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The early spring routine

Feb 22, 2010, 2:08 PM EDT


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VIERA, Fla. — I've gotten a few questions from fans who are curious how the typical day goes for the Nationals, especially early in spring training before the games start. So as players begin making their way out to the practice fields for day two of this spring, I figured I'd give a quick primer…

Though all the players in big-league camp use the clubhouse inside Space Coast Stadium, the February workouts all take place at the club's minor-league complex, about one-quarter of a mile down the road. Every morning, most players grab their equipment bag and make the short hike down Stadium Parkway — it can be funny to watch drivers whiz by and rubberneck when they see guys like Pudge Rodriguez and Stephen Strasburg walking along the street in full uniform. A few guys actually get in their cars and drive.

The minor-league complex includes four full-size fields, arranged in cloverleaf fashion, a half-field used for infield and baserunning drills and the big bullpen area that has 10 mounds side-by-side.

At the beginning of the workout, all players stretch and warm up together on one field, then split up into pre-assigned groups. Each group starts at a different station, either on one of the fields or in the bullpen and then spends about 10 minutes working on a particularRead more »

  1. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    Great Mark,Especially interested in how comfortable Olsen looks throwing from the mound (IMO more important for April May than any other pitcher).

  2. greg - Feb 22, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    Couple of interesting links to share today.Via Neyer at ESPN:www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2010/2/19/1318203/2010/2/19/1318203/percentage-of-team-payroll-lost-toPercentage of payroll lost to the DL. as far as % go, from 2002-2009, the Nats rank *2nd*. Painful. http://www.baseballdailydigest.com/2010/02/21/the-sun-also-rises-in-d-c/A positive view of the future in DC. nice to actually see someone have something nice to say–from someone who isn't a homer, at least–for a change. (and a nice little nod to mark's blog and viera trip in there, too.)

  3. SpotsyNats - Feb 22, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    Excellent overview. I appreciate it. Its been a while for me to see a Spring Training game. (Last was circa 1982 and saw Dale Murphy and the Braves take on the O's in Miami Marlins Stadium.)

  4. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    Please note that players can and will NOT sign autographs once the morning workout has started. Most will be more than receptive to providing autographs and posing for photos before and after the workout

  5. An Briosca Mor - Feb 22, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    Baseball during the regular season is primarily a nocturnal activity, forcing players to become night owls if they aren't already. Why then is spring training such a daytime, early morning kind of thing? Wouldn't it make sense to get the players' body rhythms into the regular season mode from the start, instead of making a jarring shift when they move from playing exhibition games into games that count?

  6. Positively Half St. - Feb 22, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    ABM-Perhaps because even Florida is too cool in the evenings in February. In any case, isn't it nice to just have one throwback to the old days?Thank you, Mark, for answering my question on Chuck James. I had set him up as the pitching darkhorse I would root for, but the horse is a little darker than I thought if he is in the minor-league camp.

  7. Positively Half St. - Feb 22, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    Greg-Thanks for the links. The second one was a breath of fresh air.

  8. natsfan1a - Feb 22, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    Speaking of links, and fwiw, there are some pics of Space Coast Stadium on the Brevard County Manatees site (Fear the Sea Cow!?):http://tinyurl.com/ydmq8a5

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