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Nats turn to Turner’s power, not speed, to secure first win

He’s perhaps the fastest player in baseball, and he already has twice as many stolen bases as anyone else in the sport. And because of that, there’s sometimes a perception that Trea Turner needs to be a small-ball guy, someone who just needs to put the bat on the ball and then take advantage of his speed. Thing is, Turner also has serious pop in

Turner’s walk-off blast saves Nats from another bullpen mess

The Nationals have a bullpen problem. But they’ll worry about that later tonight, because right now all they care about is celebrating their first win of 2019, thanks to the power supplied by one of the fastest players in baseball. Trea Turner, who had already clubbed a three-run homer earlier in the afternoon, drilled a walk-off shot into the fierce wind blowing in from left

Sipp’s faith in readiness pays off in Nationals debut

Tony Sipp can admit it now, after the fact, because everything worked out well Saturday. But as he jogged in from the Nationals bullpen to make his season debut in the seventh inning of what at that point was a 4-4 game against the heart of the Mets lineup, the veteran reliever had no idea what to expect. “It was definitely a lot of questions

Game 3 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

It’s a cold, gray morning here on South Capitol Street, and the infamous Skittles tarp has been covering the infield. But don’t despair: The forecast calls for the rain to end soon and the sun to come out. It’s going to be cold and windy, but the Nationals and Mets will be finishing their season-opening series as scheduled. You hate to say this after only

Searching for some positives in an 0-2 start

It’s been an admittedly negative first couple of games to the Nationals season, what with back-to-back losses to the Mets that included defensive gaffes, baserunning gaffes and bullpen gaffes. But today’s a new day, so let’s try to think positively if only for a few minutes. Here are some encouraging developments through the first 18 innings of the 2019 season in D.C. ... * Juan

Rosenthal tries to put happy face on ragged return to mound

It had been 19 months since Trevor Rosenthal last took the mound in a major league game, and so the veteran reliever understandably was happy about that important fact. “It was an exciting day, obviously,” he said. “Getting out there for the first time, the situation, it was a good experience and something I really enjoyed and look forward to happening again.” Rosenthal said all

Nats shake off ragged start, only to watch bullpen blow up late

They were sloppy in the field and sloppy on the bases again, digging themselves into an early hole that had South Capitol Street grumbling again only 48 hours after a fundamentally flawed opening day loss. But when the Nationals clawed their way back to tie up the game thanks to the exploits of young outfielders Juan Soto and Victor Robles, the ballpark came back to

Nats will look to run today vs. Syndergaard

If Thursday’s season opener was an indication of things to come, Trea Turner is going to run a lot this season. If the Nationals did their scouting, Turner shouldn’t be the only one running a lot today against Noah Syndergaard. A perfect convergence of natural speed, organizational philosophy and matchups comes together this afternoon when the Nats face the Mets and their No. 2 starter.

Nats payroll up slightly, Scherzer has top MLB salary in 2019

Even with Bryce Harper coming off the books, the Nationals entered the season with one of Major League Baseball’s largest payrolls and the sport’s highest-paid player for 2019. The Nationals’ opening day payroll of $185 million ranks fifth in the majors, behind the Red Sox, Cubs, Yankees and Dodgers, according to the Associated Press’ annual calculations. The payroll total is up slightly from last year’s

Dissecting Martinez’s opening day bullpen decisions

The nature of the baseball schedule, especially in northern cities that require a day off following the season opener to account for weather postponements, lends itself to gross overanalyzing of Game 1 of 162. No other game all season, aside from perhaps postseason contests, gets dissected like this. But with nothing else to write or talk about for 48 hours until they take the field

The botched rally that defined an opening day loss

Pick out any number of reasons the Nationals lost their season opener today, 2-0 to the Mets. Look at Ryan Zimmerman’s first-inning line drive, the one snagged by a diving Jeff McNeil at third base to prevent a run from scoring. Point out Davey Martinez’s late-game pitching decisions to let Max Scherzer return to the mound for the eighth, then turn to Justin Miller and

Familiar vibe for Nats in opening day loss to Mets

It’s opening day, and that inevitably leads to two things from fans and media alike: excessive optimism and overblown pessimism, based solely on the results of the first game of a 162-game marathon. A team’s record on opening day bears no connection to its record on Oct. 1, and anyone who thinks otherwise need only look back one year ago when the Nationals beat the

Sipp “ready to go” while Kendrick, Taylor remain in Florida

Tony Sipp, as promised, is here on opening day and ready to pitch in a big spot late against one of the Mets’ big left-handed hitters. Howie Kendrick and Michael A. Taylor, as expected, aren’t on the active roster yet. And they’re not in Washington, either. While Kendrick and Taylor continue to rehab from their spring training injuries in West Palm Beach, Sipp made the

Game 1 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

The wait is over. And for the first time in a long time, we aren’t talking about the wait for Bryce Harper to sign with somebody. No, we’re talking about the Nationals’ long, six-month wait to get back on the field after a disappointing 2018 season. It finally happens today in the opener of what might just be the most compelling division race we’ve ever

2019 Nats media season predictions

Hey, do you know what today is? Yes, of course you do. And because you know it’s opening day, you also know it’s media prediction day! Ah yes, media prediction day, when my colleagues and I make complete fools of ourselves (some more than others) in trying to guess how the Nationals’ season is going to play out. This is now the 10th consecutive year

Opening day roster announced, Noll makes club

The Nationals reported for spring training last month with a pretty good idea already who would fill out their 25-man roster. There were only a handful of jobs up for grabs, and even those seemed fairly set in stone, barring something unexpected developing over the course of six weeks in Florida. Well, something unexpected did happen. His name is Jake Noll, and thanks to one

2019 MLB predictions

The countdown is on. We are now just shy of 24 hours from opening day across Major League Baseball. (Let’s just forget the Athletics and Mariners already played two regular season games in Japan last week, cause it only makes things more confusing.) After an agonizing winter and spring waiting for free agents to sign, at last we can watch and write about what’s actually

Williams and Sanchez optioned, Noll still on roster

The Nationals optioned reliever Austen Williams and infielder Adrián Sanchez to Triple-A Fresno this morning, all but finalizing their opening day roster with only one final question left to answer: Has non-roster invitee Jake Noll made the club, or is there another outside acquisition pending to fill the last spot on the bench? The Williams and Sanchez moves leave the Nationals with 28 players officially

Nationals ready to trade spring prep for meaningful games

After almost six weeks in Florida, the Nationals unpacked at the locker stalls in their home park on Monday, surrounded by the familiar and eager to move a day closer to games that count. “I said this about seven days ago: I hit the wall,” manager Davey Martinez said before Monday’s exhibition game against the Yankees. “OK, spring training should be done, let’s go. I

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

Spring training is over. The Nationals are home at last. They have one more exhibition game later this afternoon against the Yankees (if weather permits) and then it’s time to turn our focus to Thursday’s season opener against the Mets. It was a long six weeks down in West Palm Beach. When pitchers and catchers reported way back on Feb. 13, Bryce Harper was still

After six weeks of fundamentals, Nats ready to see results

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - This being the final day of spring training, the Nationals’ goals were pretty simple: Get through the day quickly and healthy. They were successful on both counts. Today’s 5-3 exhibition loss to the Astros at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches wrapped up in a mere 2 hours, 30 minutes. And everybody walked away in one piece before showering, dressing

Hellickson to open season in bullpen (Nats lose 5-3)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - With three scheduled off-days in the first two weeks of the season, the Nationals will open with a four-man rotation and keep No. 5 starter Jeremy Hellickson in the bullpen as a long reliever. The club could have stuck with a traditional, five-man rotation, but that would’ve left Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and Aníbal Sánchez getting some unnecessary

Kendrick nearly ready, but not for opening day

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Howie Kendrick, as expected, will stay back in Florida while the rest of the Nationals break camp this evening and open the season on the injured list while finishing his rehab from a hamstring strain suffered earlier this month. Kendrick has been taking batting practice and grounders while lightly running the bases in recent days but hasn’t yet appeared in

Split-squad lineups: Nats vs. Astros and Mets

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - And so we have reached final day of spring training. Yes, the Nationals’ charter (not to mention the commercial flights us reporters use) will be heading back to Washington tonight. Anybody who doesn’t swing at the first pitch during today’s game deserves to be fined. Make that today’s games. Plural. For some bizarre reason, the Nationals have split-squad games today:

After 97-pitch start, Strasburg has week to prepare for Mets

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - We kind of glossed over it amid the flurry of Nationals roster and lineup news following yesterday’s 4-4 tie with the Cardinals, but there was a ballgame and things did happen during the game that warrant mention. Especially Stephen Strasburg. Making his final tune-up before the regular season, Strasburg put forth a performance similar to Max Scherzer’s impressive start the

Eaton will lead off, Turner will bat second, Robles will bat ninth

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Adam Eaton indeed will lead off for the Nationals to begin the season, with Trea Turner right behind him. And Victor Robles will bring up the rear as the No. 9 hitter, manager Davey Martinez revealed late this afternoon. Those decisions, though telegraphed at various points of spring training, are now concrete after Martinez pored through stats provided by the

Flurry of cuts bring Nats to brink of final roster decisions

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals pared their roster down to 30 following today’s 4-4 exhibition tie against the Cardinals, leaving only a handful of candidates still competing for the final spots in their opening day bullpen and bench. Right-hander Joe Ross was optioned to Triple-A Fresno, where he’ll be stretched out as a starter. Fellow starter Erick Fedde and catcher Spencer Kieboom also

Orioles claim Severino off waivers (game ends in tie)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Pedro Severino, once touted by the Nationals as their potential long-term answer behind the plate, is now an Oriole. Baltimore claimed the 25-year-old catcher off waivers today, ending his long tenure with the Washington organization that signed him out of the Dominican Republic when he was 17. The move was not unexpected, because Severino faced almost no chance of staying

Rizzo: Recent extensions don’t affect Rendon talks

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Despite the recent spate of major leaguers signing contract extensions over the last few weeks, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo insisted today he isn’t feeling more pressure to try to lock up third baseman Anthony Rendon. “I don’t think that what other teams do affect our long-term strategies,” Rizzo said. “We’ve got a plan in place for not only for

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - We’re down to the final two days of spring training, and that means a lot more Nationals regulars in the lineup, even when they were in the lineup the day before that. And the day before that. Davey Martinez has five players starting their third straight game today: Trea Turner, Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon, Brian Dozier and Victor Robles. The

Last couple of games offer clues to who will hit leadoff

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Davey Martinez says he knows who’s going to hit leadoff for the Nationals on opening day. And he plans to keep that person atop his lineup most days. He’s just not revealing yet who that person is, certainly not until he’s had an opportunity to discuss it with both Trea Turner and Adam Eaton, the two obvious candidates. “These are

Scherzer strikes out 12 in final tune-up before opener

JUPITER, Fla. - Max Scherzer had been sitting in the dugout for a while in the top of the seventh, his Nationals teammates having sent seven men to the plate during a rally that included a mid-inning pitching change. It was a long wait, but Scherzer really wanted to pitch the bottom of the seventh and end his outing on a high note. Which he

Sipp confident he’ll be ready for opener (Nats tie 5-5)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Tony Sipp is confident he’ll be ready to face big league hitters in big situations on opening day. Even if he doesn’t face a big league hitter in spring training. Sipp, who didn’t sign with the Nationals until March 13, faced live hitters for the first time Thursday, throwing 15 pitches and emerging feeling good about the state of his

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Marlins in Jupiter

JUPITER, Fla. - As the days tick down on spring training, the days of lineups featuring backups and minor leaguers dwindle as well. Case in point: For the second straight night, the Nationals are using all of their regulars. There are only a couple minor tweaks from last night’s lineup: Matt Adams is playing first base and batting sixth, with Ryan Zimmerman serving as DH

Friday morning Nats Q&A

All right, we’re down to the wire now, folks. The Nationals have three more game days here in Florida, then fly home Sunday night, then face the Yankees in D.C. on Monday, then get two days to rest up before the season opener against the Mets. There’s another night game to be played this evening against the Marlins in Jupiter, so that frees us up

Doolittle returns to form, Hellickson wraps up strong spring

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It had been five days since Sean Doolittle last took the mound in a game, and the Nationals closer had spent much of those five days trying to figure out what went wrong during a five-run meltdown and how to correct it. But as soon as he fired his first pitch tonight, a 91-mph strike, Doolittle knew things were going

Sipp, Kendrick likely to stay in Florida extra days (Nats win 7-1)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals head north Sunday night following their Grapefruit League finale. Tony Sipp and Howie Kendrick might not make the trip, though both will be in Washington for opening day. With Sipp and Kendrick each hurriedly trying to get ready in time to make the opening day roster but running out of time to return to game action, the Nationals

Taylor not surprised by quick progress from leg injuries

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Michael A. Taylor plans to take batting practice today, play catch from long-toss range and run on the synthetic agility field that sits outside the Nationals’ spring training complex. He’ll be doing this exactly one week after he sprained both his left knee and hip making a diving catch, an injury and diagnosis that prompted manager Davey Martinez to declare

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals (ss) in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - After a day off, the Nationals return rested and refreshed for a night game against a Cardinals split-squad. And since everyone’s rested and refreshed, all the regulars are in the lineup. Davey Martinez has been tinkering with both one-two combos, alternating between Adam Eaton and Trea Turner. He hasn’t made up his mind yet how he’ll arrange things for opening

What’s left to decide as camp reaches the home stretch?

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - I think we can officially say we’ve reached the home stretch. Following yesterday’s off-day, the Nationals now have only four more game days here in Florida before heading north for Monday’s final exhibition against the Yankees in D.C. Opening day against the Mets is exactly one week away. So, yes, this is the home stretch of spring training. Which means

Boring camp to date is exactly what Nationals needed

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals are off today. It’s only their second off-day of the entire spring. Which makes this a good time to hit the pause button and reflect on what has taken place in the five weeks since pitchers and catchers first reported. Are there any conclusions that can be drawn yet? Here’s one: This has been an awfully boring camp.

After long, rainy trip, Sánchez happy with start vs. Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The only thing drearier than the forecast was the prospect of the five-hour round trip from West Palm Beach for an exhibition game that might not even be played if the rain didn’t let up. “Yeah, everybody was worrying about that,” Aníbal Sánchez said. “Especially hearing the team was driving many hours to be here. It’s really uncomfortable for both

Weather pushes back prep for Kendrick, Sipp (Nats win 3-2)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - As the clock ticks down on spring training, Howie Kendrick and Tony Sipp are running out of time to make it onto the opening day roster. But they’re not entirely out of time yet, and there remains optimism at least one of the two veterans will be ready for next Thursday’s season opener against the Mets. Kendrick appears to face

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Braves in Lake Buena Vista

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Hello from Walt Disney World. This is the last time the Nationals are ever scheduled to come here, with the Braves relocating to North Port (on the Gulf Coast) next spring, and they may not even get a chance to make that five-hour round trip worth it because it’s been raining all day. No word yet on the status of

On Zimmerman’s running, Barrett’s return and Gonzalez’s signing

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - There weren’t a whole lot of positives to come out of the Nationals’ 7-1 exhibition loss to the Marlins yesterday, but if you squinted hard enough you might have come away finding a few developments worth smiling about. For example: Ryan Zimmerman’s baserunning. This isn’t typically something that gets noticed, good or bad, but something noteworthy did happen during the

Relievers Hoover, Cordero among today’s roster cuts

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals made another round of cuts following today’s split-squad games, trimming their camp roster by six. Optioned to Triple-A Fresno were right-handers Austin Voth, Jimmy Cordero, Kyle McGowin and Tanner Rainey. Re-assigned to minor league camp were right-hander J.J. Hoover and outfielder Hunter Jones. The moves bring more clarity to the few remaining competitions for spots on the opening

Corbin shakes off first-inning struggles

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Patrick Corbin has allowed 12 runs so far in 18 innings this spring, but more notable is the fact seven of those runs have been scored in the first inning of his starts. It’s not uncommon for pitchers, especially the elite ones, to have more trouble in the first inning than any other frame. But this isn’t common territory for

Taylor playing catch, hitting off tee days after injury (Nats lose 7-1)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Only three days after his manager said he expected him to miss “a significant amount of time,” Michael A. Taylor was back playing catch and taking light swings this morning at the Nationals’ spring training complex, suggesting his sprained left knee and hip aren’t as seriously hurt as initially feared. Mirroring the light workout he revealed he went through Sunday,

Split-squad lineups: Nats vs. Marlins and Mets

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Split-squad games are a rite of spring training, but the Nationals haven’t had one yet this year. That changes today, when half the team hosts the Marlins in West Palm Beach and the other half travels to Port St. Lucie to face the Mets (weather permitting). Fortunately we’ve got tag team coverage right now: I’ll be writing about the home

Strasburg fine facing Mets, Soto stays hot, Taylor starts rehab

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals and Mets faced each other today in West Palm Beach, and they’ll face each other again Sunday in Port St. Lucie. More importantly, they’ll face each other six times in the season’s first two weeks, dates that are rapidly approaching. It’s not uncommon in that scenario for starting pitchers to elect not to take the mound for these

Martinez hasn’t chosen opening day catcher yet (Nats win 10-5)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Davey Martinez hasn’t decided yet who his starting catcher will be on opening day. The manager has said all spring he intends to get both Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki regular playing time and have them split the job, and the opening day assignment is no different. Both catchers have worked with Max Scherzer over the last month. And both

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Mets in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals managed to avoid the rain yesterday and play their full exhibition game against the Cardinals. They’ll try to do the same today against the Mets, with the forecast again iffy. Stephen Strasburg makes his fourth start of the spring. He’s been very good to date: two runs allowed in 10 2/3 innings, with 13 strikeouts. He’ll face a

Braves GM’s faith in Sánchez ultimately lands pitcher in D.C.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Alex Anthopoulos first fell in love with Aníbal Sánchez in December 2012, when the then-Blue Jays general manager flew to Miami to court the then-free agent pitcher. Over the course of two days, Anthopoulos met Sánchez and his wife, dined at Joe’s Stone Crab and became convinced this was a pitcher he needed on his roster. “I was just really

Doolittle gets a much-needed “wakeup call” with blown save

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It’s easy to take Sean Doolittle for granted, because he’s been so automatic for the Nationals when healthy the last 1 1/2 seasons. Maybe Doolittle even takes himself for granted sometimes, especially during a spring in which he had retired 12 of the 13 batters he had faced before taking the mound in the ninth inning this afternoon. The left-hander

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It’s a gray morning here in South Florida, and there appears to be rain in the forecast this afternoon. No idea yet if it will impact today’s Nationals exhibition game against the Cardinals, but it is something to keep an eye on. Max Scherzer would certainly like to make his start as scheduled, his penultimate start of the spring before

Hot bats mean cool treats for Nationals

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - During these dog days of spring training, when the bus rides feel longer than usual and opening day is still just too far away to get excited about, some extra motivation is sometimes needed. So Davey Martinez made a promise to the young players who made the long trip to Fort Myers on Thursday: score 10 or more runs, and

Taylor will miss “significant” time with sprained knee, hip

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - This morning’s MRI of Michael A. Taylor’s left leg revealed both a sprained knee and hip, and the Nationals outfielder is going to miss a “significant” amount of time while recovering, according to manager Davey Martinez. “It stinks,” Martinez said following the Nats’ 11-3 exhibition victory over the Mets. “It’s a little bit more than we were hoping for. But

Just-signed Sipp ready to face multiple challenges (Nats win 11-3)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Tony Sipp arrived at Nationals camp Thursday and immediately threw his first bullpen session with the club that signed him to a $1 million contract the previous day. He hasn’t faced any live hitters yet, obviously hasn’t appeared in any spring training games and certainly hasn’t appeared in back-to-back games, all hurdles he’ll need to cross before joining the Nats’

Taylor getting MRI on injured knee and hip

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Michael A. Taylor is getting an MRI on both his left knee and left hip today, leaving the Nationals to potentially cope with a thin outfield following Thursday’s injury on a diving catch in Fort Myers. Taylor hurt himself diving to snag a Byron Buxton drive to right-center during the Nationals’ 10-4 exhibition victory over the Twins, revealing today the

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

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - It was pouring in West Palm Beach this morning, but the forecast is dry only 51 miles north at Mets camp, where the Nationals face their division rivals this afternoon. It’s mostly regulars in the Nats lineup, but there’s one interesting twist: Matt Adams in starting in left field for the first time this spring. Davey Martinez just revealed Michael

Fedde makes most of lone opportunity to start this spring

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Nationals don’t make many long spring training road trips anymore, not since relocating headquarters from remote Viera to more accessible West Palm Beach. So the few 2 1/2-hour bus rides they still have on the schedule each spring tend to elicit more substantial groans from everyone involved. Not everyone, though, was upset to ride the bus all the way across

Taylor injures left knee making diving catch (updated)

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Michael A. Taylor was forced to prematurely depart today’s exhibition game in the third inning, shortly after the Nationals center fielder injured his left knee making a diving catch. Taylor’s impressive catch of Byron Buxton’s second-inning drive to right-center drew oohs and applause from the crowd at the Twins’ spring training complex, but the reaction turned quiet as Taylor remained on

Will Sipp and Kendrick be ready for opening day? (Nats win 10-4)

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Nationals plan for both Tony Sipp and Howie Kendrick to hold significant roles on their roster this season. The question, with two weeks to go, is whether either will be on the opening day roster. Sipp, whose signing of a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2020 was officially announced today, has thrown only one bullpen session so far,

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Twins in Fort Myers

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Hello from the Gulf Coast side of the state. The Nationals have traveled across Alligator Alley for only the second time this spring, this time to face the Twins. This is Aníbal Sánchez’s day to pitch, but the veteran elected to stay back in West Palm Beach and face minor leaguers on one of the back fields. So it’ll be Erick

Projecting the 25-man roster with two weeks to go

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - We are, believe it or not, only two weeks away from opening day. Yes, a mere 14 days from now Max Scherzer will be taking the mound at Nationals Park to face Jacob deGrom and the Mets in the opener not only of a potentially dramatic season but of a potentially dramatic first two weeks to the season. The Nationals

On the Eaton-Turner-Soto lineup, Corbin’s start and more

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Thoughts, observations and quotes from the Nationals’ 8-4 victory over the Braves today ... * Though he has been touting the Trea Turner-Adam Eaton 1-2 combo atop his lineup for the last week-plus, Davey Martinez has flip-flopped the duo in each of the last two games they’ve started. And today offered some evidence of the benefits of that arrangement. Eaton

Rizzo on Sipp: “He’s a really good value for us” (Nats win 8-4)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals had been interested in Tony Sipp all winter, but it took until this morning before they and the veteran left-hander could agree to terms on a contract. Sipp, who in 2016 got a three-year, $18 million contract from the Astros, waited out the market, hoping for a significant contract. In the end, he settled for a one-year deal

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Braves in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It’s been a busy morning already around here, with the Nationals having just signed veteran lefty Tony Sipp to a one-year contract and having apparently made some cuts from big league camp as well. (Saw at least four guys cleaning out their lockers earlier, but nothing has been officially announced yet.) There’s also a game to be played this afternoon,

Source: Nats adding veteran lefty Sipp to bullpen

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals are bringing in an experienced left-handed reliever after all. The Nats have agreed to terms with veteran Tony Sipp on a one-year contract with an option for 2020, a source familiar with the deal confirmed. Sipp, 35, will need to pass a physical before the contract is official, but he’s expected to report to spring training within the

Older, wiser Strasburg less worried about velocity than in past

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It’s the simplest pitch in baseball. A first-pitch fastball, preferably taken for strike one. But it’s also the most predictable pitch in baseball. And it has burned Stephen Strasburg enough times over the years to convince him to start trying something different. So during his Tuesday night outing against the Astros, Strasburg often eschewed that first-pitch fastball and instead opened

Kieboom enjoys two-homer night vs. Verlander

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Carter Kieboom stepped to the plate in the bottom of the second tonight, dug in and stared out at a pitcher who needed no introduction. Yes, that was Justin Verlander, future Hall of Famer, preparing to deliver a pitch to Kieboom, potential future infielder for the Nationals. The gap in experience was striking: When Verlander made his first career World

Union chief says players are “engaged and unified” (Nats win 5-3)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - As he has traveled across Arizona and Florida this spring, Tony Clark has spoken with players from countless ballclubs that were criticized for a lack of spending during the offseason. When he walked into the Nationals clubhouse today, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association found a group of players who shouldn’t have had as much reason

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Astros in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals have another night game this evening, one of five on the schedule this spring. And this one is worthy of a primetime matchup, because it’s Stephen Strasburg versus Justin Verlander. Strasburg makes his third Grapefruit League start, and he has yet to surrender a run in six innings of work. He’ll look to continue that run tonight and

Tuesday morning Nats Q&A

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals have another night game this evening, so that means there’s some free time this morning. And since it’s been a while since we did one of these, how about we take advantage of the free time for a spring training version of the Q&A? Submit your questions in the comments section below, then check back for my answers.

Scherzer extends to 75 pitches, officially gets opening day nod

JUPITER, Fla. - The question didn’t really need to be asked, and the answer didn’t really need to be given. But at this point, with 2 1/2 weeks to go, Davey Martinez figured he might as well make it official. “I’m going to go out on a limb today and tell you that Max will be our opening day starter,” the manager said this afternoon

Kendrick resumes light work but faces tight timeline (Nats lose 3-2)

JUPITER, Fla. - Though his chances of returning from a strained left hamstring in time to make the Nationals’ opening day roster are questionable, Howie Kendrick is beginning to take some steps toward his return. Kendrick, who hurt himself running down the first base line six days ago, has begun riding a stationary bicycle and taking swings in the batting cage. Those are merely the

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in Jupiter

JUPITER, Fla. - There’s nothing at stake this afternoon at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, but fans will be treated to a very nice spring training matchup featuring a whole lot of big names. Max Scherzer makes his fourth start of the spring, and he’ll be going up against a Cardinals lineup loaded with regulars. That means Matt Carpenter, Paul Goldschmidt, Marcell Ozuna, José Martínez, Yadier

Garcia dazzles, Miller returns, Rosenthal survives

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - More thoughts and observations from Sunday’s 6-4 exhibition victory over the Astros ... * Teenage prospect Luis Garcia finally had the breakout game many had been waiting to see all spring, and it indeed was something to see. Garcia, the 18-year-old shortstop who is the youngest player in any big league camp this spring, hadn’t made a lot of noise

Quick-pitching Hellickson finding early spring success

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Pitching is about disrupting a hitter’s timing, which traditionally is done via the changing of pitch speeds. But it can’t hurt to try changing the speed of the actual delivery to the plate, which is exactly what Jeremy Hellickson is up to this spring. Owner of a fastball that tops out at 90 mph, the Nationals right-hander knows he needs

Sanchez getting first chance in outfield today (Nats win 6-4)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Adrián Sanchez has already proven himself a valuable fill-in when the Nationals need help in the infield. Now he’s trying to prove himself capable of filling in when the Nats need outfield assistance. Sanchez is starting in left field this afternoon, his first foray into the outfield this spring but possibly not his last. With veteran second baseman/left fielder Howie

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Astros in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It’s a quick turnaround for the Nationals, who following last night’s 2-1 loss to the Marlins lost an hour due to daylight saving time and now are right back to work today against the Astros. At least they don’t have to travel anywhere for this “road” game against their ballpark mates. Jeremy Hellickson gets the start, and he has been

Martinez may give Scherzer, Strasburg extra rest in April

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Don’t just assume you’re going to get that blockbuster Max Scherzer vs. Bryce Harper matchup in the latter’s return to Washington as a visiting player. Tempting as it may be to send Scherzer (and then Stephen Strasburg) to the mound for the Nationals’ April 2-3 games against Harper and the Phillies, manager Davey Martinez might decide to take advantage of

Sánchez impresses with parade of ground balls (Nats lose 2-1)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - This is exactly what the Nationals had in mind when they signed Aníbal Sánchez this winter. A bunch of zeroes on the scoreboard. A bunch of different types of pitches thrown at different speeds. And a bunch of groundball outs. Whether Sánchez can carry the success he enjoyed tonight in a Grapefruit League outing against the Marlins into a regular

Solís caught “completely off-guard” by abrupt release

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Sammy Solís’ long and often erratic tenure with the Nationals came to an abrupt conclusion this afternoon when the organization that drafted the left-hander nine years ago gave him his unconditional release. Manager Davey Martinez explained the timing of the move as a reflection of the depth of other bullpen arms currently in camp, but there also was financial incentive

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

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Hello again from FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. I’m back here for the remainder of the spring. Many thanks to Pete Kerzel for filling in during my mid-camp break. Just arrived at the ballpark and there’s already significant news to report: Sammy Solís has been unconditionally released. While this may seem to come out of the blue for many,

Back in D.C., Adams relishes role as a clubhouse leader

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Matt Adams isn’t sure how many offers his agent fielded this offseason. When all was said and done, there was really only one place Adams wanted to go. “I wanted to come back here,” said Adams, who re-signed with the Nationals on Dec. 18. “How quickly they reached out to my agent and presented the offer, there was mutual interest

Corbin changes things up, rebounds after rocky start to set tone

JUPITER, Fla. - Take away the first five Cardinals batters faced by Nationals pitching - all reaching base via hit, erasing a 2-0 deficit - and Davey Martinez would have spent his postgame press briefing talking about a day filled with dominant mound efforts. As it was, the Nationals were still pretty good - even starter Patrick Corbin, whose brief struggle with locating his fastball

Read, Bourque are among Nats’ first spring cuts (Cards win 3-2)

JUPITER, Fla. - The Nationals made their first cuts of camp this morning, and there were no real surprises among the seven players trimmed from the spring roster. Catcher Raudy Read was optioned to Triple-A Fresno, while right-hander James Bourque was optioned to Double-A Harrisburg. Five other players were reassigned to minor league camp: right-handers Ronald Peña and Wil Crowe, first baseman-outfielder José Marmolejos, catcher

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in Jupiter

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Patrick Corbin, who signed a six-year, $140 million deal with the Nationals in the offseason, has come as advertised. The southpaw makes his third Grapefruit League start this afternoon against the Cardinals in Jupiter, and he’s yet to allow an earned run over five innings. In two outings, Corbin has surrendered three hits, hasn’t walked a batter and has struck

Hard-throwing Rainey trying to slow things down

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Velocity has been Tanner Rainey’s calling card. Pitchers capable of throwing 100 mph tend to get noticed, and it was the right-hander’s radar gun readings that made him attractive to the Nationals, who swapped righty Tanner Roark to the Reds at the Winter Meetings to acquire him. So why is Rainey spending spring training trying to slow things down? Like

Strasburg labors early, then goes longer than expected in 6-4 win

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg expected to pitch three innings today. That was the plan. Three times up and down. And when he extended himself with a 27-pitch first inning against the Mets, he had little room for error if he was going to reach his goal. So imagine the right-hander’s surprise when he got to the dugout after working three innings and

MRI shows Kendrick has hamstring strain (Nats win 6-4)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - An MRI on Howie Kendrick’s left hamstring confirmed the original diagnosis of a strain, and Nationals manager Davey Martinez is hopeful the versatile veteran can rehabilitate the injury and be ready for opening day. “MRI came back and it’s what they expected, a mild strain,” Martinez said. “He’s going to be day to day. It’ll probably take him a little

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Mets in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - For a spring training game, we’ve got a pretty nice pitching matchup in today’s Grapefruit League battle between the Nationals and Mets at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg makes his second spring start for the Nats and will be opposed by Mets righty Jacob deGrom. Manager Davey Martinez hopes to get Strasburg up and down three

Work ethic getting Kieboom noticed in first major league camp

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It’s 8:20 a.m. on a sweltering March morning, not a hint of breeze to cool the baking sun and the temperatures on their way into the upper 80s. Carter Kieboom grabs a bat out of his locker stall, checks the morning hitting assignments and pops out of the back clubhouse door at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. While some

Where the center field battle between Robles and Taylor stands

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - As spring training competitions go, the center field battle between veteran Michael A. Taylor and top prospect Victor Robles in Nationals camp is a doozy. And with a little more than two weeks left in camp, there’s no clear-cut leader. If all things were equal, the Nationals would seem to prefer that Robles, 21, seize the opportunity. If not for

Kendrick and Scherzer shake off missteps in 8-4 defeat

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Spring training inevitably contains missteps and injuries. The Nationals had been lucky enough to avoid both - until today. Their 8-4 loss Tuesday afternoon didn’t hurt as much watching Howie Kendrick pull up lame and limp back to the dugout with a left hamstring strain in the third inning or seeing Max Scherzer labor against a Red Sox lineup populated

Miller’s injury muddles middle relief for Nats (Nats lose 8-4)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Right now, the strained lower back muscle that’s sidelined right-hander Justin Miller has been treated like a minor injury. But it’s one that could have major ramifications for the Nationals bullpen. Miller complained about the problem, which delayed his spring debut until Saturday. And after pitching an inning against the Twins, he still had a problem with lower back soreness.

Now that he trusts fastball, Bourque must focus on commanding it

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - James Bourque’s epiphany came in fall instructional league when the Nationals devised a plan to force him to learn to trust his fastball. “They took the breaking ball away from me,” he said. “They said they wanted to see just fastball/changeup.” When minor league pitching coordinator Paul Menhart delivered the news, Bourque wasn’t sure what to make of it. “The

Starting lineups: Nationals vs. Red Sox in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - You’ll notice something a little different today about the starting lineup for the Nationals in their game on MASN against the Red Sox. Max Scherzer is pitching. But for the first time this season, he’ll also wield a bat in anger, becoming the first Nats pitcher to hit in a game. Up until this point, the Nats have employed a

Hellickson working on slider, quick-pitch delivery

JUPITER, Fla. - Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson is embracing the notion that spring training is a time to test out new things. One he’s growing pretty comfortable with, the other remains a work in progress. During his three-inning stint this afternoon in a 9-8 loss to the Marlins, Hellickson got more comfortable with a quick-pitch windup designed to keep hitters used to his more deliberate delivery

Martinez on rotation depth, Doolittle, Miller (Nats lose 9-8)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Everyone knows the Nationals have a powerful starting rotation - so long as the top five starting pitchers remain healthy. But what about the rotation depth? Manager Davey Martinez likes what he sees so far, and thinks there are enough pitchers to form a decent starting five at Triple-A Fresno plus back up the rotation in D.C. “I like where

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Marlins at Jupiter

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Jeremy Hellickson faces the Marlins this afternoon, his second start of the spring. In his first Grapefruit League outing on Feb. 27 against the Astros, Hellickson went two scoreless innings, allowing a hit, a walk and striking out three. Ryan Zimmerman is back at first base today, and under manager Davey Martinez’s plan of playing him every other game, the

Unclear future not weighing down focused Stevenson

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - His future with the Nationals is about as clear as a mud bog in his hometown of Lafayette, La. - and that’s perfectly OK with Andrew Stevenson. Bring up the subject of playing time and the talented outfielders who are ahead of him in the organizational pecking order, and the soft-spoken Stevenson doesn’t really mince words. “It’s tough to say,”

On the Nationals’ interest in signing Craig Kimbrel

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Though the Nationals are interested in signing Craig Kimbrel, they must overcome a significant hurdle before inking a deal with the free agent closer. Sources have confirmed that the Nationals front office would like to add Kimbrel to serve as their ninth-inning arm, but such a move would require ownership approval because a contract would eclipse the luxury tax threshold.

Martinez appreciates the way Sánchez battles through adversity

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The fly ball off the bat of the Astros’ Michael Brantley sailed into short left-center field, no man’s land in the middle of three Nationals trying to make a play. But it dropped between left fielder Juan Soto, shortstop Trea Turner and center fielder Victor Robles for a one-out, first-inning single instead of a hustling out recorded. After Carlos Correa’s

Martinez on rotation, plus other notes (Nats win 4-2)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It’s only spring, but Aníbal Sánchez will be trying to keep up a most impressive streak by the Nationals rotation in today’s game against the Astros. The Nats’ presumed five starters - right-handers Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Sánchez and Jeremy Hellickson, and left-hander Patrick Corbin - have allowed just one earned run in 16 innings covering seven starts. Nats starters

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Astros at West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Right-hander Aníbal Sánchez makes his second start of the spring schedule when the Nationals entertain the Astros this afternoon at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. In his first outing, Feb. 26 against the Cardinals, Sánchez threw two hitless innings, walking one and striking out one. Anthony Rendon gets today off, with Howie Kendrick taking over at third base. Kendrick

Grace ready to build on breakthrough campaign

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A breakthrough season in 2018 has pretty much cemented left-hander Matt Grace’s place in the Nationals bullpen. Now the durable lefty is doing everything he can to keep his spot. “Just keep looking for what’s next in that next level,” Grace said. “Talk to guys like Max (Scherzer) and stuff like that. It’s a never-ending pursuit of how you figure

Zimmerman, Martinez and Corbin speak after 10-6 victory

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It didn’t take long for the ball to find first baseman Ryan Zimmerman after he took the field for his thrice-delayed debut in Grapefruit League play. In the first inning he was on the back end of a 5-4-3 double play and then snagged a throw from shortstop Carter Kieboom to end the inning. In the second, Patrick Corbin got

Martinez on plan for Zimmerman, plus other notes (Nats win 10-6)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Now that he’s finally in the lineup, has Nationals manager Davey Martinez devised a plan for how much first baseman Ryan Zimmerman will play for the rest of camp? He has, and though he’ll discuss it with Zimmerman later today, Martinez doesn’t sound like he’ll be deviating from what he’s planned for the veteran. So far, he’s not talking in

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

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Ryan Zimmerman is in the Nationals lineup today against the Twins, the first time this spring he’s played in a Grapefruit League game. He’s hitting fourth and playing first base. Zimmerman was supposed to make his debut Wednesday, but was scratched when he came down with a bug that’s been making its way through the clubhouse. It took him a

Eaton’s path to playing time is finally wide open

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - There were times last season when Adam Eaton would slice a ball into the gap and briefly forget that trying to stretch a double into a triple might not be the best of ideas, given his surgically repaired ankle. When speed has been your calling card, learning to rein it in can be a challenge. After rehabbing from a grisly

Strasburg pleased with mechanical focus in first spring outing

JUPITER, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg has been through enough spring trainings to understand that maximum effort doesn’t always yield the most desired results. He’s seen plenty of pitchers use their first game action of the spring to amp themselves up to the point that their mechanics suffer even if the radar gun readings rise. So in his first outing against Grapefruit League competition on Friday,

Notes on Zimmerman, Strasburg and McKeon (Nats win 5-4)

JUPITER, Fla. - Ryan Zimmerman seems to have weathered the worst of the illness making its way through the Nationals clubhouse, and the first baseman is staying back in camp in West Palm Beach today to go through drills. Manager Davey Martinez said that if Zimmerman gets through today’s action without any issues, he should play Saturday when the Nats host the Twins in Grapefruit

Clubhouse reaction to Harper signing with Phillies

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals have had some time to digest the 13-year, $330 million deal that free agent Bryce Harper landed with the Phillies, and they’re both happy for their former teammate and eager for the competition that the megadeal creates in what has become a much tougher National League East. “Man, it’s awesome,” third baseman Anthony Rendon said Friday morning at

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Marlins in Jupiter

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg will make his first Grapefruit League start this afternoon when the Nationals travel up Interstate 95 to nearby Jupiter to face the Marlins. Strasburg is the final member of the Nats’ presumed starting rotation to take a spring turn. The lineup for today’s game again does not contain first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who was supposed to play in

The inevitable end of the Bryce Harper era in Washington

This day, in spite of what his most ardent fans hoped, was always bound to come. From the moment the Nationals drafted him No. 1 in the country nearly nine years ago, folks began speculating where Bryce Harper would end up playing once he became a free agent. Would it be New York, home to the most historically successful franchise and some of the most

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