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Eaton turns emotional after 5-for-5 day in front of family

CINCINNATI - Adam Eaton thought he had already experienced the emotional high point of his return from reconstructive knee surgery two weeks ago when he played in his first Grapefruit League game in West Palm Beach, homered and then motioned to his pregnant wife and young son in the stands. Little could the Nationals outfielder have known what still awaited him this afternoon at Great

Big blasts aplenty in Nationals’ 13-7 win over Reds

CINCINNATI - Matt Adams supplied the early power. Adam Eaton supplied the sustained offense all afternoon. Stephen Strasburg supplied another gem. And then Brian Goodwin supplied the biggest blast of all late to ensure the Nationals would open the season with back-to-back wins. Today’s 13-7 victory over the Reds featured a little bit of everything, with contributions aplenty. And thanks to that, the Nats are

Adams’ blast leads early offensive barrage (Nats win 13-7)

CINCINNATI - Matt Adams is making the most of his first start with the Nationals. Given a chance to bat cleanup on the second day of the season with Ryan Zimmerman on the bench, Adams launched a three-run homer into the far reaches of the right-center field bleachers at Great American Ball Park. That first-inning blast, which measured 460 feet, gave the Nationals an early

Why Adams and Goodwin are in today’s lineup

CINCINNATI - The sight of today’s lineup may have induced a sense of dread for more than a few Nationals fans who are curious why Ryan Zimmerman and Michael A. Taylor are sitting out the season’s second game. Manager Davey Martinez, though, insists he was planning to do this all along. Not as a reaction to anything Zimmerman or Taylor did on opening day but

Game 2 lineups: Nats at Reds

CINCINNATI - And we’re back. With the anticipation and hoopla of opening day behind them, the Nationals now begin the long grind this afternoon. It’s Game 2 of 162, and it’s a little bit of a quick turnaround with a 2:10 p.m. start here at Great American Ball Park. The Nationals send Stephen Strasburg to the mound for his first start of the season, his

Little things add up to produce Nats’ first two runs of season

CINCINNATI - The Nationals are going to score a lot of runs this season via big blasts and sustained rallies. There’s simply too much thunder in their lineup to believe otherwise. But sometimes you’ve got to manufacture a run or two to win a ballgame. And that’s what made Friday’s 2-0 opening day victory over the Reds particularly encouraging. The Nationals scored their runs by

Nats stick with the formula to give Martinez first managerial win

CINCINNATI - Davey Martinez wasn’t expecting it. His mind was still racing moments after his team had finished off a 2-0 opening victory over the Reds, the first of his managerial career. So he never saw it coming when Nationals players ambushed him in the clubhouse with a celebratory beer shower, the olfactory remnants of which were still evident 30 minutes later after Martinez had

Nationals grind out 2-0 opening day win in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI - The day began with Davey Martinez answering questions about his unconventional lineup decisions. The day ended with the Nationals’ new manager needing no explanation for sticking with the conventional bullpen order that closed out his team’s 2-0 victory over the Reds and made Max Scherzer a winner on opening day for the first time in three career tries. Scherzer dominated for six innings,

Murphy traveling with club while rehabbing (Nats win 2-0)

CINCINNATI - Though he’s not on the big league roster to begin the season, Daniel Murphy is going to be hanging out with the rest of the Nationals for at least a little while. Murphy, who is on the 10-day disabled list while completing his rehab from October knee surgery, made the trip to Cincinnati with the Nats, was introduced on the field alongside everybody

Martinez explains his opening day batting order decision

CINCINNATI - Davey Martinez had been thinking about his opening day lineup for some time. He had scribbled out different varieties, with and without players who were trying to return from injuries this spring. And once he knew for sure who he’d have available to him for today’s game at Great American Ball Park, he didn’t hesitate to write it down in pen on his

Game 1 lineups: Nats at Reds

CINCINNATI - They’re playing a ballgame here today. No, really. They are. Pay no attention to the tarp that has been on the field at Great American Ball Park, or the rain that started falling yesterday and hasn’t stopped since. It’s going to clear up in time for first pitch at 4:10 p.m. That’s what everyone insists, so we have no choice but to believe

Nats’ opening day payroll ranks fourth in majors

CINCINNATI - The precise figure varies depending on your preferred method of calculation, but here’s one fact that holds true no matter the math: The Nationals have one of the highest payrolls in baseball this season. The Nationals’ opening day payroll of $180,193,628 (by USA Today’s calculations) ranks fourth in the majors, trailing only the Giants ($220,881,444), Red Sox ($206,247,686) and Cubs ($182,560,002). The Associated

Nationals finalize 25-man roster for opening day

Though they won’t play until Friday, the Nationals were nonetheless required to submit their opening day roster to Major League Baseball this morning along with the sport’s 29 other clubs. The 25-man roster contains no surprises. The transactions the Nationals made Sunday night upon leaving West Palm Beach already revealed their intentions. The Nationals will carry an eight-man bullpen to open the season, with only

2018 Nats media season predictions

So we always run this feature on opening day. It’s a tradition, now in its ninth consecutive season, spanning three different websites. The idea is to reveal these predictions just before the Nationals take the field for their first game of the season. Just one problem: They’re not playing today. (Thanks, Cincinnati weather!) Well, rather than postpone the publication of this season’s media predictions -

Nats-Reds opening day postponed until Friday

The Nationals’ 2018 regular season will have to wait one more day. With a 100 percent chance of rain predicted for tomorrow (and throughout much of the weekend) in Cincinnati, the Reds today announced that the opening day game against the Nationals has been postponed until Friday, March 30 at 4:10 p.m. Friday’s game can be seen on MASN (not MASN2 as Thursday’s game had

Scherzer’s ready - for whatever comes his way (updated)

Max Scherzer has pitched in the Arizona desert, where 80 degrees in a comfort-controlled domed stadium masks triple-digit heat and minimal humidity outside. He’s worked in Detroit, where early-season winds whip around, making it feel much colder than it is. And he’s at home on the mound in D.C., where cool spring weather gives way to heat and humidity that tests a pitcher’s mettle and

2018 MLB predictions

The long wait is over. After a torturous offseason defined not by the free agents who were signed but the free agents who weren’t signed, the 2018 major league season has arrived at last. Spring training has wrapped up in Florida and Arizona. Teams have now scattered throughout the country to begin the regular season, and 15 games are on the slate Thursday. (We’ll see

Zimmerman won’t play today, but is ready for season opener

Ryan Zimmerman’s retrospective spring training statistics will look pretty threadbare - one game as a designated hitter on March 2, two at-bats and a double off the Mets’ Hansel Robles. In a city where intrigue and conspiracy theories are a part of everyday existence, everyone seems to have their own belief as to why the first baseman became a Grapefruit League ghost. Some whisper that

Tuesday morning Nats Q&A

The time is nearly here. After a quick stop back home to unpack and face the Twins in this afternoon’s exhibition game, the Nationals head to Cincinnati and open this season of significance Thursday against the Reds ... weather permitting. (The forecast in the Queen City calls for a 100 percent chance of rain on opening day, then more rain the rest of the weekend.

What we made too big a deal about and what we glossed over

Spend six weeks watching a ballclub prepare for the season and you can’t help but make a big deal out of a few things. Maybe it’s one particular job competition. Maybe it’s somebody’s injury. Maybe it’s a position that looks like a problem area. Whatever the case, there are always a handful of topics that dominate spring training coverage. And, inevitably, sometime during the course

Nats appear to set roster after optioning Reynolds, Sanchez

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals will open the season with an eight-man bullpen and a four-man bench, a decision that may have as much to do with ensuring they didn’t lose anyone from their organization who was out of options as it was about in-game strategy. As the club’s flight home to Washington was departing this evening, the Nats announced they had optioned

Nats wrap up Grapefruit League with a gem from Strasburg

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If the goal was to end the spring on a high note, to break camp under the warm Florida sunshine feeling good about things before heading north into the still-thawing-out D.C. area, the Nationals sent the right guy to the mound today. Stephen Strasburg, facing the Cardinals’ regular lineup, was dominant for 5 2/3 innings, striking out 10 and building

Why Turner is batting sixth in today’s finale (Nats win 4-2)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - When they board their flight to Washington this evening, the Nationals will have played 31 Grapefruit League games over the last month. And they almost certainly will not have tried out the starting lineup they’ll be using on opening day. With Ryan Zimmerman having spent all but one day this spring playing in minor league games, and with others having

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - And so the day has come. The clubhouse is full of suitcases and boxes, players are making sure they’re not leaving anything behind and there’s a different energy than any other day this spring. It’s time to go home, and there isn’t a person here who isn’t thrilled about that fact. But first, one final game to wrap up the

On Scherzer’s workload, plus Eaton and Harper’s hustle

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Max Scherzer wanted to throw 100 pitches Saturday in his final tune-up before his opening day start in Cincinnati. He wound up settling for a pitch count of 93, but seven full innings on the mound, tops among all Nationals starters this spring. Exceptionally efficient early on - he only needed 40 pitches to complete his first four innings -

Nationals make 12 cuts; Montero makes opening day roster

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals roster isn’t down to 25 players just yet, and it doesn’t appear it will be until after the club heads north and plays its final exhibition game Tuesday in D.C. But with a flurry of moves today, the Nats did finally settle a few important matters and codify the final remaining decisions they have to make before Thursday’s

Scherzer gives up four runs but racks up pitches (Nats lose 4-3)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If the Nationals needed somebody to step up and rustle them out of their late-spring slumber, who better than Max Scherzer to lead the way? Five days after a shaky outing against the Marlins in which he served up three homers, Scherzer is mowing down the same Miami lineup in his final tune-up before opening day. Scherzer is through four

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Marlins in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - We are getting down to the wire now, with only two days of spring training to go. Which means it’s decision time. Davey Martinez, Mike Rizzo and others have been behind closed doors much of this morning making some tough calls. So far, the only player I know for sure has been cut is Ryan Raburn, who already went around

Nats plan to use Adams in left field at times this season

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If there’s one position at which the Nationals can boast significant depth, it’s in the outfield. Adam Eaton, Michael A. Taylor and Bryce Harper are all locked into starting positions. Brian Goodwin is a versatile fourth outfielder. Howie Kendrick can play either corner position. Victor Robles is waiting in the wings at Triple-A in case one of the starters goes

Cole will open as No. 5 starter, but Hellickson is strong in debut

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Nothing that happened tonight - barring injury - was going to change the Nationals’ plan to open the season. A.J. Cole will be the No. 5 starter. Jeremy Hellickson will need more time to get himself up to speed after signing a minor league contract one week ago. Manager Davey Martinez made all that official earlier this afternoon. “We’re going

Martinez on roster, Murphy and Zimmerman (Nats lose 3-1)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - As the clock ticks down on spring training and opening day looms in the near future, the Nationals have a pretty good idea what their 25-man roster will look like. “We’re close,” manager Davey Martinez said today. “I won’t say we’re quite there yet, but we’re close. We’ve still got a few games left. I just want to leave spring

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Astros and Marlins

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It’s not exactly ideal to have to play split-squad games this late in the spring. But with an odd number of teams training in both Florida and Arizona, somebody has to split up (or be off) every day of the exhibition season. So the Nationals drew the short straw tonight and will be playing a pair of games: home against

Lineups fun: Martinez may bat pitcher eighth, Harper first

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If you’ve been paying attention to the Nationals’ starting lineups in recent days, you’ve certainly noticed a new wrinkle by manager Davey Martinez, rarely seen in these parts before but a bit more common around the rest of the National League: The pitcher batting eighth. It’s happened the last three days, with Stephen Strasburg on Tuesday, Gio Gonzalez on Wednesday

Roark and Kelley roughed up, vow to be ready for regular season

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - If there’s such a thing as the Dog Days of March, this is it. The Nationals head north Sunday night. They open the season in Cincinnati in one week. They have long since practiced every bunt play and every pickoff move. With only a couple of exceptions, hitters have gotten all the at-bats they need and pitchers have thrown all

Fedde optioned to Triple-A to begin season (Nats lose 12-5)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - The Nationals expect Erick Fedde to be a significant part of their big league rotation for a long time. But that day won’t be coming quite yet. Fedde was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse this afternoon, a move the organization’s top pitching prospect had sensed was likely for a while, certainly since the Nationals signed veteran Jeremy Hellickson last week. Though

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Mets in Port St. Lucie

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - If now is the time to start really preparing for the regular season, the Nationals are doing so by playing back-to-back night games. Might as well, right? This stretch of two games under the lights - unusual for spring training - begins tonight on the road against the Mets and concludes Friday with split-squad night games (home against the Astros,

Breaking down the remaining bullpen candidates

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Perhaps the most difficult roster question the Nationals face in the final days of spring training is how to fill in the final vacancies in their bullpen. It doesn’t help that more vacancies have opened up during the course of the spring. Koda Glover’s recurring shoulder woes and now Joaquin Benoit’s forearm strain have created some openings that might not

Martinez trying to navigate team through late March lull

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Gio Gonzalez might as well have been speaking for every ballplayer (and perhaps a few reporters) when he summed up today’s rough outing - eight runs allowed in 4 2/3 innings - in simple terms that can be applied to lots of matters that take place in spring training. “There were more positive results than what we saw out there,”

Benoit won’t open season on active roster (Nats lose 8-3)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals are going to need to tap into their right-handed bullpen depth to open the season. Already down one arm all spring when Koda Glover reported to camp with a sore shoulder, the Nats now acknowledge they won’t have veteran Joaquin Benoit for opening day after the 40-year-old was diagnosed with a strained forearm. Benoit, who was signed to

Murphy admits he won’t be ready for opening day

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Daniel Murphy acknowledged what has become obvious over the course of the spring: He won’t be on the Nationals’ active roster to begin the season. “I think it’s reasonable to expect I won’t be in the opening day lineup,” the veteran second baseman said this morning. From the day Murphy had microfracture surgery on his right knee in October, the

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Astros in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If you’re stuck indoors all day because of the snow back home, you’re in luck: Tune into MASN at 1 p.m. and watch the Nationals face the Astros on a sunny, 73-degree afternoon in Florida! (Sorry if that sounds like I’m trying to rub it in. I’m not.) The whole crew is back in town for the next few days

Strasburg on pitching in the heat, Martinez on demoting Robles

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg’s aversion to pitching on muggy, East Coast summer afternoons is well known. The San Diego native has long proclaimed his preference to take the mound in cool weather vs. hot weather. But Strasburg also chose to sign a seven-year extension with the Nationals, making Washington (not to mention the rest of the National League East division) his home

Zimmerman: “Not a doubt in my mind that I’m ready to go”

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Ryan Zimmerman played in a Grapefruit League game March 2, going 1-for-2 against the Mets. He hasn’t played in another one since, and it doesn’t appear he’ll be playing in another one until this weekend, sticking to the minor league fields as he has for the last three weeks. It’s a highly unusual way for a major leaguer to prepare

Strasburg is latest starter to struggle vs. Marlins (Nats win 8-3)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If Stephen Strasburg was looking to take a cue from Max Scherzer, he picked the wrong start to imitate. Only 24 hours after Scherzer was roughed up by the Marlins in his first subpar outing of the spring, Strasburg was battered around by the same Miami club this afternoon. Strasburg wound up allowing three runs on eight hits and three

Robles optioned to Triple-A, will open season in Syracuse

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Mike Rizzo insisted all along Victor Robles would play every day in 2018, wherever that may be. We found out today where the Nationals’ top prospect will be playing every day to begin the season: Triple-A Syracuse. The Nationals optioned Robles to Triple-A this afternoon, a not-terribly-unsurprising move but one that did come well before the club makes its final

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Marlins in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It’s the warmest day of the spring here, and quite muggy. Not exactly the kind of conditions the Nationals are going to face next week in Cincinnati, but they can’t do anything about that now. The Nats and Marlins meet for the second straight day, this time in West Palm Beach following yesterday’s 9-1 Miami win in Jupiter. It’s Stephen

Nats won’t get “too cute” with No. 5 starter this time around

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - There have long been differing opinions around baseball on the proper way to use a No. 5 starter. Should he pitch every fifth game, regardless of any off-days on the schedule? Should teams take advantage of that schedule and skip over the worst starter in the rotation in favor of the best starters? Should teams view that position as something

Scherzer tries to find the silver lining to ragged start

JUPITER, Fla. - Max Scherzer could look at today’s ragged outing against the Marlins, one in which he gave up six runs (five of them scoring via three home runs) in five innings, with a glass-half-empty mindset and insist he needs to be better next time. Or he could try the glass-half-full approach and find the positives in what for all practical purposes was an

Turner is latest victim of ingrown toenail (Nats lose 9-1)

JUPITER, Fla. - The ingrown toenail bug has returned to wreak havoc on the Nationals clubhouse for the second time this spring. OK, so that may be overdramatizing the situation a bit, but for the second time this month a key member of the Nats lineup had to undergo a procedure to remove an ingrown toenail. Earlier this spring it was Bryce Harper. Now it’s

Martinez reveals rotation order, Rizzo says Cole will make club

JUPITER, Fla. - Max Scherzer will start opening day for the Nationals. That news, though made official by manager Davey Martinez this morning, was never in doubt. Asked when he made the decision, Martinez replied: “The day I got the job.” Perhaps more interesting than the fact Scherzer will be on the mound March 29 in Cincinnati against veteran right-hander Homer Bailey is how the

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Marlins in Jupiter

JUPITER, Fla. - Max Scherzer gets two more opportunities to tune up before opening day - and, yes, he will start opening day for the Nationals in Cincinnati, Davey Martinez confirmed this morning - and so that process begins today against the Marlins. Scherzer already threw five innings and 75 pitches in his last outing, so look for him to perhaps extend that even farther

With one week to go, what’s left for Nats to decide?

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - We are down, if you can believe this, to the final seven days of spring training. Yep, one week from now the Nationals will be home in Washington, getting settled into their digs for the season and preparing to face the Twins in one last exhibition game on South Capitol Street before heading out to Cincinnati for opening day. Which

Cole trying to make late case to remain No. 5 starter

JUPITER, Fla. - Common sense says A.J. Cole’s shot at making the Nationals rotation took a major hit Friday when the club signed veteran Jeremy Hellickson to a minor league contract. Hellickson’s deal may not officially include a guaranteed spot on the big league roster, but it’s tough to see the Nats (or the 30-year-old right-hander) striking this arrangement without an implicit understanding. Cole, of

Zimmerman will play in MLB games “real soon” (Nats fall 10-0)

JUPITER, Fla. - Ryan Zimmerman’s spring in hiding continues, but probably not much longer. The Nationals first baseman, who has been playing almost exclusively on minor league fields and not in big league games, will make his much-anticipated return to Grapefruit League action this week. Though Davey Martinez didn’t give an exact plan that’s to occur, the manager did acknowledge it’s on the horizon. “Yeah,

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in Jupiter

JUPITER, Fla. - With this week’s surprise signing of Jeremy Hellickson, A.J. Cole suddenly finds himself in an uncertain position. The frontrunner for the No. 5 starter’s job through the first month of camp, what exactly is his status now? Is he still competing for the job? Is he destined for a spot in the bullpen? Is he in danger of being designated for assignment?

Taylor’s body holds up in return, Roark struggles in start

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - While attention was focused Saturday on Adam Eaton - and rightfully so, given the major injury he was returning from - Michael A. Taylor also was playing in his first big league game in a while and actually tested his body more than his fellow outfielder did. Taylor, who had been out since March 4 with tightness in his right

An emotional blur of a day for Adam Eaton

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - There were smiles and knowing glances all morning from teammates and other well-wishers. There was an expanded, 90-minute warmup session. Then four adventurous innings in left field that included a couple of tough plays complicated by the wind. And, of course, two at-bats against major league pitchers, the second of which ended with a celebratory trip around the bases and

As Roark labors, Eaton homers in spring debut (Nats lose 9-7)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Adam Eaton’s reconstructed knee has been getting put to the test today, though it couldn’t have been bothering him too much as he rounded the bases following a dramatic home run. Tanner Roark, meanwhile, slogged through a ragged start that lasted only three innings, included some wild command and low radar gun readings. Put it all together, and it’s already

Hellickson reports to camp, joins “perfect situation” with Nats

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Jeremy Hellickson was in Southern California on Friday afternoon, expecting to throw four innings of a simulated game against fellow unemployed Scott Boras clients who have gathered to work out together, when he got the call. The Nationals were offering him a minor league contract, and though that carried no official assurance of a spot on the big league roster,

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Mets in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It’s been an awfully quiet spring around here, but that’s starting to change. Jeremy Hellickson was in the clubhouse this morning trying on his No. 58 jersey (though the signing won’t become official until tomorrow). And the Nationals lineup for today’s game against the Mets has a whole lot of interesting things going on. We’ll begin with the most important

Does Hellickson signing address Nationals’ rotation need?

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - For months, we wondered how motivated the Nationals were to try to upgrade their rotation, whether they’d go all-in on Jake Arrieta, get involved in the trade market for Gerrit Cole or ultimately decide simply to stick with what they had and then re-examine the situation later this summer. What seemed clear from the get-go, though, was that any addition

Source: Nats signing veteran Hellickson to minor league deal

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - After spending the last month watching their in-house candidates pitch in person and prominent free agents agree to deals elsewhere, the Nationals appear to have found a surprise new choice to be their No. 5 starter. The club has agreed to terms on a minor league contract with Jeremy Hellickson, according to a source familiar with the deal, making the

Gonzalez proves he’s fine, Fedde proves he’s back

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - From his perch in the Nationals dugout, Davey Martinez saw Gio Gonzalez start moving his body around in a manner that suggested something didn’t feel right. And when the left-hander grabbed his side, Martinez had only one thought. “No, no, no,” the first-year Nationals manager said. “Now’s not the time.” So Martinez told director of athletic training Paul Lessard the

Despite brief scare, Gonzalez solid vs. St. Louis (Nats win 4-2)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Despite giving everyone in the park a brief scare that prompted a mound visit from a trainer, Gio Gonzalez made it through today’s outing in one piece and pitched quite well against a Cardinals lineup featuring several regulars. Gonzalez allowed one run in five innings, that coming on Jedd Gyorko’s leadoff homer to left in the top of the fourth.

Eaton plans to make long-awaited return Saturday

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Adam Eaton’s long-awaited day has finally arrived. Nearly 11 months after tearing the ACL in his left knee, the Nationals outfielder will be in the lineup Saturday playing in a major league spring training game for the first time. “It’s time to go,” he said, “and we’re going to go.” Eaton is penciled in to bat third and start in

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It’s a beautiful day here, not just for a ballgame but also for some golf. So, naturally, Davey Martinez had his entire team engage in a closest-to-the-pin competition this morning. Everyone had to hit a blind, 100-yard shot off the agility field, over the bullpen and into a circled-off area on Field 2. There were several bullseyes (denoted by three

Is Fedde forcing his way into the No. 5 starter’s job?

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals had been saying all along they were content to enter the season picking a No. 5 starter from the pool of less-than-ideal candidates already in-house, but all along there loomed the specter of a major spring training addition. Now, though, with only 13 days to go until the season opener, and with Jake Arrieta a Phillie, Lance Lynn

Finding meaningful developments on an ugly day for Nats

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Earlier this spring, Davey Martinez explained that he never lets himself obsess over a day’s game for more than 30 minutes upon its completion, win or lose. In this sport, there’s no value in stressing out over what just happened, not when there’s another game to prepare for in 24 hours. So as he sat in his office this afternoon

Rizzo on state of bullpen and S. Romero’s return (Nats fall 12-3)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Koda Glover hasn’t thrown a baseball since reporting to camp with a sore shoulder. Joaquin Benoit, signed the first week of spring training, has a 9.00 ERA. Matt Albers is in Arizona wearing a Brewers uniform. That might all be cause for concern for the Nationals, who don’t have any real sure things in their bullpen beyond the three veterans

Time running out for Murphy, but Eaton about ready to play

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Though they still won’t rule out the possibility, the Nationals recognize Daniel Murphy’s odds of being ready for opening day are getting slimmer by the day. Murphy, who had microfracture surgery on his right knee in October, has been taking batting practice and fielding light grounders but has not been in any game-like situations yet. With the season opener in

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Astros in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Would you believe we’re now only two weeks away from opening day? It’s true: A mere 14 days from now, the Nationals will be taking the field in Cincinnati for a game that actually counts in the standings. If you’re looking for the Nats to field their full “A” lineup for the first time this spring, though, you’re going to

What drives veteran Madson to keep pitching at elite level?

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Ryan Madson is the type of person who doesn’t provide a quick, stock answer to a question. Ask the 37-year-old reliever something and he’ll pause before saying anything, consider his thoughts on the subject and then reveal them in a matter-of-fact tone. Which made his answer to the following question - “After a long and productive career spanning 15 seasons,

The history of Nats managers, through Zimmerman’s eyes

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals have experienced plenty of change over the years, nowhere more so than in the manager’s office. Davey Martinez is now the club’s seventh full-time manager in 14 seasons in Washington, with none of his predecessors having survived longer than 2 1/2 seasons. Only one player has been around for every one of the seven skippers: Ryan Zimmerman, the

Scherzer ramps things up, Nats make six more cuts

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Maybe it was the fact they were playing under the lights for the first time this spring. Maybe it was the fact he was stretched out to five innings for the first time. Or maybe it was simply the fact he’s Max Scherzer. Whatever the case, the Nationals ace seemed to be even more amped up than usual for tonight’s

Wieters keeps hitting, Scherzer keeps dealing (Nats win 7-4)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla - The closer we get to opening day and the more he keeps piling up hits, the more Matt Wieters looks like he may legitimately have figured something out at the plate. Already having shown marked improvement through the first half of spring training, Wieters hasn’t let up tonight. The veteran catcher had hits in each of his first two at-bats

Updates on Cole, Taylor, Murphy and more

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Though he couldn’t make his scheduled start Monday due to an illness, A.J. Cole is already back throwing and should be able to slot back into his spot in the Nationals rotation by the end of the week. Cole was supposed to face the Tigers in Lakeland but had to be scratched a day in advance after he fell victim

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Mets in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - And we’re back. Caught a flight back down to Florida this morning, just in time to see the Nationals take on a Mets split-squad this evening at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Thanks as always to Pete Kerzel for filling in during my break; I’ll be with you the rest of the way, which actually isn’t that much longer.

How should the Nationals handle Victor Robles?

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - There’s no question Victor Robles is a special player. If anyone misunderstood this indisputable fact, spring training has driven home the point. The top Nationals prospect is just 20, has already made his major league debut and appeared in a playoff series. What’s next on his to-do list? Many think he should be on the Nationals’ 25-man opening day roster,

Jackson on his outing, Martinez on youth and running into outs

LAKELAND, Fla. - Last year at this time, Edwin Jackson was home in Arizona, an unemployed pitcher throwing bullpen sessions and trying to stay ready in case someone in need of a veteran right-hander called with a job offer. After 15 major league seasons, little fazes Jackson, who’s on his third tour of duty with the Nationals and hopeful of a role with what he

Jackson done after three (Nats win 5-4)

LAKELAND, Fla. - Edwin Jackson made it through three innings against the Tigers this afternoon, a laborious third running up his pitch count and hastening his exit from the game. The right-hander did a good job of minimizing the damage in the third, and was helped out by a nice play to nab Edwin Espinal at home on an ill-advised send. Espinal walked and tried

Martinez on Jackson’s start vs. Tigers and roster chances

LAKELAND, Fla. - He may be a rookie manager, but Davey Martinez knows enough about right-hander Edwin Jackson to understand that what you see from the veteran right-hander is what you get. “He’s very low-key,” Martinez said. “He’s taking it one day at a time, and it’s good. Like I said, he’s a veteran guy and he understands the process.” Martinez is referring to the

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Tigers in Lakeland

LAKELAND, Fla. - Today marks the Nationals’ lone visit to Tigertown this spring, a far cry from when they made multiple trips here for Grapefruit League play each spring when they were headquartered in Viera. Right-hander A.J. Cole was scheduled to start today’s game for the Nationals, but he was scratched, a victim of the stomach bug that’s been working its way around the clubhouse.

Forgettable debut helped Adams on path to positive impression

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Exit interviews are often a formality, but right-hander Austin L. Adams used an end-of-season chat with former Nationals pitching coach Mike Maddux as a springboard from an up-and-down debut season in the major leagues to an offseason chocked full of the kind of work necessary to show he’s a good pitcher. “My last talk with Mike Maddux, he kind of

Roark: “I just didn’t feel all locked in like I have been”

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It didn’t take Tanner Roark long to figure out that he didn’t have his best stuff in Sunday’s start against the Cardinals. Three batters into the game, the Cards had a 2-0 lead after José Martínez ripped a two-run homer to left field, ending Roark’s string of Grapefruit League innings without allowing an earned run at 8 1/3 over four

Roark struggles, Nats finally on the board (Nats lose 4-3)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Tanner Roark’s spring string of innings without allowing an earned run ended at 8 1/3, and the right-hander struggled in the first and fourth innings against the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon. Roark surrendered a one-out single to Tommy Pham in the first, and José Martínez followed with a no-doubter of a home run to left field, the first earned runs

Kintzler’s presence gives Martinez options in back end of bullpen

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Law Firm is back for another season, but don’t get too enamored of Brandon Kintzler pitching the seventh inning, followed by Ryan Madson in the eighth and closer Sean Doolittle in the ninth. The names will remain the same, but don’t print up the business cards or signage for the office suite. The order might just change as the

Starting lineups: Cardinals vs. Nationals in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - How does new Nationals manager Davey Martinez combat the arrival of daylight saving time? How about letting the Nationals sleep in? Martinez pushed back the clubhouse opening time for today to 9 a.m., an hour later than usual. Coincidentally, the Nationals - and pretty much everyone else reading this - lost an hour of sleep last night as clocks sprung

Versatility has become Reynolds’ calling card

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - When the call came, when the Mets told him they were designating him for assignment in early February to open up a 40-man roster spot after signing free agent third baseman Todd Frazier, Matt Reynolds didn’t know exactly what to think. Being designated for assignment is baseball’s uncomfortable limbo, where a team has 10 days to trade, waive or outright

Strong effort vs. Astros may earn Fedde a longer look

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Erick Fedde may have earned himself a longer look from the new Nationals coaching staff. The right-hander held his own against an Astros lineup top-heavy with regulars, throwing three innings of two-hit, one-run ball in a 2-2 nine-inning tie on Saturday. “I find it to be exciting, a fun test,” said Fedde, who walked two and struck out three. “It’s

Astros grab 1-0 lead on Fedde, Nationals (Nats, Astros tie 2-2)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals could get nothing going offensively against Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel, who didn’t look anything like a pitcher who brought a 10.80 ERA into today’s Grapefruit League game. What’s that old baseball adage about spring and September statistics being fool’s gold? Bryce Harper, the last hitter Keuchel faced, roped a single to right field - the only hit allowed

Murphy calls first cuts on field “a really positive sign”

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Daniel Murphy passed another hurdle in his recovery from debridement and microfracture surgery on his right knee on Saturday morning, hitting on a field for the first time in spring training. Batting in a foursome that included Adam Eaton, Bryce Harper and Matt Wieters, Murphy and his mates hit for about 25 minutes off bullpen catcher Nilson Robledo on Field

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Astros in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Don’t look now, but the Nationals are running a lot this spring. OK, last year’s team with speedster Trea Turner atop the lineup swiped 108 bases, third-most in the National League. But Turner had 46 of those, and only two other players - Michael A. Taylor (17) and Wilmer Difo (10) - were in double figures. This spring, however, the

Checking in on the camp competitions

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - We’re roughly halfway through the Grapefruit League schedule, which makes it a good time to revisit some of the few competitions in Nationals camp this spring. Keep in mind that with a veteran-laden roster built to three-peat in the National League East, there weren’t a lot of open roster spots heading into spring training. But good camps are built on

Nationals option Gutierrez, Rodriguez to Double-A

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals made a pair of moves this morning, adding a little roster housekeeping to one of their two scheduled off-days this spring. Infielder Kelvin Gutierrez and right-hander Jefry Rodriguez were optioned to Double-A Harrisburg. Both players were added to the 40-man roster on the same day last fall, Nov. 20, to protect them from the Rule 5 draft, and

Despite numbers crunch, Solís believes he belongs in Nats bullpen

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Sammy Solís understands why people discount him when configuring their versions of the bullpen the Nationals will take north for their March 29 season opener in Cincinnati. After the way the left-hander pitched last season - taking steps back in games pitched, innings, ERA and WHIP as he battled injury and inconsistency from the get-go - Solís knows he has

Seeking his rhythm, Strasburg sees fine-tuning producing results

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg wants to embrace the notion of using spring training to get his arm in shape and try some new things in games that really don’t matter a lick. He really does. He comes to camp in that mode, but when you’re a veteran who relies heavily on a comfort zone provided by pattern and routine, even the smallest

Voth among first wave of Nats cuts (Nationals win 8-5)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals have made their first cuts of spring training, optioning right-hander Austin Voth to Triple-A Syracuse and reassigning seven players to their minor league camp. Voth, who went 4-12 with a 5.94 ERA at three minor league stops last season, appeared in three Grapefruit League games, and posted a 6.00 ERA in three innings of relief work. He allowed

Clubhouse visitors, monitoring workloads and injury updates

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - There were plenty of visitors to Nationals camp today. Former Expos first baseman Andres Galarraga dropped by at the invitation of manager Davey Martinez. Galarraga, who had a 19-year career in the big leagues and twice beat Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lives in the city the Nats now call their spring home. Martinez hopes he can get Galarraga back for another visit

Starting lineups: Mets vs. Nats in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg makes his second start of spring training this afternoon when the Nationals host the Mets. He’ll face right-hander Noah Syndergaard. In his first start on March 3, Strasburg worked two innings against the Astros, allowing a run on three hits with two strikeouts. Manager Davey Martinez has been extending his starters in recent games and hopes to get

For versatile Difo, helping Nats is his top priority

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - As far as Wilmer Difo is concerned, the more work, the better. If microfracture surgery delays the start to Daniel Murphy’s season, Difo is happy to play second base for the Nationals as long as he’s needed. If shortstop Trea Turner or third baseman Anthony Rendon need a day off, Difo’s ready to fill in. He’ll grab a bat and

Cerebral Scherzer trying to stay a step ahead of hitters

JUPITER, Fla. - Max Scherzer often makes his craft look so effortless that it’s easy to forget that he’s part of a perpetual thinking man’s exercise that requires a pitcher to constantly adjust and readjust both plan of attack and expectations. So, after winning back-to-back Cy Young Awards, here was the Nationals ace using an innocuous spring training start to try to integrate a few

Robles plates a run, Scherzer strong through three (Nats lose 4-3)

JUPITER, Fla. - Through three innings at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, rookie Victor Robles continues to handle major league pitching and right-hander Max Scherzer is dealing in midseason form. Robles, who will likely start the season at Triple-A unless an injury opens an opportunity in the Nationals outfield, doubled off the base of the wall in left-center off Adam Wainwright in his first at-bat to

Zimmerman nearing game at-bats, Martinez says

JUPITER, Fla. - Ryan Zimmerman got dressed and headed out to take batting practice this morning in West Palm Beach, still attired in long pants even though most of the rest of the Nationals had switched into shorts and t-shirts, the uniform of the day for their morning workout. Another day passed without Zimmerman in the lineup for a Grapefruit League game - he’s played

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in Jupiter

JUPITER, Fla. - Coming off three spotless innings with five strikeouts in his last start against the Mets in Port St. Lucie on March 2, what does Max Scherzer do for an encore? We’ll find out this afternoon when the right-hander makes his third Grapefruit League start against the Cardinals. So far this spring, Scherzer is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA, and has allowed one

Eager Goodwin prepares to be ready when called upon

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If there’s one guy in the Nationals clubhouse who can empathize with Brian Goodwin’s dilemma, it’s new manager Davey Martinez. Long before he spent a decade as Joe Maddon’s right-hand man in Tampa Bay and Chicago, Martinez was a major league outfielder fighting for playing time. In his 16 seasons in the bigs, Martinez played in more than 120 games

Martinez critiques Cole, Fedde and Marmolejos

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The results may not have been particularly pleasing, but Nationals manager Davey Martinez liked the approach taken by right-hander A.J. Cole in his three-inning start in Tuesday’s 10-5 Grapefruit League loss to the Astros. Cole wasn’t able to consistently throw first-pitch strikes, had some success getting his curveball over and never got into any kind of rhythm in his second

Cole uneven through three frames (Nats lose 10-5)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - There’s been both good and bad from A.J. Cole today against the Astros. But enough bad to outweigh the good and put the Nationals in a 3-0 hole after three innings. The good? Cole has been very aggressive, challenging hitters and moving the ball around the plate, resulting in a pair of strikeouts each against Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa,

Martinez updates Taylor injury, plus notes on versatility and Cole

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Nationals manager Davey Martinez had no significant update on the status of center fielder Michael A. Taylor, who was scratched from Monday’s Grapefruit League game in Jupiter with tightness in his right side. But for now, it doesn’t appear as if the Nationals view Taylor’s injury as anything major. “Same as yesterday,” Martinez said this morning. “He’s stiff (on the)

Starting lineups: Astros vs. Nats at West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Amid persistent rumors that the Nationals may still be trying to boost their rotation with a late free agent signing, right-hander A.J. Cole gets another opportunity to show the Washington brass that he’s capable of holding down the fifth spot in the rotation. Cole makes his second Grapefruit League start this afternoon when the Nationals host an Astros split squad

Grace focused on better defining his role in Nats bullpen

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - When the Nationals traded for Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle and Brandon Kintzler in a pair of deals last July, the moves did more than fortify a struggling bullpen. Because Doolittle and Madson were under team control through 2018, and after Kintzler was re-signed this offseason, it ensured that the Nats would return the back end of their bullpen intact. But

Romero sent home from Nats camp for rules violation

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Seth Romero, the Nationals’ first-round pick in the 2017 First-Year Player Draft, was sent home from spring training on Monday for violating an unspecified team rule, a Nationals spokesman confirmed. It is unclear exactly what rule Romero, a 21-year-old left-hander who was taken with the 25th overall selection in the draft, may have violated and how long he will be

Martinez on Taylor’s injury, Roark’s effort and Benoit’s debut

JUPITER, Fla. - Manager Davey Martinez didn’t think twice about scratching Michael A. Taylor from Monday’s lineup when the center fielder reported some tightness in his right side before the Nationals boarded the bus in West Palm Beach for the 15-minute drive to Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. “He had a little bit of tightness in his right side,” Martinez said after the Nats’ 2-1 loss

Roark finds modified delivery to his liking (Nats lose 2-1)

JUPITER, Fla. - Having seen teammate Stephen Strasburg succeed by pitching only from the stretch, Tanner Roark decided this offseason to start tinkering with a similar approach. Roark has continued working on his modified windup - mostly from the stretch, with a little side-to-side action to get some momentum - this spring and the results were immediately positive. The right-hander threw four scoreless innings against

Stevenson goes deep, Roark confounds Cardinals (Nats up 1-0)

JUPITER, Fla. - Andrew Stevenson, who wasn’t even in the starting lineup until Michael A. Taylor was scratched with mild tightness in his right side about a half-hour before first pitch, homered in the third to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead over the Cardinals. The wind has been knocking balls down in the outfield early on, but Stevenson’s opposite-field poke off Luke Weaver had

Martinez updates Murphy and Eaton’s recoveries (plus notes)

JUPITER, Fla. - The Nationals continue to take it slow and steady with second baseman Daniel Murphy and left fielder Adam Eaton, a pair of projected starters who are spending the early portion of spring training rehabilitating injuries. Murphy, who is recovering from Oct. 20 debridement microfracture surgery, has progressed to hitting off a tee and the Nationals are hopeful that the snail’s pace progression

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in Jupiter (Taylor scratched)

JUPITER, Fla. - If the Nationals are playing at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, right-hander Tanner Roark must be starting. Roark takes the hill for his third start of the spring today, and all have come in the cozy confines of Roger Dean, where the wind whips across the outfield, turning routine fly balls into adventures, skewing pitching lines and inflating ERAs. This time, the Cardinals

Excited Soto gets his first chance to play in front of coaches

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Juan Soto’s exuberance, possibly over-exuberance, was understandable. Here was a 19-year-old prospect standing in the batter’s box in a major league Grapefruit League game for the first time, pinch-hitting for Howie Kendrick in the bottom of the sixth of Sunday’s game against the Tigers. So when Soto nearly swung out of his shoes a couple of times while striking out

Adams, Harper return healthy and productive in win over Tigers

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - As happy as he was to see Matt Adams launch a ball off the right field wall in the bottom of the second today, Davey Martinez also couldn’t help but cringe a little once he realized Adams was going to have to try to stretch the hit into a triple. “I’m going: ‘Oh lord, stop,’” the manager said. “He said

Harper belts first homer of spring (Nats win 6-2)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It had been a quiet spring so far for Bryce Harper. Too quiet, to be honest. There was his introductory press conference, during which he made it clear he won’t answer questions about his looming free agency. There were some nondescript at-bats in his first couple of Grapefruit League games. And then there were three days off after having an

Nationals’ plan behind the plate remains a question

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - One of the few legitimate roster decisions the Nationals need to make this spring is behind the plate, where Matt Wieters returns as the No. 1 catcher but the backup position is up for grabs. As much conjecture as there was over the winter about the Nationals pursuing an upgrade - J.T. Realmuto? Alex Avila? Jonathan Lucroy? - general manger

Split-squad lineups: Nats vs. Tigers and Mets

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It’s a split-squad day for the Nationals, with one group staying back here in West Palm Beach to face the Tigers and another group heading north to Port St. Lucie to face the Mets. Between the two games, nearly everybody of consequence on the roster is playing somewhere today, and there even will be some prospects from minor league camp

Turner’s patient approach leading to more walks this spring

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Trea Turner knows the primary criticism with his approach at the plate. And he doesn’t entirely disagree, even if he adds a qualifier to the sentiment. “I think a lot of people made a big deal out of me not walking the last couple years, I guess rightfully so,” the Nationals shortstop said. “But I feel like if they give

Strasburg gets his work in, Doolittle works on his off-speed stuff

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The day began with Stephen Strasburg on the mound for the first time against an opponent this spring. And Strasburg’s outing - two innings of one-run ball, plus another 20 pitches in the bullpen afterward - was important, in that he needed to make his first start of the spring at some point and begin the process of ramping up

Verlander outdoes Strasburg in spring matchup (Nats win 8-1)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It lasted all of 2 1/2 innings, but at this time of the spring, we’ll all take as much of a Stephen Strasburg-Justin Verlander pitching matchup as we can get. The two right-handers didn’t disappoint in their head-to-head showdown today at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Strasburg allowed one run over two innings but consistently hit 97-98 mph with

Martinez meets with Torre, learns more about pace of play

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Davey Martinez had sat through meetings with Joe Torre before, but only as a bench coach to Joe Maddon, and thus not as the primary point of contact between Torre (Major League Baseball’s chief baseball officer) and his club. This morning’s session at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, then, represented a new dynamic for Martinez, who was responsible for

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Astros in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - I know none of you up north want to hear about the weather down here right now, but it has cooled off considerably across Florida, with the same cold front that has caused so much havoc back home swooping through this state as well. The wind has picked up and the temperatures have dropped - I know, I know, it’s

Zimmerman happy with first two at-bats of the spring

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - There was no real drama to it, just a couple of at-bats in a Grapefruit League game against a couple of pitchers who may or may not make the Mets’ opening day roster. But it was the first time Ryan Zimmerman had done any of that in a game this spring, so the simple fact he did get two at-bats

Amid Tebow circus, Scherzer gets down to business

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - From Max Scherzer’s perspective, it was just a guy standing at the plate wearing a No. 83 Mets jersey. The name on the back, or the hoopla that comes with it, mattered little. “No, I’m out there trying to get him out,” the Nationals ace said. “I’m working on my instincts, what I think I need to do to get

Harper to return Saturday, Lind to Yanks (Nats win 2-1)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Bryce Harper is scheduled to return to action Saturday, his toe having healed from a minor surgical procedure to remove an ingrown nail. Harper was originally due to play Wednesday, but had to be scratched after he reported the toenail problem. He had it removed later that day, then sat out Thursday while healing. Though he’s not playing in today’s

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Mets in Port St. Lucie

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Finally, some big names on the field for an exhibition game. Though it should be noted that “big names” doesn’t necessarily mean “good baseball players” in every case. When the Nationals take the field this afternoon to face a Mets split-squad, he’ll be going up against some experienced major leaguers like José Reyes, Jay Bruce and Adrián González. He’ll also

De Aza returns to Nationals on minor league deal

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla - Alejandro De Aza has returned to the Nationals, though not to the big league roster. The Nats have signed De Aza to a minor league contract, the club announced. The veteran outfielder did not receive an invitation to major league camp, but he will be in uniform and available to play off the bench for today’s game against the Mets.

Big names should finally be in action this weekend

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The first week of Grapefruit League play has featured minimal action by the Nationals’ biggest names, but that may finally change this weekend. For starters, Max Scherzer will be on the mound today in Port St. Lucie to face the Mets, his second start of the spring. And Stephen Strasburg will make his long-awaited debut Saturday in West Palm Beach

Cole makes first case for fifth starter’s job

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - There may be nobody else in Nationals camp with a status quite like A.J. Cole. He doesn’t have the track record to suggest he’s assured of a spot on the opening day roster, but club officials willingly admit he’s the likely No. 5 starter. He’s out of options, so he’ll have to make the team somehow or else be placed

Harper has minor surgery for ingrown toenail (Nats win 6-2)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Bryce Harper had a minor surgical procedure Wednesday to remove an ingrown toenail, something the Nationals expect will allow their star right fielder to return to the field ASAP. Harper had to be scratched from Wednesday’s lineup against the Marlins after he informed manager Davey Martinez of his ailment. He wouldn’t have been able to play today against the Braves,

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Braves in Lake Buena Vista

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Good morning from Walt Disney World. If it feels like we were just here ... well, we were. The Nationals played the Braves in this ballpark three days ago. Now they’re back after another 2 1/2-hour drive up Florida’s Turnpike. On the bright side, the club has only one more road trip longer than 45 minutes the rest of the

Runs have been scarce so far this spring for Nationals

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If you have been paying attention to the Grapefruit League scoreboard - and, truth be told, you probably shouldn’t be paying that much attention to it - you’ve no doubt noticed the Nationals exhibition season isn’t off to a rousing start. The Nats have played six games to date, going 1-4-1 overall. (Ties are allowed in the spring, cause who

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