The calendar hasn’t even flipped to September, but Major League Baseball is already thinking ahead to spring training 2020.
The Nationals’ Grapefruit League schedule was released this afternoon, and includes 31 dates - 15 home games at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Fla., and 16 road games.
Of course, since the Astros and Nationals share the same home field for spring games, some of those road games require no travel. That’s the case for the spring opener, when the Astros host the Nationals in West Palm Beach on Saturday, Feb. 22, the first of six meetings between the neighbors.
The Astros return the favor, serving as the visiting team for the Nationals home exhibition opener on Sunday, Feb. 23.
The Nationals are just 15 minutes from Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, home of the Marlins and Cardinals. The host the Marlins three times and play them four times in Jupiter, while facing the Cardinals four time, two games each at home and on the road.
Other highlights of the spring schedule include home-and-home games with the Yankees (at Tampa on Feb. 26 and at home on March 12) and Orioles (home on March 3 and at Sarasota on March 17). This is the first time in years the Orioles and Nationals have met during spring training.
The Grapefruit League slate also matches the Nationals against the Mets five times (three home games), includes home-and-home meetings with the Tigers and features a visit by the Rays.
The Nats’ final game in Florida is scheduled for Sunday, March 22 against the Cardinals.
One team that is absent from the Nationals’ list of opponents for the first time in memory is the Braves, who have moved from the Disney complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to a new facility in North Port, Fla,. in Sarasota County.
You can view the Nationals’ Grapefruit League schedule here.