with a 5.23 ERA in four starts this year. He allowed two runs on six hits in six innings last Friday in Miami, but did not factor in the decision, leaving after having thrown 79

Nats recall rookies Michael A. Taylor and Sammy Solis

ATLANTA - It didn’t take long for prized Nationals rookie Michael A. Taylor to make it back to the big leagues. The 24-year-old was the Nationals’ opening day center fielder and leadoff hitter. He validated the hype in his first 12 games, hitting .271 with two homers, three doubles, one triple and eight RBIs. Taylor is considered a rare prospect possessing dynamic speed as well

Nats expect momentum to follow emotional win

ATLANTA - The Nationals have underachieved, without question, in the first month of the season. Grand talks of running away with the National League East have turned to grumblings of early changes. So it’s easy to point at last night’s dramatic comeback and assume it will be the wake-up call for the baseball gods to reclear the path to October. “Yeah, this has got to,”

Dan Uggla provides ultimate comeback story in epic 13-12 win

ATLANTA - After two innings, the Nationals found themselves down eight runs and staring at a seventh straight loss. But an amazing display of resiliency put themselves back into position for one mighty swing of the bat from second baseman Dan Uggla to regain all of the confidence that was seemingly lost throughout the season’s disappointing first month. With one out in the ninth and

Dan Uggla’s three-run blast gives Nats historic 13-12 comeback win

ATLANTA - It was a tough major league debut tonight for Nationals starter A.J. Cole. The 23-year-old rookie was battered for nine runs on nine hits as he lasted only two innings. The Braves’ approach was relentless against Cole as they battered fastballs all over Turner Field. Cole did have a chance to lessen the damage with two outs in the second and the Nats

Rendon misses another rehab game, Williams responds to Gonzalez on Escobar injury

ATLANTA - Infielder Anthony Rendon’s minor league rehab stint is on hold again at Double-A Harrisburg. Last night, Rendon was a late scratch after having trouble loosening up his injured left knee. He won’t play tonight due to a completely new issue. “Today he reported to the stadium and felt a little tightness kind of in his side, so we want to make sure we

Nats look to rookie Cole to stop slide in debut, plus Scherzer update (with lineups)

ATLANTA - Right-hander A.J. Cole is set to make his major league debut at Turner Field tonight. His task: Beat the Braves and stop the Nationals’ six-game freefall. The 6-foot-5 Cole is one of baseball highly regarded pitching prospects. The Nationals originally selected the 23-year-old in the fourth round of the First-Year Player Draft in 2010. He was sent to Oakland as part of the

Williams, Uggla deliver aggressive message (Rendon update)

ATLANTA - The Atlanta Braves are still paying Nationals second baseman Dan Uggla a lot of money, $13 million dollars to be exact this season. The remaining loot is part of a five-year deal Uggla inked back with the Braves in 2011. Uggla’s performance, especially at the plate, submarined gradually and the Braves finally released him last summer. The three-time All-Star entered last night’s game

Nationals upset with Simmons’ “ugly slide” that injures Escobar in 8-4 loss

ATLANTA - It actually can get worse. On a night the where Nationals racked up as many errors as runs in an 8-4 loss to the Braves, most of the postgame clubhouse chatter surrounded a questionable play in the fifth inning that knocked third baseman Yunel Escobar from the game. I guess it’s better than talking about why they only managed four hits on Braves

Losing streak reaches six as Nats fall 8-4 (Escobar injured)

ATLANTA - Right-hander Doug Fister surrendered the dreaded leadoff walk to Braves right fielder Nick Markakis to start the game. Fister would pay for it as Markakis advanced to third on first baseman Freddie Freeman’s double and then scored easily on a sacrifice fly from catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Fister had an 18-inning scoreless streak working against the Braves until the first-inning run. The slumping Nats

Anthony Rendon scratched from tonight’s rehab start at Double-A Harrisburg

ATLANTA - Infielder Anthony Rendon will not make his scheduled minor league rehab start at Double-A Harrisburg tonight due to fatigue, according to the Nationals. Rendon, who is recovering from a left MCL sprain, was due to play seven innings at second base in his third game. He was 2-for-4 in his first two games, playing five innings on Friday and seven on Saturday, before

History on his side, Doug Fister aims to end losing streak (with lineups)

ATLANTA - The experimentation continues for Nationals manager Matt Williams as he looks to find the right formula for his offense. Facing Braves left-hander Eric Stults tonight, Williams has placed first baseman Ryan Zimmerman second in the order. Zimmerman is batting just .205, but has six extra-base hits (five doubles, one triple) and nine RBIs in his last 11 games. Overall, he leads the team

It’s got to get better in a little while

ATLANTA - With the Nationals mired in a five-game losing streak and staring seven more games remaining on this road trip, it’s hard to find reasons for promise. They’ve lost 12 games in 12 different ways. Injuries have certainly played a part, but shouldn’t be recognized as the main problem. “I can tell you this: When you start the season and you’re missing your one,

Nats’ troubling five-game losing streak is reason for concern

MIAMI - Just three weeks ago, the Nationals were the betting man’s pick to win the World Series. That seems laughable after today’s 6-2 loss completed a series sweep by the Marlins and extended the Nats’ losing streak to five games, their worst since July 2013. “I’m not worried,” right fielder Bryce Harper said. “Do I look worried?” What else is Harper supposed to say?

Williams planning for Scherzer to miss Tuesday’s start

MIAMI - A swollen right thumb has placed the next start for Nationals ace Max Scherzer in doubt. “I’m not ready to rule it out completely, but I also have to be honest with myself because anytime you deal with an injury to your pitching hand, you literally have to be 100 percent to go back out there,” Scherzer said. The right-hander is scheduled to

Marlins complete the sweep in 6-2 win over reeling Nats

MIAMI - Right fielder Bryce Harper helped the Nats’ scoring issues with a solo homer in the second off Marlins starter Dan Haren. Harper evened the count after falling down 0-2 and then smacked his fifth bomb of the year to right field. It’s the sixth home run that Haren has given up in four outings. Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez gave up a leadoff single

Nats hope familiar face triggers offense (with lineups)

MIAMI - Trying to get out of an offensive rut, Nationals manager Matt Williams is back to tinkering with his lineup. Third baseman Yunel Escobar and his 15-game on-base streak move back into the two-hole where he began the season. Shortstop Ian Desmond drops to sixth in the order after an 0-for-4 day ended his 10-game hitting streak. The Nationals will work to get their

Gio Gonzalez takes the mound in emotional homecoming

MIAMI - When Nationals left hander Gio Gonzalez takes the mound today, he will not only be feeling the pressure of stopping his team’s four-game losing streak but also the emotions of pitching in Marlins Park about 20 minutes from where he grew up. “Most of Hialeah is coming out,” Gonzalez said. “It’s pretty exciting. I’m pretty nervous, just pitching in front of the home

Frustrations spill over for Strasburg in Nats’ fourth straight loss

MIAMI - In the midst of a three-game losing streak, Nationals manager Matt Williams said he felt his team was close to turning things around before today’s game against the Marlins. Four hours later, after being blanked 8-0, it appears that gap has widened significantly. “Well, 8-0 is pretty bad,” Williams said. “But today was one of those days where there was not much to

Stanton, Koehler too much as Nats are shut out 8-0

MIAMI - Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg ran into difficulty to start the fourth when Marlins third baseman Martin Prado ripped a double to the right-center gap to lead off the inning. Right fielder Giancarlo followed with another double down the left line to score Prado easily for the game’s first run. Stanton is 2-for-2 today and now 12-for-30 with three homers and six doubles against

Max Scherzer’s thumb still swollen, Stephen Strasburg back at it

MIAMI - Nationals ace Max Scherzer is still experiencing pain in his right thumb, two days after jamming it while hitting a ground ball in his second at-bat in Thursday’s loss to the Cardinals. As a result, Scherzer didn’t throw his scheduled bullpen session today. “It’s still a little sore and swollen, so we pushed his bullpen today,” Nats manager Matt Williams said. “So we’ll

Span gets day off, Harper moves to center field (with lineups)

MIAMI -Center fielder Denard Span gets his first day off since returning from the diabled list last Sunday when the Nationals face the Marlins this afternoon. Washington will be looking to end a three-game losing streak. The 31-year Span was tested in the outfield Friday night, especially on a couple of hard-hit balls that he tracked down in the fifth inning. After drawing a walk

Bryce Harper, Dan Uggla talk Nats’ scuffling offense

MIAMI - The Nationals have played below expectations in the first month of the season. A 10-day road trip through three National League East cities seemed like an opportunity to reverse some ugly early trends and possibly build some momentum against some of the division’s struggling teams. But in the loss to the Marlins last night in the trek’s first game, it was the Nationals

Quiet bats lead Nationals to three-game skid

MIAMI - After a terrible start, the Nats offense seemed to be coming around during the season’s second week. But that appears to be just a tease as the futile bats have returned in a three-game losing streak. The Nationals are just 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position over the past two games and have scored a lowly three runs. Marlins starter Mat Latos brought

Bullpen struggles continue as Nats lose third straight

MIAMI - The Nationals manufactured a run to get on the scoreboard first in the fourth inning. Shortstop Ian Desmond smacked a double to lead off the inning and left fielder Jayson Werth immediately advanced him to third on a fly ball to right. Desmond trotted home easily when right fielder Bryce Harper sent a rocket to center that Marcell Ozuna was able to run

Scherzer dealing with swollen thumb, Rendon back in action

MIAMI - Just as the Nationals’ medical report was beginning to clear up, more nagging injuries to a couple of the team’s starters have popped up. Nationals ace Max Scherzer jammed his right thumb in his second at-bat in the fifth inning of yesterday’s loss to the Cardinals. He remained in the game to pitch the next two innings before leaving with discomfort. Swelling developed

Nats hope history repeats itself for Jordan Zimmermann (with lineups)

MIAMI - The last time tonight’s starter Jordan Zimmermann faced the Marlins when it counted, he tossed a hair-raising no-hitter in the 2014 regular season finale. That’s all but irrelevant as he takes the mound tonight, looking to get back on track after a surprising 1-2 start with a 6.14 ERA. Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton wasn’t in the lineup for Zimmermann’s no-hitter. But when he

A healthy Denard Span returns to form, plus options for Ryan Zimmerman with foot injury

Center fielder Denard Span came up with the Nationals’ only hit with runners in scoring position in the team’s 11 attempts yesterday. His fifth-inning RBI single not only tied the game but also meant that he’s hit safely in all four games since returning from the disabled list last Sunday. “Whenever somebody’s in scoring position, I go up there with an aggressive mentality,” said Span.

Offense struggles as Nats drop second straight (Zimmerman injury update)

This script has been written too many times throughout the first month of the season. Once again, poor situational hitting combined with shoddy defense led to the Nationals losing. With today’s 4-1 loss to the Cardinals, the Nats drop the first series between the teams and St. Louis now holds a 13-3 record against the Nats over the past three years. “We get guys on

Poor fundamentals doom Nats in 4-1 loss

Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter jumped on the first pitch of the game from Nationals starter Max Scherzer and roped a double off the wall in right-center field. He advanced to third base on right fielder Jason Heyward’s soft single to left and scored the game’s first run when Scherzer uncorked a wild pitch. Scherzer was able to work out of the inning, getting two

Rendon at Nats Park to see Scherzer, Wacha face off in rubber match

It’s just the rubber match of an early season three-game set between the Nationals and Cardinals, but it features a marquee pitching matchup between two of the game’s most talented right-handers. Washington’s Max Scherzer, 30, brings his sterling 0.83 ERA to the hill to face 23-year-old Michael Wacha of the Cards. “We run out there today hoping that we’ve got our ace going and to

Nats, Scherzer aiming for series win vs. Cardinals (with lineups)

The Nationals will send right-hander Max Scherzer to the hill this afternoon to try and take the rubber game of a three-game set against the Cardinals. Scherzer is 1-1 with a 0.83 ERA in his first three starts in a Nats uniform. Left fielder Jayson Werth is out of the starting lineup, with Clint Robinson getting the nod in left and hitting fifth. The Nats

For Blake Treinen, eight has been too much

Injuries have forced new roles for several Nationals all over the field in the first month of the season. Former starter Blake Treinen has transitioned into the bullpen, and with right-hander Casey Janssen down, he’s been asked to take over the pressure-packed eighth-inning role. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo made a bold but debatable move in the offseason when he traded away dependable setup man

Cardinals make Fister, Treinen pay for mistakes in 7-5 loss

The Nationals dug themselves an early hole tonight, battled to even the score and then wasted a gritty comeback in a 7-5 loss to the Cardinals. The evening got off to a rough beginning for right-hander Doug Fister after Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter belted a changeup over the right field wall for a leadoff homer. Fister couldn’t escape the longball in the second, either,

Nats give up three homers in 7-5 loss to Cardinals

Nationals right-hander Doug Fister had never given up a leadoff home run in his previous 154 career starts. That streak ended tonight when Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter launched a Fister offering over the right field wall to give the Cardinals a quick 1-0 lead. The Nats got a two-out double from left fielder Jayson Werth in the second, but Cardinals starter John Lackey struck

Lefty Matt Grace recalled, Felipe Rivero heads to DL

The Nationals have recalled lefty Matt Grace from Triple-A Syracuse and placed left-hander Felipe Rivero on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 18, with a gastrointentinal bleed. Grace, 26, is set to become the third Nats reliever to make his major league debut this season, following right-hander Rafael Martin and Rivero. He was one of the final cuts this spring after not allowing a

Rendon heads to Double-A Harrisburg for rehab on Friday (Nats trade Cedeno)

Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon successfully completed five innings in his second extended spring game in Viera, Fla., today. He was 0-for-1 with two walks. Before yesterday, Rendon had not seen game action since spraining his left knee in a Grapefruit League contest on March 9. Manager Matt Williams revealed the plan for Rendon this afternoon. The 24-year-old will fly to D.C. tomorrow morning and

Fister looks to keep Nats rolling (with lineups)

Right-hander Doug Fister takes the mound for his third start of the season boasting a sparkling 0.69 ERA. Fister took the loss last June in his only game against the Cardinals, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings. He’ll look ti become the first Nationals starter to reach two wins on the season against St. Louis tonight. Center fielder Denard Span had his

So far, dynamic Yunel Escobar is a big hit

Instability is one way to describe infielder Yunel Escobar’s career. But barely two weeks into his fifth major league stop, the nine-year veteran has arguably been the most reliable of all of the Nationals. After squandering a one-run lead in the ninth against the Cardinals, Escobar bailed the Nats out with one swing of the bat, launching a solo homer to leftfor a 2-1 walk-off

Yunel Escobar celebrates walk-off homer his own way in Nats’ 2-1 win

The Nationals blew a one-run lead in the top of the ninth, but battled back behind third baseman Yunel Escobar’s walk-off homer to beat the Cardinals 2-1 in the 10th. Escobar wasted no time smacking a first-pitch fastball off right-hander Carlos Villanueva over the left field wall to even the Nats’ record at 7-7. “I (was) aggressive (when I went) to home plate and tried

Yunel Escobar’s walk-off homer wins it in the 10th

The Nationals wasted a prime scoring opportunity in the second when first baseman Ryan Zimmerman led off with a double to the the gap in right-center field. Third baseman Yunel Escobar followed with a great piece of hitting to move ZImmerman over to third on a groundout to first. But Zimmerman would be stranded there as catcher Wilson Ramos would strike out and, after an

Anthony Rendon scheduled to begin playing in minors this weekend

After 43 days on the sidelines, third baseman Anthony Rendon finally saw game action today, playing three innings and taking two at-bats in an extended spring game in Viera, Fla. Nationals manager Matt Williams indicated that Rendon will ramp it up to five innings tomorrow before heading out to a minor league rehab assignment on Friday. This is a major step for Rendon, who has

Yunel Escobar returns after groin injury (with lineups)

Third baseman Yunel Escobar returns to the Nationals lineup this evening after missing the previous two games with a strained groin. Escobar hasn’t played since the injury occurred while running out a ground ball in the fifth inning of Friday’s win over the Phillies. With center fielder Denard Span back in his normal leadoff spot, Escobar drops to sixth. He’s batting .286 (12-for-42) with a

Harper, Desmond wise to seek hitting advice from Williams

For 17 years, Nationals manager Matt Williams was one of the game’s most intense players - but also one of its most dangerous hitters. Williams batted .268 for his career with 378 homers and 1,218 RBIs. But those numbers don’t do justice to seasons like 1994, when he belted a league-high 43 homers for the Giants, or 1999 with the Diamondbacks, when he hit .303,

Danny Espinosa thrills in third act

Nationals manager Matt Williams has been scrambling since Day One of spring training after countless injuries left him experimenting with guys playing positions where they had little or no experience before. The Nats have faced the most amount of adversity at third base, where Anthony Rendon went down with a sprained left MCL after making a remarkable diving stop in just his third Grapefruit League

Strasburg impresses Williams, teammates in Nats’ win

Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitched a gem today. He was perfect through the first 4 2/3 innings before allowing a two-out single to Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz in the fifth. The three runs the Nats would get in the bottom of the inning would be all they would need, as they went on to win 4-1 and capture their first series of the season. Strasburg

Strasburg overpowers Phillies in Nats’ 4-1 win

Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg is perfect through four innings. He’s working quickly having only thrown only 32 pitches. He got Phillies second baseman Cody Asche swinging to end the first and center fielder Odubel Herrera whiffed to start the fourth. Third baseman Danny Espinosa, in only his second career start at the position, helped Strasburg with a spectacular sliding over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory on

Stephen Strasburg aims for first win with Denard Span behind him (with lineups)

Center fielder Denard Span is back from the disabled list after recovering from right core muscle surgery and he’ll bat in his normal leadoff position this afternoon for the Nationals. The 31-year-old will make his season debut after tying for the National League lead in hits last year with 184. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg returns to the mound still in search of his first win in

Nats make tough call sending Taylor back to minors as Span returns

Center fielder Denard Span is back. The Nationals reinstated Span from the 15-day disabled list this morning and manager Matt Williams immediately placed the 31-year-old back in his familiar leadoff spot for today’s game against the Phillies. Span, who was already coming off hernia surgery when he arrived at spring training, only played in the Nationals’ first Grapefruit League game before exiting with an abdominal

Just a little patience leads to violence at the plate for Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper pulverized a baseball in the fifth inning yesterday. The 89 mph pitch from Phillies starter Aaron Harang stood no chance as Harper’s violent lash sent it flying to an exclusive part of Nationals Park - way, way beyond the center field wall. The ESPN Home Run Tracker measured the distance at 452 feet, making it the longest home run of Harper’s career. The

Ian Desmond’s errors continue hurting Nats in loss

By no means was shortstop Ian Desmond the reason the Nationals lost 5-3 to the Phillies today, but his horrendous third inning played a major part. Desmond couldn’t make a play on simple grounder from Phillies starter Aaron Harang that should’ve been the inning’s second out. Who knows if it mentally bothered Nats starter Jordan Zimmermann, but he promptly gave up a double and a

Phillies win 5-3 as Zimmermann takes second loss

Back in the leadoff spot, center fielder Michael A. Taylor roped a single to left field to get things going early for the Nationals this afternoon. Shortstop Ian Desmond followed with a walk and Taylor then advanced to third on a groundout from right fielder Bryce Harper. Taylor would score the game’s first run unchallenged when first baseman Ryan Zimmerman bounced out. The Nats have

Denard Span could return tomorrow, Yunel Escobar to have MRI

Nationals manager Matt Williams revealed before today’s game that infielder Yunel Escobar will undergo an MRI this afternoon on his strained groin. The injury occurred while legging out a ground ball to first base in the fifth inning of last night’s 7-2 victory over the Phillies. Escobar pulled up lame at the bag and appeared to grab his left side before immediately leaving the game.

Espinosa gets first career start at third base for injured Escobar (with lineups)

Yunel Escobar is out of today’s lineup with a strained groin. Escobar’s injury occurred while legging out a grounder to first base in the fifth inning last night. He pulled up lame just as he reached the bag and would leave the game immediately after. Escobar’s departure paves the way for Danny Espinosa to make his first career major league start at third base. Espinosa

Max Scherzer, Wilson Ramos quickly developing chemistry

There were many obvious reasons for ace Max Scherzer to sign with the Nationals this offseason. The club was already the World Series favorites, he would be joining the game’s most imposing starting rotation and, oh yeah, $210 million. But an added luxury, was the benefit to work with a top-flight catcher that was battle-tested and full of experiences with some of the game’s elite

Nationals go streaking behind Scherzer and Harper

Many scratched their heads when the Nationals made the blockbuster offseason signing to bring right-hander Max Scherzer to D.C. Sure, he was a former American League Cy Young winner, but why did the Nats need him with the stacked rotation they already possessed? There’s certainly a long, long way to go for Scherzer to prove he’s worth the $210 million the Nats committed to him,

Zimmerman provides Scherzer with more insurance (Nats win 7-2)

For the third time in his many games, the Nationals have put runs on the scoreboard in the first inning. This time it was right fielder Bryce Harper smacking a massive three-run homer over the center field wall to give the Nats an early lead. Two of Harper’s team-leading three homers have come off Phillies starter Sean O’Sullivan. Nats starter Max Scherzer surrendered two hits

Craig Stammen impressively handles devastating injury news

Right-hander Craig Stammen is in unfamiliar territory. Before yesterday, the 31-year-old had never been on the disabled list at any point in his career since the Nationals selected him in the 12th round of 2005 First-Year Player Draft. Unfortunately, his maiden trip to the DL may cost Stammen the remainder of the season, as he is set to have surgery on Sunday to repair a

Max Scherzer aiming for first win against Phillies (with lineups)

Right-hander Max Scherzer takes the hill tonight still in search of his first win for the Nationals. He’s experienced hard luck in his previous two attempts, despite just allowing one earned run in 13 2/3 innings. He left last Sunday’s game against the Phillies after six innings with the game tied 1-1, having given up six hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. Scherzer will

Up-and-down start for Michael A. Taylor

Just days into spring training, the Nationals found out center fielder Denard Span wouldn’t be available for the start of the season after undergoing right core muscle surgery. Immediately, Nationals manager Matt Williams began searching for Span’s temporary replacement in the field and at the top of the order. Rookie Michael A. Taylor quickly emerged as the top candidate. He led the Nats in home

Fister, Harper and Werth featured in fast and furious 5-2 win

For the first time this season, the Nationals have won back-to-back games after beating the Phillies 5-2. Right-hander Doug Fister pitched at his normal rapid pace, allowing two runs, one earned, on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. “Guys were playing defense,” said Fister. “That’s the name of my game. I have to go out there and trust those

Escobar and Taylor go deep in Nats’ 5-2 win

Third baseman Yunel Escobar wasted no time getting the Nationals on the scoreboard as he launched the first offering from Phillies starter Cole Hamels deep over the center field wall for a solo homer. It was Escobar’s first home run this season and his fifth to start a game in his career. Moments earlier, Escobar made a spectacular over-the-shoulder, basket-style catch on a foul pop-up

Craig Stammen’s season potentially ends with torn flexor

Nationals manager Matt Williams announced today that right-hander Craig Stammen has a torn right flexor that will require surgery. The injury could potentially force Stammen to miss the remainder of the season. “It depends on the extent of the damage and the rehab, but it’s possible,” said Williams. “We’ll see.” Stammen led the Nationals in appearances this season with five before experiencing right forearm stiffness

Fister, Hamels set to dance again (with lineups)

The Nationals have returned home, and Doug Fister will get his second shot at the Phillies in the last six days. At Citizens Bank Park, Fister pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings of six-hit ball before leaving with a 1-0 lead that the Nationals bullpen could not hold. Fister will again face Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, who is 15-8 with a 2.59 ERA in 33 outings

Nats recall lefty Rivero, option Jordan to Triple-A

The Nationals shuffled their bullpen again this afternoon, recalling left-hander Felipe Rivero from Triple-A Syracuse and optioning right-hander Taylor Jordan to the Chiefs to create a spot on the 25-man roster. Rivero, 23, will be making his major league debut in his first appearance. He was acquired in the February 2014 deal that sent right-hander Nathan Karns to Tampa Bay, a trade that also netted

Rafael Martin’s dazzling major league debut

When right-hander Rafael Martin came off the field at hallowed Fenway Park yesterday, starter Gio Gonzalez was waiting with a new nickname for the 30-the-year-old rookie. “I’m the Mexican Assassin,” Martin said with a smirk after working two impressive innings in the Nats’ 10-5 victory. Martin was just that in his major league debut, as he struck out five straight Red Sox hitters, including three-time

No panic as Nats bust out of offensive funk in 10-5 win

BOSTON - The Nationals busted out of their early-season offensive funk in a big way in today’s 10-5 win over the Red Sox. Right fielder Bryce Harper’s double and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman’s triple put two quick runs on the board in the first. Red Sox starter Wade Miley wouldn’t make it out of the third inning. Shortstop Ian Desmond ignited a scoring burst with

Desmond, Moore homer as Nats top Red Sox 10-5

BOSTON - It’s been a fast start for the Nationals at Fenway Park this afternoon. Third baseman Yunel Escobar drew a leadoff walk against Red Sox starter Wade Miley. A groundout from stortstop Ian Desmond and a lineout from designated hitter Jayson Werth advanced Escobar to third. Escobar was able to score easily when right fielder Bryce Harper hit a rocket off the center field

Williams reacts to good news on Span and bad news on Stammen

BOSTON - Nationals manager Matt Williams said right-hander Craig Stammen will undergo a MRI on his right forearm after experiencing stiffness that landed him on the 15-day disabled list. “I won’t know anything until we talk to the doctor and take some pictures of it,” said Williams. “He never lets us know that anything is wrong with him because he is always feeling good. When

Craig Stammen heads to DL with right forearm stiffness, Taylor Jordan recalled

BOSTON - The bad news is relentless for the Nationals these days. The team announced this morning that right forearm stiffness is sending right-hander Craig Stammen to the 15-day disabled list. Stammen has yet to allow a run in five appearances out of the bullpen this season. The 31-year-old has surrendered two hits and three walks to go with three strikeouts in four innings. The

Williams continues to experiment with lineup (it’s Jackie Robinson Day)

BOSTON - For the second straight day, Nationals manager Matt Williams has shuffled his lineup card to try and avoid a sweep at the hands of the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Shortstop Ian Desmond moves up to the two-hole after a 3-for-4 night that included a double and two RBIs. Jayson Werth will be the designated hitter and bat third today after hitting cleanup

Ryan Zimmerman isn’t worried about Nats’ slow start

BOSTON - After watching his team blow a three-run lead, Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman came a few feet away from tying it back up when he yanked a fastball off Red Sox closer Koji Uehara that sailed past the wrong side of Fenway Park’s famous left field foul pole. “I thought it was going to be way, way foul when I first hit it,

Recipe for disaster

BOSTON - For the second straight night, Nationals manager Matt Williams watched as multiple defensive miscues forced a loss to the Red Sox. The Nats committed three errors and hit two batters in the seventh inning alone, which gave Boston three runs and the lead without even connecting on a single base hit. The Nats went on to lose 8-7. “Same recipe,” Williams said. “If

Fenway follies continue for Nats (Red Sox win 8-7)

BOSTON - The Nationals jumped out in front in the second when center fielder Michael A. Taylor delivered a two-out single, scoring second baseman Danny Espinosa. It was Taylor’s team-leading fourth RBI. The Red Sox came right back in their half of the inning. A pair of singles from first baseman Mike Napoli and shortstop Brock Holt eventually paid off when center fielder Mookie Betts

Williams explains lineup changes, talks plan for Span

BOSTON - With the Nationals sitting dead last in the majors in team batting average at .185, manager Matt Williams has decided to make some changes in his lineup. Third baseman Yunel Escobar has been one of the offensive bright spots, going 8-for-27 (.296) through the first seven games. Williams has decided to move Escboar into the leadoff spot, followed by left fielder Jayson Werth,

Williams looks for spark from Escobar in leadoff spot (with roster move and lineups)

BOSTON - Nationals manager Matt Williams has shaken up the lineup for the first time this year. Third baseman Yunel Escobar brings his team-leading eight hits and .367 OBP to the leadoff spot. Center fielder Michael A. Taylor, the team’s leadoff hitter for the first seven games, has six strikeouts the last two days and 11 in just 29 at-bats this season. Williams dropped Taylor

No panic for Werth after loss in return

BOSTON - Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth was 0-for-3 with a strikeout in his first game of the season after missing most of spring training while recovering from right shoulder surgery. “I was trying to think of historically on opening day how I fare,” Werth said. “I might have to look it up, but this is kind of standard opening day for me. Usually my

Defensively challenged Nats can’t execute under pressure

BOSTON - In the last 103 years, plenty of Hall of Fame managers have sat in the same office in the bowels of historic Fenway Park having just watched the Red Sox defeat their team. Few couldn’t have been as frustrated as Nationals manager Matt Williams was after seeing his ballclub fall 9-4 in the fashion they did in Boston’s home opener. “About as bad

Horrendous defense leads to early exit for Zimmermann (Red Sox win 9-4)

BOSTON - The pageantry of opening day at Fenway Park included New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick and owner Bob Kraft entering the field through the Green Monster each carrying a Lombardi Trophy hoisted above their shoulders. Moments later, Brady would skip the ceremonial first pitch to Red Sox star David Ortiz. The game began with Nationals center fielder Michael A.

Bryce Harper excited to have Jayson Werth back for special day at Fenway

BOSTON - It’s safe to say Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper is feeling good about friend and teammate Jayson Werth returning to start in left field at Fenway Park today. “Definitely, we’re excited about it. I am,” said Harper. “Being able to have him back in the lineup is gonna help us hugely. I’m very excited - I think we all are - to get

Werth hitting cleanup in return to Nationals

BOSTON - Left fielder Jayson Werth will hit cleanup in his return to the Nationals. Manager Matt Williams slotted Werth, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list this morning, into the fourth spot in the lineup for today’s afternoon game at Fenway Park against the Red Sox. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who has hit cleanup in each of the Nationals’ previous six games this

Werth’s return gives Williams options in the lineup

BOSTON - Jayson Werth has been reinstated from the 15-day disabled list and is expected to be in uniform and in left field when the Nationals play in the season’s first game at Fenway Park later this afternoon. Werth rejoined his team in Philadelphia last night in time for a disco ball celebration in the team clubhouse after the Nats’ second win. He had been

Ryan Zimmerman shines across the diamond

BOSTON - For a fraction of a second late yesterday afternoon, it appeared like the Nationals would blow a two-run 10th-inning lead. The Phillies had men at first and second with two outs and one run having already crossed the plate. Cesar Hernandez hit a sharp ground ball that surely looked to be heading to right field until Nats first baseman Ryan Zimmerman dove to

Scherzer “as advertised” in second dominant start

PHILADELPHIA - It would be hard to ask for much more than what right-hander Max Scherzer has given the Nationals through his first two starts this season. Even without his A-game today, Scherzer held the Phillies to one run on six hits, with two walks and eight strikeouts, over six innings in today’s 4-3 victory. “My fastball command was kind of inconsistent today, but I

Werth rejoins Nats and will travel to Boston, plus positive news on Span and Rendon

PHILADELPHIA - Outfielder Jayson Werth returned to the Nationals clubhouse Sunday after completing a three-game rehab stint at Single-A Potomac. Nats manager Matt Williams confirmed that Werth will travel with the team to Boston tonight but was not ready to say whether he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow at Fenway Park. “Well, we’ll see,” said Williams. “We’ll see how he wakes up tomorrow. Today he’s

Escobar, Robinson help Nats avoid sweep (Nats win 4-3 in 10)

PHILADELPHIA - Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper hit an opposite-field rocket off Phillies starter Sean O’Sullivan in the first that just cleared the wall in left. The solo homer is Harper’s second of the season. The Nats have now hit three homers in the first inning through six games this season. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman and center fielder Michael A. Taylor are the others to

Max Scherzer aims to stop Nats losing streak (with lineups)

PHILADELPHIA - Right-hander Max Scherzer heads to the mound this afternoon to try to stop the Nationals’ three-game losing streak. Despite taking the hard-luck loss in his outing on opening day, Scherzer was brilliant, pitching 7 2/3 innings and allowing three unearned runs on just four hits, with two walks and eight strikeouts. Lefty Clint Robinson gets his second start of the season in left

Not to confuse you, but Danny Espinosa switches back

PHILADELPHIA - It appears that infielder Danny Espinosa is returning to switch-hitting. Espinosa’s first two at-bats of the season resulted in groundball outs from the right side of the plate against Phillies lefty Cole Hamels. But when Espinosa’s turn came to lead off the eighth against right-hander Jeanmar Gomez, he stepped into the left side of the batter’s box. The debate over whether Espinosa should

Struggling offense, bullpen problems lead to three-game losing streak

PHILADELPHIA - For the third time in the first five games, the Nationals blew a lead and it cost them the game, as they fell 3-2 in 10 innings to the Phillies on Saturday night. Clinging to a 2-0 lead, Nationals manager Matt Williams called on right-hander Blake Treinen to start the eighth inning. The Phillies banged four straight hits off Treinen that led to

Phillies walk off Nationals for 3-2 win in 10 innings

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals put back-to-back runners on base in the first inning when third baseman Yunel Escobar singled and right fielder Bryce Harper walked with one out. But Phillies starter Cole Hamels was able to get first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and catcher Wilson Ramos Ramos to ground out, leaving the Nats with yet another scoring opportunity squandered. The Nats have had runners on base

Williams says Werth could return Monday

PHILADELPHIA - Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth played both games of a doubleheader for Single-A Potomac this afternoon. The 35-year-old was 1-for-4 with a home run, a strikeout and two walks over the two seven-inning contests. He played left in the first game and served as the designated hitter in the second. Werth is eligible to come off the disabled list today and has maintained

Williams gives Espinosa, Johnson first starts (with lineups)

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals send tall righty Doug Fister to the mound tonight to try to stop a two-game losing streak. Fister is coming off a questionable spring training, where he allowed an uncharacteristic seven homers en route to a 5.96 ERA in 22 2/3 innings. The Phillies will counter with three-time All-Star Cole Hamels. He took the loss on opening day allowing four runs

Matt Williams on Danny Espinosa, Nats bench

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals are just four games into the season and already there are concerns about the team’s inability to score runs. They’ve only managed to cross the plate seven times in the first four contests after scoring just nine runs in the 45 innings played in last October’s National League Division Series. Nationals manager Matt Williams has undoubtedly been forced to experiment with

Struggling offense to blame for early-season woes

PHILADELPHIA - Nats starter Gio Gonzalez was cruising through six scoreless innings when he suddenly lost his command with one out in the seventh. Back-to-back walks and a hit batter loaded the bases and forced Nationals manager Matt Williams to the mound to end Gonzalez’s night. Williams seemed baffled after the game at how quickly the storyline changed for Gonzalez. “I don’t know,” said Williams.

Walks, hit batters create problems for Gonzalez, Nats (Phillies win 4-1)

PHILADELPHIA - Center fielder Michael A. Taylor wasted no time putting the Nationals on the scoreboard with a leadoff homer against Phillies starter Jerome Williams. It’s Taylor’s first bomb of the year, coming off a spring where he led the Nats in home runs with four, two of which came to start games. Taylor’s homer lifts his early average to .357 with a double and

Williams on Werth’s potential return with updates on Span and Rendon

PHILADELPHIA - Left fielder Jayson Werth was 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a walk in his first minor league rehab assignment. He played seven innings for Single-A Potomac last night and is planning to ramp it up to nine tonight, weather permitting. Nationals manager Matt Williams said Potomac will play a doubleheader tomorrow if rain cancels tonight’s contest and Werth would play the first game

A healthy Gio Gonzalez gets his first shot (with lineups)

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals send lefty Gio Gonzalez to the hill in tonight’s series opener against the Phillies. Gonzalez was sharp throughout the spring, allowing just six runs in 19 1/3 innings, with 19 strikeouts. He appears to be fully recovered from the left shoulder soreness which bothered him for much of last year. For the Nationals: CF Michael A. Taylor 3B Yunel Escobar RF

More on Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond and Tanner Roark’s role

It was a tough matinee for right fielder Bryce Harper in the series finale yesterday. A day after being praised for his patience at the plate, Harper fanned three straight times with wild cuts at Mets starter Matt Harvey’s high heat. “He swung at some balls out of the strike zone,” said Nationals manager Matt Williams. “The strikeouts were balls up in the zone. With

Miscues, lack of offense haunt Nats in season’s first series

The Nationals were overwhelmed by Mets starter Matt Harvey in today’s 6-3 loss. Pitching for the first time in a regular season game since Tommy John surgery in October 2013, Harvey struck out half the batters he faced. Nats right fielder Bryce Harper was a victim three times while violently hacking at 97 mph fastballs high and away in each at-bat for third strikes. “He’s

Harvey steals spotlight in matchup with Strasburg (Mets win 6-3)

For the third time in this series, an error by Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond has led to runs for the Mets. With one out in the third and Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson on first base, third baseman David Wright hit a tailor-made double play grounder right at Desmond. He misplayed the hop and by the time he was able to gather and throw to

Strasburg vs. Harvey is league’s marquee pitching matchup today (with lineups)

Buckle up for the marquee pitching matchup today at Nationals Park between two power pitchers that can pump it in there in the mid-to-high 90s. Nationals manager Matt Williams sends right-hander Stephen Strasburg to the mound, while Mets manager Terry Collins trots fireballer Matt Harvey to the hill for his first start regular season start since Tommy John surgery. “High-powered arms that have come back

Bryce Harper’s impact is felt early

It’s been an active beginning to the early season for Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper. The 22-year-old added two more hits last night, and is now 4-for-7 with a home run and an RBI through two games. “I feel good up there,” said Harper. “I just want to stay in that same zone. Just in that same feeling, not get too quick, try to have

Zimmerman and Zimmermann provide Nats security in 2-1 win

A two-run homer from first baseman Ryan Zimmerman in the first turned out to be all the offense Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann would get and need in a 2-1 victory over the Mets in the second game of the season-opening three-game series. Zimmermann ran into some trouble in the second when the Mets strung together three consecutive singles, leading to their only run. He altered

Ryan Zimmerman goes yard, Nats win 2-1

After a 56-minute rain delay, Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann took the mound and promptly struck out Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson to start the game. Zimmermann would make quick work of the Mets in the first on a cold, dreary night at Nats Park. For the second straight game, the Nats put a runner on base in the first inning against the Mets. This time

Werth nearing return, while Span heads back to Florida (game starts after delay)

Left fielder Jayson Werth is closing in on a return to the Nationals after recovering from right shoulder surgery, which took place in January. Manager Matt Williams brought over a right-hander and a left-hander from Single-A Potomac to throw five innings of simulated at-bats for Werth and center fielder Denard Span the past two days at Nationals Park. “It’s not like playing in a game,

Zimmermann begins contract year in superb pitching matchup (with lineups)

Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann returns to the mound at Nationals Park for the first time since last year’s spectacular performance - but disappointing result - in the second game of the National League Division Series. Tonight’s start against the Mets could be his last season debut in a Nationals uniform, as he’s in the final year in his contract. It doesn’t get any easier for the

“Dynamic” Taylor featured in leading role early

Nationals center fielder Michael A. Taylor was in a pressure-packed situation late Monday afternoon. Not only was the 23-year-old starting in his first opening day game of his major league career, but manager Matt Williams had him placed at the top of the order. “I was really excited,” said Taylor. “I wasn’t too nervous. I felt pretty comfortable out there. It was exciting. The stadium

Nationals offense still wasting stellar pitching

Most of the sold out crowd at Nationals Park yesterday must have thought they were experiencing déjà vu. Though the stakes were nowhere near as high, the results were eerily similar to last year’s National League Division Series. In fact you could have just cut and pasted a headline from last year’s playoffs atop the opening day story: Nats pitching dazzles, while bats remain dormant.

Errors undo Scherzer’s spectacular debut

Whispers began traveling throughout the ballpark of the possibility for history in the making as Nationals starter Max Scherzer secured his second out in the sixth inning with the scoreboard still reading zero in the hit column for the Mets. With the Nats clinging to a 1-0 lead, Scherzer surrendered his second walk of the day to Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson, the only two

Desmond’s errors cost Scherzer lead (Nats fall 3-1)

Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer is breezing through his first opening day start of his career. The only blemish is a leadoff walk to Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson to start the game. Otherwise, Scherzer has been unhittable, pitching five scoreless innings with five strikeouts. Right fielder Bryce Harper reintroduced himself to Mets starter Bartolo Colon with a monstrous solo blast to deep right-center field to

2018 All-Star Game is coming to Nationals Park

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced a short time ago that Nationals Park will host the 2018 All-Star Game. “I am pleased the Nationals will have the opportunity to host the Midsummer Classic for the first time since Major League Baseball returned to the nation’s capital in 2005,” Manfred said in a statement. “The best sporting event of the summer, which will be held

Bryce Harper is stoked for 2015 campaign

We all know Bryce Harper is bold and brash, as deadly with his words as he is with the bat when he’s on one of his hot streaks at the plate. That’s not exactly news. But Harper can also be incredibly reflective and thoughtful, as this morning’s pre-opening day post on his Instagram account proves. Think the 22-year-old isn’t stoked for the start of another

Scherzer, Taylor playing prominent roles on opening day (with lineups)

Nationals manager Matt Williams sends new ace Max Scherzer to the mound today to set the tone against the New York Mets. It will be the former American League Cy Young Award winner’s first opening day start. “I mean, this is fun,” said Scherzer. “I can’t wait for the season to start. Spring training’s so long for us. It’s very monotonous for us. So for

2015 Nats prediction: Block off Constitution Avenue

The Nationals have finally reached the end - and yet just the beginning. Six weeks ago, it started with some of the game’s elite pitchers reporting to the same clubhouse in Space Coast Stadium. You could probably say the hype machine officially commenced in mid-January when the Nats stunned the baseball world by signing right-hander Max Scherzer. But it was really the first day of

Nationals announce opening day roster

The Nationals have established their plan of attack for opening day 2015. General manager Mike Rizzo confirmed the only remaining question marks when he announced the 25-man roster. Left-hander Xavier Cedeno made the team as a second southpaw out of the bullpen alongside Matt Thornton. And 35-year-old Dan Uggla, considered a longshot at the start of spring training, has secured a spot and might be

Manfred expected to announce 2018 All-Star Game at Nats Park

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to announce Monday that Washington, D.C., will host the 2018 All-Star Game, according to multiple reports. Manfred will be at Nats Park to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Nationals’ opening day contest with the Mets tomorrow. Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field, New York’s Yankee Stadium, Philadelphia’s Citizen Bank Park and Nats Park are the only

Danny Espinosa and divine intervention

On this holiest of weekends, Monsignor Stephen Rossetti walked into the Nationals dugout before yesterday’s game to offer blessings as the team prepares to embark on a season filled with expectations higher than the clouds. Several Nats players were just steps away, participating in pregame stretching when they began to switch their attention to Rossetti, who was dressed in long, white vestments. Rossetti began sprinkling

Robinson makes 25-man roster; Carp, Hill reassigned to minor league camp

First baseman/outfielder Clint Robinson has made the Nationals’ 25-man roster. But there are still decisions to he made before the team announces its roster for Monday’s opening day game against the Mets. The deadline to set the roster is 3 p.m. Sunday. After a 4-3 loss to the Mets in the final exhibition game Saturday afternoon, the Nationals reassigned outfielder/first baseman Mike Carp and left-hander

Fister, Storen surrender homers in 4-3 loss to Yankees

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Yankees 4, Nationals 3 Recap: A pair of two-run homers from the Yankees did in the Nats in the final exhibition game of the spring. Right-hander Doug Fister gave up one of the homers to Yankees second baseman Stephen Drew in the fifth and closer Drew Storen surrendered the other in to outfielder Chris Young the eighth. The Nats got all

Denard Span will play in a minor league game today

Nationals manager Matt Williams liked what he saw yesterday as he leaned on the back of the cage at Steinbrenner Field and watched center fielder Denard Span participate in a full batting practice session. Today, Span will see his first live action since March 9 core muscle surgery when he plays in a minor league game in Viera, Fla. “He felt good,” Williams said of

Yankees-Nationals lineups for final exhibition game

The Grapefruit League of the Nationals’ schedule is done, and Space Coast Stadium is in their rear view mirror. Today at 1 p.m. on MASN, the Nationals host the Yankees in the final exhibition game of the spring. The grounds crew is putting the finishing touches on the beautiful, new turf at Nats Park as I type, and a group of red-clad pitchers are stretching

Williams dealing with his own final four

The countdown has been going on for several weeks, but we now sit on the doorstep of opening day. Nationals manager Matt Williams has one last bit of business to take care of before his ballclub takes the field against the Mets on Monday. Williams is currently staring at 27 healthy players (14 position players, 13 pitchers). That number needs to be paired down to

Williams ready to go after “interesting spring”

TAMPA - Right-hander Stephen Strasburg turned in his best spring start in today’s 8-2 win over the Yankees in the Nationals’ final Grapefruit League game. Strasburg limited the Yankees to just one run on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. “It’s just progress,” said Strasburg. “I think I felt good a couple starts ago and then I twisted my

Bryce Harper triples, Mike Carp homers (Nats win 8-2)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nationals 8, Yankees 2 Recap: Right fielder Bryce Harper got the Nats started early with a RBI triple off Yankees starter CC Sabathia. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman and shortstop Ian Desmond pushed runs across the plate with a single and double, respectively, to give the Nats a three-run first inning. First baseman Mike Carp popped a three-run homer in the seventh,

Strasburg facing Sabathia in final Grapefruit League game (with lineups)

TAMPA - Nationals manager Matt Williams indicated on Wednesday that today’s lineup would be his regulars. If so, that would mean that Danny Espinosa would be the team’s starting second baseman on opening day. Espinosa has spent the entire spring transitioning from a switch-hitter to exclusively batting from the right side of the plate. He was only 7-for-51 (.137) in the exhibition season, but Williams

Nats have fielding concerns as opening day nears

TAMPA - Spring training statistics are fairly ridiculous to dissect given the amount of minor leaguers that participate and the inconsistent lineups. But one category the Nationals didn’t want to lead during the exhibition season was errors committed. Their 34 errors are tied with the Giants for the most this spring, although the Nats have reached their total in three fewer games. Ironically, the two

Down to the wire for Clint Robinson

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals have three days remaining before Sunday’s deadline to trim their roster to 25 for opening day. Clint Robinson is in a place he’s not familiar with. The 30-year-old has never made it this far in spring training with any big league club. Now he’s on the doorstep of breaking camp in the majors with a team projected to win the

Zimmermann not worried after rough start, Nats make roster moves in crunch time

JUPITER, Fla. - The Nationals were shut out for the second consecutive day, as the Marlins pounded starter Jordan Zimmermann right out of the gates en route to an 8-0 loss in the seventh and final meeting between the two clubs in Grapefruit League play. Marlins first baseman Michael Morse and right fielder Giancarlo Stanton both belted deep homers off Zimmermann, who allowed all eight

Morse, Stanton rock Zimmermann for early homers (Nats lose 8-0)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Marlins 8, Nationals 0 Recap: This one was over quickly. A three-run homer by former Nats slugger Michael Morse began a Marlins onslaught in the first against right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. In the second, Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich added a two-run triple and right fielder Giancarlo Stanton followed with a titanic two-run homer. All told, Zimmermann gave up eight runs, seven

Williams fields likely opening day lineup vs. Marlins today

JUPITER, Fla. - Aside from starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, it’s quite possible the Nationals are fielding their opening day lineup against the Marlins today at Roger Dean Stadium. Center fielder Michael A. Taylor certainly figured to be one to watch at the start of spring training, but the 23-year-old was thrust into the spotlight when Denard Span went down with core muscle surgery. Not only

Anthony Rendon to start the season on DL

JUPITER, Fla. - Nationals manager Matt Williams announced this morning that third baseman Anthony Rendon will begin the season on the disabled list. The news comes on the heels of Rendon’s trip to Vail, Colo., yesterday for a third opinion on his ailing left knee. Dr. Steven Singleton concurred with Dr. James Andrews on a sprained left MCL for Rendon, the same diagnosis originally made

Nationals release Frandsen, reassign Gwynn to minor league camp

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals made a pair of roster moves this morning, releasing veteran utility man Kevin Frandsen and reassigning outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to minor league camp. The 32-year-old Frandsen was signed as a free agent last March 26, a day after he was released by the Phillies, and hit .259 with a homer and 17 RBIs in his lone season with the

New Nats den Dekker and Johnson have connections all over

VIERA, Fla. - Tuesday stood to be an awkward day for new Nationals outfielder Matt den Dekker. Less than 24 hours after the Mets traded him to the Nats, he would be suiting up in Space Coast Stadium to play against his former team. “It’s a little strange,” admitted den Dekker. It helped den Dekker to see some familiar faces when he showed up in

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