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Home confinement re-watch: 2019 NLCS Game 4

They packed themselves into Nationals Park, nearly 44,000 strong, for a party 86 years in the making. They came to watch a major league team from Washington win a pennant for the first time since 1933. And when the home ballclub stormed out to a 7-0 lead after one inning, all that was left for everyone to do was count down the outs until it

Florida complex closed to Nats while serving as testing site

The few Nationals players and staffers who remain in West Palm Beach, Fla., are no longer allowed to use the club’s spring training complex. FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches has become a testing site for the coronavirus, according to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, which has forced the 13 players and handful of staffers who had been utilizing the facility to stay in their

Home confinement re-watch: 2019 NLCS Game 3

Postseason games at Nationals Park, generally speaking, have not been celebratory events. They’re usually loaded with tension, usually involve contests that go right down to the ninth inning (or more), and usually see the home team desperate to win and keep its season alive. That was the typical scene for the first 14 postseason games played on South Capitol Street, beginning with Game 3 of

Home confinement re-watch: 2019 NLCS Game 2

Remember that time a Nationals starting pitcher flirted with a no-hitter in the National League Championship Series in St. Louis? No, not the first time it happened. The second time it happened. The very next day. Of all the remarkable things the Nats did during their postseason run last October, the back-to-back no-hit bids by Aníbal Sánchez and Max Scherzer certainly deserve to sit high

Home confinement re-watch: 2019 NLCS Game 1

Because the wild card game, the National League Division Series and the World Series were so dramatic, with the Nationals fighting off elimination five times along the way, the NL Championship Series kind of gets lost in the shuffle when you think back to the 2019 postseason. We know the Nats swept the Cardinals in four straight. They never even trailed at any point in

MASN to rebroadcast every Nationals win from 2019 postseason

If you want to re-watch the Nationals’ dramatic run to their first World Series title on television, here’s your chance. MASN will be broadcasting all 12 of the Nats’ postseason victories, plus the championship parade, during the first two weeks of April. It all begins Thursday at 1 p.m., exactly when the Nationals were supposed to raise their banner before facing the Mets in their

Reports: MLB, union agree to salary, service time, draft changes

For those wondering about the postseason re-watch articles, we’ll get back to that tomorrow, with four straight days of the National League Championship Series. But first, there was some baseball news late last night, with Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreeing to a bunch of new provisions to account for the disrupted 2020 season. Multiple outlets reported that player representatives from all

Nationals option two players to Fresno, four more to Harrisburg

They didn’t have to submit an official 26-man roster for opening day this morning, but the Nationals did make a series of transactions, procedural moves that involved the optioning of six players off the major league spring training roster. Right-hander Erick Fedde and catcher Tres Barrera were both optioned to Triple-A Fresno, the club announced. Four more players were optioned to Double-A Harrisburg: right-handers James

Lack of opening day brings a whole new appreciation for it

What will you be doing today at 1:10 p.m.? Will you turn on your television, hoping beyond hope to see Trea Turner stepping to the plate to face Jacob deGrom at sold-out Citi Field? Maybe this has all been a bad dream, a two-week-long nightmare that we’ll all wake up from just in time to watch the 2020 Major League Baseball season begin as scheduled.

Nationals trivia quiz: Opening day

The re-watch of the 2019 postseason has been a blast - thank you to everyone who has reached out to say how much they’ve enjoyed it - but it’s also pretty time consuming. I mean, you really want me to watch an entire baseball game and then write a full article about it 17 times? What do you think I am, a baseball beat writer?

Home confinement re-watch: 2019 NLDS Game 5

As the final countdown to first pitch proceeded Oct. 9, two thoughts came to mind: * This felt awfully familiar for the Nationals, yet another winner-take-all Game 5 of the National League Division Series. * This felt strikingly different from those previous Game 5 fiascos, because this time the Nats were on the road and underdogs to their opponents. In the end, of course, the

Home confinement re-watch: 2019 NLDS Game 4

The vibe inside Nationals Park early on during Game 4 of last fall’s National League Division Series did not suggest the assembled masses were optimistic there would be a Game 5. An odd 6:40 p.m. first pitch on a Monday night with rain in the forecast and the home team facing elimination led to the first non-sellout in the ballpark’s postseason history. Game 3 the

Home confinement re-watch: 2019 NLDS Game 3

I’ll admit I didn’t remember much about Game 3 of the National League Division Series. I remembered it was a blowout. I remembered Aníbal Sánchez started and then Patrick Corbin had a disastrous night in relief. I remembered it was the last time the Nationals wore anything other than their navy blue alternate jerseys. (They wore white.) But that’s about all I remembered before re-watching

Home confinement re-watch: 2019 NLDS Game 2

Confession time: My favorite game of the 2019 postseason wasn’t the wild card game. It wasn’t Game 5 of the National League Division Series. It wasn’t the pennant clincher over the Cardinals. And it wasn’t Game 6 or 7 of the World Series in Houston. It was Game 2 of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium. Seriously. This was an absolutely fantastic ballgame, overstuffed with star

Group of 13 players still in West Palm Beach, none tested

Thirteen Nationals players, plus general manager Mike Rizzo, manager Davey Martinez and a skeleton crew of coaches, doctors, trainers and conditioning staff continue to ride out the coronavirus pandemic in West Palm Beach, Fla., though all have been instructed to take steps to ensure social distancing in an effort to prevent spread of the virus. Rizzo, who said three players and other staffers are now

Home confinement re-watch: 2019 NLDS Game 1

The Nationals’ run last October, when viewed in its entirety, was thrilling. That doesn’t mean every single game along the way matched that description. There were a few clunkers mixed into those 17 postseason games. And maybe the biggest clunker of them all came only 48 hours after the euphoric National League wild card win over the Brewers. Flying high from that dramatic victory, the

Home confinement re-watch: 2019 NL wild card game

There’s no baseball to watch right now, at least no live baseball. And there’s not going to be any for a while. So how do we get our fix during this most unusual time in our lives? We watch old baseball games. There’s a whole treasure trove of classic games available out there. And at some point, we might just get to them all. But

Nationals will donate $1 million to pay ballpark workers

Among those who immediately realized they would be affected by last week’s suspension of spring training and delayed start to the baseball season were the workers at ballparks across America, those who rely on game days for steady income and now face weeks or even months without that assurance. On Tuesday, Major League Baseball and its clubs took the first step toward ensuring those people

Coming to grips with this new reality

This was supposed to be the start of the final countdown to opening day. The last week of spring training, with decisions looming on the starting third baseman, the No. 5 starter, a spot or two in the bullpen and maybe a spot on the bench. The Nationals were going to head north after this Sunday’s Grapefruit League finale, make a brief stop in D.C.

Nats may have to break up camp under new guidelines

How many Nationals players are staying in West Palm Beach, Fla., during the coronavirus crisis, and what will their workouts look like? The answers to those questions have changed seemingly every day since Major League Baseball announced the halting of all spring training games Thursday. At first, the entire team intended to stay in place and continue to hold full-squad workouts - and maybe even

Strickland’s release opens door for others to make roster

It may feel trivial to discuss baseball right now, but even as the sport sits in hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Nationals made some baseball decisions Saturday. And so it’s appropriate to discuss baseball matters. The club cut 13 players from major league camp. Twelve of those players (inlcuding pitchers Dakota Bacus, Bryan Bonnell, Wil Crowe, Aaron Barrett, Ben Braymer, Kyle McGowin and

An attempt to answer some pressing questions

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - These are strange times. Strange times with no real road maps to consult. Major League Baseball has dealt with work stoppages before, but those were strikes or lockouts or a one-week hiatus following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. This is quite different. It’s tempting right now to try to project what’s going to happen in two weeks or two

Though free to leave, many Nats plan to stay and work out

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Though Major League Baseball officially announced the immediate suspension of all spring training operations this evening, many Nationals players intend to remain here and conduct informal workouts during baseball’s coronavirus-induced hiatus. MLB and the MLB Players Association, after meeting earlier today, jointly informed clubs that players are being encouraged to travel to either the team’s home city or their own

Friday morning Nats Q&A

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Well, we’ve officially entered uncharted waters here. Spring training has been suspended, the start of the regular season delayed at least two weeks (and quite possibly more) due to the coronavirus pandemic. Anyone who insists he or she knows how this is going to proceed does not know how this is going to proceed. Nobody does. For now, teams are

After weekend off, Nats will remain in Florida and work out

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals took the field this afternoon knowing this almost certainly was going to be their last Grapefruit League game for a while. What they didn’t know was how they were going to pass the time until their next game - whenever that takes place. Following their 6-3 loss to the Yankees before a sellout crowd of 8,043 at FITTEAM

Spring games called, season delayed at least two weeks (updated)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals and Yankees are underway, with the first sellout crowd of the spring packed into FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches to watch this exhibition game. How long this game continues, though, is very much in question. As sporting events around the country are canceled due to the coronavirus, Major League Baseball reportedly is on the verge of suspending

Lineups: Nats vs. Yankees in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - They are playing today at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. As of this moment. As we’ve seen, these things can change very quickly. For now, the Nationals are set to face the Yankees, with a sellout crowd expected. Friendly reminder: They may be wearing New York Yankees uniforms, but most of these guys are likely to open the season

As events unfold in rapid fire, MLB has decision to make

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Seventy-two hours ago, the notion of closing clubhouses to reporters and non-essential team personnel was laughable. Then it happened. Forty-eight hours ago, the suggestion that Major League Baseball games in Seattle, San Francisco and Oakland would have to be relocated or played in empty ballparks sounded ludicrous. Then it happened. Twenty-four hours ago, the possibility of the MLB season not

Strasburg slows down, ends up dominating Astros

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It might sound counterintuitive to someone who can throw a baseball as hard and as precise as he does, but Stephen Strasburg knows he’s better when he throws with 90 percent effort, not 100 percent. That’s especially true in spring training, when Strasburg’s mind tempts him to give everything he’s got. “You want to see it for yourself first,” the

Harris confident he’ll be ready for opener (Nats win 6-2)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Will Harris hasn’t pitched in a Grapefruit League game yet, but the veteran reliever is confident he has enough time left to build his body up after suffering an abdominal strain to be part of the Nationals bullpen on opening day. “As of right now, I’ll be there,” he said. “I’ll have cleats on. I’ll be ready.” Harris, the club’s

Lineups: Nats vs. Astros in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - As opening day inches closer, lineups start to look more and more legit. Well, for some teams, anyway. The Nationals have a whole bunch of regulars playing this afternoon, including Adam Eaton, who will be the DH eight days after he had to leave a game with tightness in his hamstring. That’s obviously a good sign. Eaton is batting in

Scherzer saga feels eerily familiar

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If you paid any attention to the saga that was Max Scherzer’s summer of 2019, the sequence of events that took place here over the last few days should not have surprised you. First there was manager Davey Martinez hinting that Scherzer might skip his scheduled Grapefruit League start, instead throwing an extra bullpen session, all in the name of

Braymer tries to make the most of fill-in start for Nats

JUPITER, Fla. - Ben Braymer was told a few days ago to be prepared to start against the Marlins today, so the minor league lefty wasn’t completely caught off guard this morning when he officially learned he’d be on the mound to start a Grapefruit League game for the first time. That didn’t diminish his enthusiasm for this assignment. “Anytime you get a chance to

Scherzer skipping start due to discomfort in right side (updated)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Max Scherzer isn’t starting today because of discomfort in his right side, a byproduct - he says - of mechanical changes he has made in the wake of last season’s back and neck injuries, but one he insists won’t affect his preparation for the rest of spring training or his projected opening day start in 16 days. The Nationals had

Lineups: Nats vs. Marlins in Jupiter

JUPITER, Fla. - The Nationals are back after a day off, and a whole bunch of regulars are making the short drive from West Palm Beach to face the Marlins. There is one notable exception, however: Max Scherzer, who will not make this start. There’s nothing wrong with Scherzer. Davey Martinez gave him the option of making his regularly scheduled start or throwing a couple

Nats still have several issues to resolve before camp breaks

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Only 12 days from now, the Nationals will pack up and head north for good, officially set to begin their title defense. Time flies when you’re having fun, huh? Most of the folks down here can’t wait. They’re itching to get this thing started. Manager Davey Martinez and general manager Mike Rizzo might be a little less eager to break

With more help, Doolittle hopes this is the year he avoids IL

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Sean Doolittle first reached the big leagues in June 2012, and over the next 26 months he managed to make 168 relief appearances without suffering an injury that cost him anything more than a couple of days. Then, one day in August 2014, he strained his right intercostal muscle and thus began a long streak of annual trips to the

Fedde impresses, bullpen labors, Kieboom errs again

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Circumstances may have left Erick Fedde in a tough spot to force his way onto the Nationals’ opening day pitching staff, but the right-hander is nonetheless going to do whatever he can to make a positive impression as long as he remains in the running this spring. Outings like the one he authored today can only help. Fedde was sharp

Read among first round of roster cuts (Nats lose 7-5)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals made their first round of cuts of the spring this morning, demoting seven players to the minors, including catching prospect Raudy Read. Read, the only player cut today who is on the 40-man roster, was optioned to Triple-A Fresno. The six others who were cut, all non-roster players, were reassigned to minor league camp: right-handers Jhonatan German, Derek

Lineups: Nats vs. Tigers in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If you needed more evidence that Victor Robles and Eric Thames emerged from Saturday’s return from injury feeling strong, here it is: Both are back in the lineup today against the Tigers. Robles will again lead off and serve as designated hitter. Thames, who was the DH in Saturday’s home split-squad game, will bat second and play first base. All

Ross has first hiccup, still looks like top pick for No. 5 starter

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Davey Martinez had to decide which of Saturday’s split-squad games to attend in person. He could stay at home and watch Joe Ross and a few Nationals regulars face the Marlins, or he could go to Port St. Lucie and watch Austin Voth and his entire projected starting infield face the Mets. Martinez chose to stay here, in large part

Thames and Robles don’t hold back in return from injuries

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Davey Martinez had a simple message for Eric Thames today as the veteran first baseman prepared to play for the first time since straining a calf muscle 11 days ago. “Don’t go gangbusters. Ease your way back into it,” the Nationals manager said. “Don’t try to go first to third right now.” So what happened when Thames stepped up to

Club “renews” Soto’s contract for $629,400 (Nats tie Marlins)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Unable to agree to terms on their own, the Nationals have unilaterally set Juan Soto’s 2020 salary at $629,400, a source familiar with the figure confirmed. The mechanism of teams setting the salaries of players who aren’t yet eligible for arbitration, known as “renewing,” isn’t uncommon. Those young players can negotiate their salaries, but in most every case the final

Coronavirus prompts change to autograph signings

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Though there haven’t been any confirmed coronavirus cases in the immediate vicinity yet, the Nationals are taking their first precautionary steps toward helping prevent the virus from spreading at their spring training facility. The club announced this morning changes to the way players and coaches approach autographs and fan interactions at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and other spring

Split-squad lineups: Nats vs. Marlins and Mets

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals have their second split-squad day of the spring, and that means everybody’s playing but spread out between two towns at the same time. Davey Martinez is staying here in West Palm Beach to watch Joe Ross face the Marlins. He’s got Eric Thames (making his return 11 days after suffering a calf strain) leading off and serving as

Three-batter rule could play right into Nats’ hands

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Most of the discussion surrounding Major League Baseball’s new three-batter minimum rule for relievers has focused on the negative impact it will have on teams’ pitching staffs. But what if there’s a flip side to the equation, and the controversial rule change might actually be a positive for some teams’ offenses? Davey Martinez is banking on that very possibility. As

Sánchez sharp, Strickland struggles, Stevenson succeeds

JUPITER, Fla. - Some thoughts, observations and quotes from the Nationals’ 7-3 loss tonight to the Marlins ... * Aníbal Sánchez was sharp. Really sharp. The veteran right-hander tossed four innings of scoreless ball. He allowed only one hit (a single up the middle). He did not walk a batter. He struck out three. He threw only 50 pitches. Sánchez did this despite not necessarily

Thames, Robles will return to DH on Saturday (Nats fall 7-3)

JUPITER, Fla. - The Nationals will get two big bats back in their lineup Saturday. Eric Thames and Victor Robles each are scheduled to return from minor injuries, each serving as designated hitter for the Nats’ split-squad games (home versus the Marlins, away against the Mets), according to manager Davey Martinez. Thames hasn’t played since Feb. 25 due to left calf tightness, but he has

Lineups: Nats vs. Marlins in Jupiter

JUPITER, Fla. - It’s a bit of a transition day for the Nationals as far as the lineup goes. Most of the regulars played last night. And with split-squad games tomorrow, pretty much everyone will play either at home against the Marlins or in Port St. Lucie against the Mets. Which means most of the big names get tonight’s game off. The most noteworthy guys

Despite October success, Hudson is still a reluctant closer

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Daniel Hudson pitched the ninth inning of three postseason clinching Nationals wins last October. He recorded the final three outs of the National League wild card game, preserving a 3-2 victory over the Brewers. He notched the final four outs of the team’s NL pennant-clinching win over the Cardinals. And when it came time for the ninth inning of Game

Trio of big name pitchers struggles in blowout loss

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The games down here don’t count, so the Nationals could afford to brush off tonight’s 11-0 trouncing at the hands of a split-squad Cardinals team as insignificant in the grand scheme of things. And that’s probably a fair reaction to a blowout loss on March 5. Really, what conclusions can reasonably be drawn from a game like this? Still, it

Updates on Eaton, Robles, Thames and Harris (Nats lose 11-0)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals are fielding a lineup loaded with regulars tonight. Well, loaded with healthy regulars. A few guys who normally would be playing remain sidelined with nagging ailments. The list includes Adam Eaton, who departed Tuesday’s game with a tight left hamstring. The veteran right fielder apparently didn’t think the injury was serious and only came out of the game

Lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Hello once again from FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. It’s good to be back after a brief trip home. Thanks as always to Pete Kerzel for filling in during my break. I’ll be here the rest of camp, and hopefully things start to ramp up soon as opening day inches closer. The Nationals, who just enjoyed their first of

The skinny on the Nats’ fifth starter competition

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - For reasons both practical and personnel-related, the Nationals’ competition to determine a fifth starter will likely go on until the end of spring training. “It’s gonna go” on for a while, manager Davey Martinez said. To recap, three right-handers - Austin Voth, Joe Ross and Erick Fedde - are competing to be the fifth member of the starting rotation. All

Focused Rainey won’t assume Nationals bullpen job is his

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. - Every time manager Davey Martinez or general manager Mike Rizzo outline their plans for the Nationals bullpen, they include hard-throwing right-hander Tanner Rainey. And with good reason. Throw triple-digit fastballs complemented by a wipeout slider and you make people take notice. But any thoughts that he’s secured a position in the Nationals relief corps is definitely news to Rainey, a

Scherzer on his outing, Martinez on Eaton and Thames injuries

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - For all his stomping on the mound and cursing when he misses painting the black, Max Scherzer is at heart a student of pitching. There’s nothing the right-hander likes more than delving into the game within the game, the subtext of an at-bat that may not be discernable to the naked eye. That’s how he approached his 54-pitch outing in

Martinez on Robles, Strasburg and upcoming off-day (Nats win 5-3)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Victor Robles again tested his sore side by hitting in the cage today, and with a little luck, the center fielder could be back in the Nationals lineup sometime this weekend. Robles has not appeared in a game since injuring himself on a throw Wednesday in Tampa, but manager Davey Martinez said he’s “getting better.” With the Nationals off tomorrow,

Lineups: Orioles vs. Nats in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It’s a while since the Orioles traveled to West Palm Beach for a Grapefruit League game - 1997, to be exact. That’s when the Braves and Expos shared Municipal Stadium and the Birds would travel up from their spring camp in Fort Lauderdale. But the opening of Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter spelled the end to the Braves-Expos pairing

Versatile Bonifacio has utility role down to a science

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Astute fans might recall Emilio Bonifacio’s first tour of duty with the Nationals. He played the second half of the 2008 season in D.C., coming over from the Diamondbacks in exchange for reliever Jon Rauch in July and being sent to the Marlins as part of the deal that netted pitcher Scott Olsen and outfielder Josh Willingham about four months

Wrapping up a 3-2 victory

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Joe Ross knows he’s immersed in a battle to be the Nationals’ fifth starter. A few more outings like he had Monday in a 3-2 victory over the Marlins and the right-hander might just lock up the spot he covets. Emilio Bonifacio played the hero’s role, though it got a little sticky in the bottom of the ninth with the

Martinez on Kieboom, Harris, Robles and World Series (Nats win 3-2)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - With observers focusing on every swing he takes and every grounder he fields at third base, Carter Kieboom is off today. He’s getting a chance to reset and Nationals manager Davey Martinez continues to preach to the 22-year-old that he needs to relax. Given an extended opportunity to replace the departed Anthony Rendon at third base, Kieboom has struggled this

Lineups: Marlins vs. Nats at West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The competiton for the Nationals’ No. 5 starter role takes front and center this afternoon, when right-hander Joe Ross faces the Marlins in his second spring start. Ross, who is battling right-handers Austin Voth and Erick Fedde for the last spot in the rotation, worked two perfect innings in his last outing on Wednesday against the Yankees in Tampa. Ross

Rubber-armed Suero is continuing to learn and progress

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If spring training is a time to try new things, Wander Suero is a perfect candidate to learn. After two seasons in the Nationals bullpen, the lanky right-hander continues to tantalize with his willingness to take the ball whenever asked and a cutter that can be an effective out pitch. So what does manager Davey Martinez want to see out

Hearing from Doolittle, Sánchez, Zimmerman, Martinez after 3-1 loss

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Sean Doolittle’s primary goal in his first game action of spring training was to focus on his secondary pitches. For a guy who usually makes hay with an array of rising fastballs, challenging hitters to square up a pitch they know is coming at them, that can be a tall order - especially when he hasn’t faced hitters in a

Martinez on Zimmerman’s workload (Nats lose 3-1)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - The calendar has turned to March and Ryan Zimmerman’s line on the stat sheet is not full of zeros. Zimmerman made his spring debut Thursday night and played first base again yesterday. Today, he’s back in the lineup for his first back-to-back assignments of spring, a steppingstone that didn’t bypass manager Davey Martinez like a car ignoring the speed limit

Lineups: Nats vs. Mets in Port St. Lucie

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - The Nationals hit the road for a second straight day, facing the Mets at Clover Park with Aníbal Sánchez taking the mound for his second spring start. Facing the Cardinals in Jupiter on Feb. 25, Sánchez worked two innings, surrendering one run on two hits with no walks and two strikeouts. In his second start, Sánchez is likely to increase

García’s growth hasn’t gone unnoticed in Nats camp

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Growth can manifest itself in many forms, and sometimes it takes only a few inches to portend increased development of a young ballplayer. A few days ago, Nationals manager Davey Martinez was eyeballing a live batting practice session when he noticed something in the way one of the club’s top prospects, infielder Luis García, was preparing to hit. Batting against

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