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Taylor’s leaping catch highlights otherwise sleepy Nats loss

JUPITER, Fla. - On a day when hits were scarce and runs were even scarcer, the most attention-grabbing moment of the Nationals’ 3-1 loss to the Marlins came via Michael A. Taylor’s legs and outstretched left arm. Retreating to the center field wall on Derek Dietrich’s third-inning drive, Taylor perfectly timed his leap and robbed the Marlins cleanup hitter of a likely home run. The

Harper scratched from lineup with ingrown toenail (Nats lose 3-1)

JUPITER, Fla. - Originally scheduled to play back-to-back days for the first time this spring, Bryce Harper wound up not being able to play today’s game at all. Harper was scratched from the lineup with an ingrown toenail, a seemingly insignificant ailment but one that has been a problem for the star outfielder before. Harper had to miss two games in May 2013 after suffering

Hump day: Martinez opens morning workout with live camels

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The daily Circle of Trust meeting began just any other. As players gathered around the Nationals logo at the center of their athletic turf field outside FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, bench coach Chip Hale went over the good and the bad from yesterday’s exhibition game, then detailed the plan for this morning’s workout. And then things got a

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Marlins in Jupiter (Harper scratched)

JUPITER, Fla. - Well, it’s been quite a morning already in Nationals camp. The day began with a surprise twist to the club’s morning “Circle of Trust” meeting: Coaches Bob Henley and Tim Bogar rode in on camels, yelling out “Hump Day!” and eventually making all the players walk through the tunnel they created to symbolize how the Nationals are trying to get over the

Adams sidelined, Zimmerman still waiting, Grace avoids injury

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - With Ryan Zimmerman being held back until the calendar at least reads March, Matt Adams was in position to get a bunch of playing time at first base early this spring. The offseason addition, though, was scratched from yesterday’s lineup and is expected to miss a couple more days with a blister that developed on his right foot. Adams reported

Durable as ever, Gonzalez starts seventh year in D.C. on right foot

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The good news: Gio Gonzalez looked a lot like his 2017 version in his first inning of 2018. The bad news: That meant the Nationals left-hander was pitching out of the stretch with runners on base, forced to battle his way out of a jam. At this point, the Nats know that’s simply what they’re going to get from Gonzalez,

Familiar results from pitchers vs. Marlins (Nats, Fish tie 2-2)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Gio Gonzalez pitched out of a jam. Sean Doolittle threw a ton of fastballs during a scoreless inning of relief. Brandon Kintzler struck out two of the four batters he faced. Change the setting from a lazy February afternoon in Florida to a warm July evening in Washington, and the early innings of today’s exhibition game would’ve looked very much

Eaton ready to go, but Nats waiting to put him in a game

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Adam Eaton participated fully in pregame workouts with the rest of the Nationals this morning. He did defensive drills in left field. He took batting practice, then live BP off a pitcher. He did everything his teammates did. So how come he hasn’t played in a game yet, nor is apparently on the verge of playing in a game the

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Marlins in West Palm Beach (updated)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - We haven’t seen a lot of the Nationals’ regulars during the first four games of the Grapefruit League season, but now we’re about to start getting more of them. Five regulars plus Howie Kendrick (who might as well be a regular) are in the lineup today against the Marlins. That includes Trea Turner (leading off), Matt Wieters (batting second!), Bryce

Too soon to worry about baserunning mistakes?

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Davey Martinez wants his guys to be aggressive on the bases, especially in spring training when the stakes aren’t high. But the Nationals have already run themselves into eight outs on the bases in their first four Grapefruit League games. Isn’t that at least some cause for concern? “That’s OK. That’s OK,” Martinez insisted yesterday following a 2-1 loss to

Healthy again, Fedde better prepared for his next promotion

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The pitching line - one run, four hits, one walk, one strikeout in two innings - made this, in Erick Fedde’s own words, a “pretty mediocre outing.” The more important numbers from Fedde’s spring training debut, though, might have been 93 to 96. That’s what the radar gun at ESPN Wide World of Sports consistently flashed on the Nationals right-hander’s

Robles making an early case, Fedde throwing harder (Nats lose 2-1)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Victor Robles has played in all four games of the spring so far for the Nationals, and he’s done something that made you pause and watch in all four games, further emphasizing his potential star power for this franchise. Starting in center field and batting second today against the Braves, Robles has been up to his old tricks. He singled

Roark to start on three days’ rest as Nats shuffle rotation

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - As they start to line up the members of their rotation for the regular season, the Nationals are left to juggle a few assignments during this early portion of the exhibition slate. Thus, Tanner Roark (who made his spring debut Saturday against the Marlins in Jupiter) will be back on the mound Wednesday against the Marlins in Jupiter, despite pitching

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Braves in Lake Buena Vista

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - And a very pleasant good morning to you from the (self-proclaimed) happiest place on earth. The Nationals used to make a bunch of trips to Disney to play the Braves. Now that they’ve relocated to West Palm Beach, they’re only making the 2 1/2-hour drive up here twice this spring (today and Thursday). And given how long that trip is,

At plate and on bases, new-look Wieters shows off

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - For nearly two weeks, we’ve heard Nationals catcher Matt Wieters talk about how much better he feels than he did last season. We’ve heard Davey Martinez talk about how good Wieters looks. And we’ve heard Kevin Long rave about the changes Wieters has made to his swing. Which is all nice, except that it was all idle chatter until Wieters

Scherzer strong, Kelley healthy in first outings of spring

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Given how much he has been throwing already this spring - including the 60-pitch bullpen session on the first day of camp - a nice, simple, 23-pitch outing today against the Braves must’ve felt like a breeze to Max Scherzer. Right? “No,” the Nationals ace said with a laugh. “It’s amazing, once you put a real game out there and

Eventful start to spring home opener (Nats win 9-3)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Max Scherzer was sharp in his spring debut (except for one pitch). Matt Wieters showed off his new hitting stroke (and his faster wheels). And Shawn Kelley had to be absolutely thrilled with his first appearance since a disastrous 2017. The Nationals’ home opener at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is off to an eventful start, headlined by Scherzer’s

Martinez wants Turner to keep running, even in front of Harper

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Given his association with analytics, it’s easy to assume Davey Martinez isn’t a big proponent of the stolen base. The Cubs stole only 62 bases last season, fourth-fewest in the National League. Then again, the Cubs didn’t have Trea Turner. Which changes the whole ballgame. Over his last 162 big league games, Turner has swiped 76 bases. Martinez isn’t about

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Braves in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The sun is shining, Max Scherzer is on the mound for the Nationals, most of the regulars are in the lineup, and MASN’s Bob Carpenter, F.P. Santangelo and Dan Kolko are in the house. What more could you ask for? Well, there’s one more thing you thought you were getting today but actually aren’t. Ryan Zimmerman was initially listed as

No lineup hints from Martinez just yet

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It was among the most heavily debated subjects of the 2017 season in Washington: Where should Anthony Rendon bat in the Nationals lineup? And it drew a rise out of everyone who had an opinion, from those who agreed with Dusty Baker’s tendency to bat Rendon sixth to those who insisted the multi-talented third baseman should bat second. So you

Simplifying windup and timing, Roark hopes for better results

JUPITER, Fla. - In his quest to correct what ailed him in 2017 and recapture the form that made him one of baseball’s most effective starters prior to that, Tanner Roark has a simple plan: Simplify. Simplify his mechanics. Simplify his timing. Simplify his windup. And simplify his thought process when he’s on the mound. “I was just in my head, just thinking too much,”

Workmanlike start from Roark in spring debut (Nats lose 3-2)

JUPITER, Fla. - In his spring debut for 2018, Tanner Roark flashed some of what made him one of the majors’ most effective starters in 2014 and 2016 but left him a frustrated pitcher in 2017: Well-located two-seam fastballs. Roark used that bread-and-butter pitch this afternoon to strike out the side in the bottom of the second against the Marlins, capping an efficient performance in

Nats take BP at home before road game, Raburn out again

JUPITER, Fla. - The Nationals had plenty of reasons to want to relocate their spring training headquarters from remote Viera to the more centrally located West Palm Beach, but here’s another one: the chance to take batting practice at home before a road game in Jupiter. That’s what the Nats did today, keeping everyone back at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches for a full

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Marlins in Jupiter

JUPITER, Fla. - A very pleasant good morning to you from Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, spring home of the Marlins and Cardinals and playing host today to the Nationals for the first of seven road games this spring. It’s only a 15-minute drive from West Palm Beach, and because of that the Nats are trying something new this year: They’re staying back to take batting

For Kendrick, decision to return to D.C. was “easy”

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - There are certain points in a ballplayer’s career when priorities change. Early on, he simply wants to establish himself as big league regular. Then it’s about cashing in and setting himself and his family up financially for life. And then, once all the rest has been accomplished, comes the final priority for a veteran who has enjoyed personal success but

Martinez’s dugout debut “just another spring training game”

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - His position along the first base line, with 70-some others in Nationals uniforms standing to his right and only home plate to his left, was unfamiliar. Davey Martinez had never stood at the head of the line for a national anthem before, and this was a particularly poignant anthem, with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior Angelique Meneses singing “The

Milone sets tone with solid spring debut (Nats lose 3-2)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Tommy Milone would need a lot of things - bad things, from the Nationals’ perspective - to happen to find his way into the opening day rotation. But a few more outings like he offered up today and the journeyman left-hander, if nothing else, will have made a strong impression on the club’s decision-makers, which could pay off down the

Eaton not playing yet, Rizzo not looking for starter

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If he had his way, Adam Eaton would have been playing in games weeks ago. There weren’t any games to play weeks ago, of course, so today’s Grapefruit League opener was the first opportunity for the Nationals left fielder to make his return from a torn ACL. That return isn’t happening quite yet, though. Eaton (like all of his lineup

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Astros in West Palm Beach (updated)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - No, it doesn’t count. No, it won’t feature many recognizable names. But you know what? It’s still a baseball game and it’s going to be played today. Yes, the Grapefruit League has arrived, and not a moment too soon for fans who have patiently waited since October for the Nationals to take the field once again. Today’s exhibition opener will

Final workout features sliding, roof shots and old-school hip-hop

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The final day of workouts of spring training featured the familiar (music on the field, pitchers throwing in the bullpen, hitters taking batting practice) and the unfamiliar (sliding practice, Bob Henley showing off his knowledge of old-school hip-hop). We’ll get to that last eye-opener in a moment. With teams dealing with a compressed window for getting all workouts in before

Don’t expect to see regulars in early spring games (updated)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Though the exhibition season is about to get underway, there are still five weeks to go until opening day. So don’t be surprised when you see the Nationals lineup for Friday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Astros and don’t find many prominent names. “We’re trying to see all our young guys early,” manager Davey Martinez said. “I wouldn’t read into

Rendon keeps it simple and keeps producing for Nats

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Anthony Rendon isn’t one to analyze ... well, much of anything. Maybe he’ll break down his beloved Houston Rockets’ chances of unseating the Golden State Warriors in the NBA’s Western Conference, or offer a slight glimpse into his rationale for cutting his once-flowing locks of hair. But he’s not about to get into a deep conversation about the state of

Scherzer uses live BP session vs. Harper for instant feedback

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - With such a short timeframe between reporting day and the open of Grapefruit League play, the Nationals are trying to squeeze a lot into only a few full-squad workouts. Position players have only officially been in camp for two days but already they’ve done the kind of baserunning drills typically reserved for later in spring and held two days’ worth

Contract official, Benoit tries to fit right in with Nats bullpen

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Joaquín Benoit has played for good teams and bad teams. He has appeared in 20 postseason games (three of those in the World Series) and he’s played out the string in September for clubs that were going nowhere. Now 40, with far fewer days ahead of him than behind him, Benoit’s priorities have changed. When looking for a job this

Nats hitters excited to jump aboard Long’s launch angle train

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It takes less than three minutes listening to Kevin Long talk about hitting to fully understand this guy is operating on a different level from mere mortals. Want to know what the batting average on all ground balls put into play is? Long knows (.220). Want to know the average distance from the side of the rubber that a right-hander

Observations from Tuesday’s full-squad workout

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - So much for those quick, streamlined pitchers and catchers workouts. With position players joining them on the fields today, the Nationals experienced their longest session of the spring, by far. Though technically a voluntary workout - the first official full-squad day is Wednesday - every healthy member of the roster participated this morning (and afternoon). Everyone gathered on the agility

Murphy’s rehab from knee surgery slow but steady

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - As every other position player on the Nationals roster took the field for the first time as a team this morning, Daniel Murphy could only watch. Though the veteran second baseman, still rehabbing from late-October knee surgery, has begun some baseball activities, they are admittedly limited. “I started doing some knee drills,” Murphy said. “Played a little bit of catch.

All but one player in camp, Nats ready for full-squad workouts

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Position players reported to camp Monday, and though we haven’t seen the entire squad on the field together quite yet, it does feel like spring training has finally begun in earnest. The vast majority of Nationals position players had already reported early, some by multiple weeks, so there were only a handful left to check in Monday (the official reporting

Nationals add veteran Benoit to address bullpen depth issue

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - In need of more right-handed bullpen depth to account for Koda Glover’s latest shoulder injury, the Nationals have agreed to terms with veteran Joaquín Benoit on a one-year, $1 million contract, according to a source familiar with the deal. The signing hasn’t been announced yet, but Benoit was at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches today and already had a

Harper tries to keep focus on winning in 2018, not free agency

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Bryce Harper didn’t even wait for the question to be asked. He wanted to make this clear before any reporters assembled for his first media session of the spring could press him on it. “Just want to let you guys know I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all,” he said. “I’m focused on this year.

Glover on shoulder soreness: “I’m not worried. I’ll be fine.”

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Though he’s dealing with discomfort similar to the ailment that sidelined him for much of the 2017 season, Koda Glover insists he’s not worried about the long-term state of his shoulder. “No,” the young reliever said during a brief session this morning with reporters in the Nationals clubhouse. “Do I look worried? I’m not worried. I’ll be fine. I’m fine.”

Lilliquist trying to fine-tune, not overhaul, Nats pitching staff

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Every pitching coach has his own philosophies, his own advice for those who take the mound under his watch. And when a new coach takes over a club, he typically wants to start imparting his wisdom on his pitchers right from the get-go. Derek Lilliquist, though, didn’t inherit any old pitching staff. He arrived here earlier this month to a

Shoulder soreness preventing Glover from throwing in camp

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Koda Glover’s attempt to make the opening day roster after an injury-plagued 2017 season has already hit a snag. Glover has not thrown since reporting to Nationals camp, informing club officials when he arrived that he had been experiencing shoulder soreness following the bullpen sessions he was throwing on his own at home this winter. The Nationals had Glover undergo

Don’t look for quick hooks from Martinez

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Since the day he was hired, we’ve all wondered what kind of manager Davey Martinez would be, especially when it comes to in-game strategy. Having had no prior managerial experience, there’s no advance scouting report to consider, only speculation based on his answers to various questions posed his way. We got a few glimpses into Martinez’s strategic mindset over the

Ross throwing again, targeting late summer return to Nats

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - He won’t be ready to open the year with the Nationals, but Joe Ross has every intention of being a significant contributor to the pitching staff later this season. “That’s in my head, for sure,” he said. “My arm will dictate that. But that’s how I feel, and I’m looking forward to helping the team in the second half.” Ross,

Secure in closer’s role, Doolittle now trying to add to his arsenal

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Sean Doolittle will be the Nationals closer to open the season. That declaration, made this afternoon by new manager Davey Martinez, did not constitute earth-shattering news. Given the way Doolittle performed late last season, and given the current makeup of the Nats bullpen, that was a foregone conclusion. The more notable development this season for Doolittle would involve not when

Pitchers ahead of the curve, position players reporting early

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Davey Martinez is serious about keeping his workouts short and efficient. Today’s session outside The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the second official pitchers and catchers workout, wrapped up in 90 minutes once again. Players were already back in the clubhouse well before the South Florida sun reached its peak. Don’t confuse short workouts with lazy workouts, though. Players went

Nats, Astros strike naming rights deal for spring ballpark

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals’ spring training stadium, barely a year old, is already getting a new name. The Nationals and Astros are planning to announce next week a naming rights deal for The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches with FITTEAM, a local “healthy lifestyle company,” sources familiar with the decision confirmed. The new name for the stadium: FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm

Kelley healthy again and hoping to return to 2016 form

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Ask Shawn Kelley about 2017 and the veteran reliever will talk about how much he enjoyed watching his Nationals teammates play well but how frustrated he was personally to not have contributed much to that success. There were injuries to his neck, back and elbow, and there were some brutal appearances on the mound that led to a 7.27 ERA

Martinez offers a glimpse into his method on first workout day

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Davey Martinez walked into his first press conference of the spring, sat down in front of a microphone and addressed the room full of reporters. “I have to say, I’m tired,” he sighed. Tired? At 12:30 p.m.? On Day One of spring training? “Well, I’ve been here since 5:30,” he said. “I get up every day at 5. Can’t slow

Martinez: Cole has “upper hand” for No. 5 starter’s job

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals admittedly don’t have many jobs up for grabs this spring, a scenario few other clubs can appreciate, but the highest-profile competition this spring is of keen interest to Davey Martinez. With the top four slots in his rotation well established and locked in, Martinez needs only to decide who will serve as his No. 5 starter come April.

Montero glad to reunite with Rizzo, Martinez, Scherzer in D.C.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Miguel Montero had plenty of reasons to sign with the Nationals earlier this month. This was an offer to compete for playing time on an expected contender. He played for Davey Martinez the last three seasons in Chicago. He was signed by the Diamondbacks out of Venezuela by Mike Rizzo way back in 2001. He used to catch Max Scherzer

Nats “under the radar?” Strasburg thinks so

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg was asked yesterday how he feels the Nationals stack up to the rest of the National League as spring training camps open across Florida and Arizona. The right-hander’s response might catch you by surprise. “I think we’re under the radar a little bit,” he said. “There’s a lot of moves, a lot of changes, lot of new faces

Another Cy Young in hand, Scherzer pushing harder than ever

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Max Scherzer climbed upon the first mound at the near end of the 12-pack bullpen outside The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and began the mundane task of throwing pitches to catcher Miguel Montero. It’s the same task every pitcher in every camp around baseball participates in every spring. Nothing to see here, right? Except here was Scherzer, on the

With frustrating 2017 behind him, leaner Wieters tries to rebound

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - You can point to any number of reasons why the Nationals lost Game 5 of the National League Division Series to the Cubs, but any list of reasons is going to include Matt Wieters’ struggles behind the plate during a disastrous fifth inning that changed the course of that game. There was the ball squirting through Wieters’ legs on a

On uniform numbers, hairstyles and the “Circle of Trust”

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - As anticipated, yesterday was a light day at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Well, aside from the media horde that descended upon the other side of the complex, where the defending World Series champion Astros officially reported for work. On the Nationals side, pitchers and catchers wandered through the clubhouse, training areas and weight rooms. Some went out to

Eaton says opening day return is “easily attainable”

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Adam Eaton arrived in Florida, family in tow, on Jan. 19. There weren’t many others around The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches at that ridiculously early date. But when you’ve spent nine months rehabbing from a torn ACL and the entire winter cooped up inside your snowed-in Michigan home, there’s no reporting date that’s too early. “I needed the warm

Why Kintzler chose to set up in D.C. instead of closing elsewhere

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - On the heels of a 29-save season, an All-Star appearance and some high-profile outings in the Nationals bullpen from August through October, Brandon Kintzler figured he’d have plenty of suitors this winter, not to mention a contract commensurate with those signed by many other prominent relievers. In the end, perhaps suffering from advanced metrics that don’t love him as much

At long last, it’s reporting day in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It’s been a long, slow four months since Game 5 of the National League Division Series, and it only felt longer and slower because of the lack of baseball news - not only in Washington, but across the sport - during the strangest offseason in recent memory. But the long wait is over, and it’s OK to smile just a

Nats announce minor league invitees, 61 players in camp

Sixty-one players in total will report for spring training this week, 21 of them non-roster invitees including several with significant major league experience and several prospects from within their own organization, the Nationals announced today. With pitchers and catchers officially set to report Wednesday, the Nationals finally revealed the full spring roster, which still could expand given the plethora of prominent free agents who have

Spring training storylines: Is this last shot at winning it all?

The final countdown to spring training has arrived, so we’re spending the final days of the offseason counting down the Nationals’ top storylines of the spring. We conclude today with the underlying question not only of the spring but of the season: Is the window of opportunity for this franchise about to close at the end of 2018? We can talk about position battles, lineup

Nats acquire utilityman Matt Reynolds from Mets

The Nationals acquired utilityman Matt Reynolds from the Mets for cash considerations tonight, adding another versatile major leaguer to their mix of bench options this spring. Reynolds, 27, had been designated for assignment last week after New York signed free agent Todd Frazier. Reynolds will probably face long odds to make the Nationals’ opening day roster, but he has one remaining minor league option and

Spring training storylines: Are Eaton, Murphy fully healed?

The final countdown to spring training has arrived, so we’re spending the final days of the offseason counting down the Nationals’ top storylines of the spring. We continue today with the return of two key regulars from major knee surgeries ... One played the entire 2017 season, hobbled only at the very end by an injured knee that required surgery once the team was eliminated.

Spring training storylines: Free agent signings during camp?

The final countdown to spring training has arrived, so we’re spending the final days of the offseason counting down the Nationals’ top storylines of the spring. We continue today with the possibility of free agent signings even after camp has begun ... It’s not unusual for teams to sign players during spring training. It happens every year, with a handful of veterans still available and

Spring training storylines: Another new manager at the helm

The final countdown to spring training has arrived, so we’re spending the final days of the offseason counting down the Nationals’ top storylines of the spring. We continue today with the first camp run by new manager Dave Martinez ... When Nationals pitchers and catchers officially report to The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on Wednesday, they’ll walk down the hallway from the clubhouse, peek

Spring training storylines: Who’s the fifth starter?

The final countdown to spring training has arrived, so we’re spending the final days of the offseason counting down the Nationals’ top storylines of the spring. We begin today with the open competition for the fifth spot in the opening day rotation ... The Nationals have been a contender for six full seasons now, and throughout that time, they have maintained that status by employing

Nationals outfield, if healthy, loaded with talent and depth

As the start of spring training fast approaches, we’re breaking down the state of the Nationals roster, position by position. The series concludes today with the outfield ... Given the talent they had - not to mention three established starters to begin the season - it’s hard to believe the Nationals wound up using 14 different outfielders in 2017, the fourth-highest total in the majors.

Catching prospect Read suspended 80 games for PED violation

Raudy Read, who made his major league debut last season and now stands as one of the higher-rated Nationals prospects, has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for Boldenone, making the young catcher the franchise’s first big leaguer to face punishment for performance-enhancing drugs. Read, 24, confirmed he tested positive during “a routine drug test this winter,” but said he

Nats infield returns intact, but there are some questions

As the start of spring training fast approaches, we’re breaking down the state of the Nationals roster, position by position. The series continues today with the infield ... The Nationals return their entire starting infield from last season, and why wouldn’t they be excited about that? This quartet featured the first .300-30-100 hitter in club history, the runner-up for the league’s batting title, the league’s

Nats know they need better production from catchers in 2018

As the start of spring training fast approaches, we’re breaking down the state of the Nationals roster, position by position. The series continues today with the catching corps ... The Nationals knew they’d be undergoing a change at catcher in 2017 after Wilson Ramos departed via free agency, and they knew it would be difficult to make up for Ramos’ All-Star production. Little did they

Once a weakness, revamped ‘pen enters spring as strength

As the start of spring training fast approaches, we’re breaking down the state of the Nationals roster, position by position. The series continues today with the bullpen ... Undeniably the club’s biggest weakness through the first half of the 2017, the Nationals bullpen morphed into one of its true strengths by season’s end. For that, thank general manager Mike Rizzo, who acquired three key arms

Nationals rotation once again built to lead the way in 2018

As the start of spring training fast approaches, we’re breaking down the state of the Nationals roster, position by position. The series begins today with the starting rotation ... If asked to point to the one most significant reason for the Nationals’ sustained, six-year run of success, the answer is simple: a dominant rotation. In every one of those six seasons, the Nationals have ranked

Collusion charge is a stretch, but MLB is facing a real problem

It’s been the underlying story of the entire offseason throughout the baseball world, the lack of free agent signings. And yesterday the most controversial theory was put out there by a prominent agent, something many have wondered but few have publicly been willing to offer: collusion by all 30 clubs to keep spending down and increase their own profits. Brodie Van Wagenen, the co-head of

Better, worse or the same in 2018: Pitchers

It’s the new game that’s sweeping the nation! Well, maybe not quite, but it seemed to get positive reviews when it debuted yesterday. So we might as well go ahead and do Part 2 of “Better, Worse or the Same.” If you missed yesterday’s installment, we looked at each of the eight positions on the field (minus pitcher) and asked whether the Nationals likely would

Nats sign veteran Montero to compete for backup catching job

The Nationals will have another experienced catcher on their camp roster this spring. Just not either of the experienced catchers they have routinely been linked to all winter. The Nats have signed Miguel Montero to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp, electing to take a low-risk flyer on the former Diamondback, Cub and Blue Jay after watching Alex Avila sign

Better, worse or the same in 2018: Position players

Are the 2018 Nationals going to be better than the 2017 Nationals? Are they going to be worse? Are they going to be about the same? When you really boil things down to the basics, that’s what everyone is trying to figure out before the new season gets underway. Teams can improve or be diminished based on their offseason transactions, but change also is possible

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