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Sunday morning tidbits

Feb 28, 2010, 2:31 PM EST

VIERA, Fla. — A very pleasant Sunday morning to you all from Viera, where the sun is shining at last and the temperature is very slowly rising to something resembling late-February in Florida. Some of the locals here are saying this stretch of the last couple weeks has been the coldest they can ever remember in these parts, and at some point you have to wonder if it might actually interfere with the Nationals' preparations. They've already had to call off one workout in the last week due to rain, and yesterday had to try to squeeze as much as they could into an abbreviated session before the latest round of precipitation hit. Hopefully the worst is behind us and things can proceed from here without tweaks, delays or postponements.

In the meantime, a few news nuggets to share this morning before the workout begins…

— Jim Riggleman says he's not sure yet who will start on Opening Day against the Roy Halladay and the Phillies. Obviously, it's either going to be John Lannan or Jason Marquis, but several factors will come into play with this decision. Should it be based on track record (favoring Marquis)? Should it be based on status within the Nats' clubhouse (favoring Lannan)? Should it be based on who matches up better with the Phillies' lineup (perhaps favoring Lannan because of all the lefty sluggers)?

Josh Willingham, whose wife Ginger gave birth to son Ryder on Tuesday night, still hasn't reported to camp, and it's going to be at least several more days before he does. Riggleman said Willingham's delayed arrival was due to "a personal matter" and didn't want to goRead more »

  1. Hendo - Feb 28, 2010 at 2:57 PM

    Fundamentals are exactly what the team needs to work on… and what were obviously missing as early as Spring Training last season (although a lot of us, including me, chose to ignore the obvious that early). Good plan by Riggleman.

  2. natsfan1a - Feb 28, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    I might be inclined to give the nod to Lannan, but I don't really get to have any input on the matter. (Riggleman won't return my calls. Just kidding. About my making calls, that is. Is this thing on? tap tap…)Hope that all is well with the littlest Willingham.Um, I think so. Who's on first again?—Got all that?

  3. Natbiscuit - Feb 28, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    Is it meaningful that Batista is cast in a starting role at this point? I'm under the impression that he will more likely make the team as a reliever. It's so early they may just be getting innings, but I'm curious none the less.

  4. Anonymous - Feb 28, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    Mark, I am Stephanie Chan from Taiwan, I just saw the UDN news ( about your current situation. Would you please creat a place for Wang 40 fans from Taiwan. Appreciate!!By the way,how to send you sport for your traveling expense? please mail me at

  5. Anonymous - Feb 28, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    Is Stephanie from Taiwan looking to pick up your traveling expenses???? Is this out of the "good things happen to good people" file?

  6. peric - Feb 28, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    I'm still wondering about the two remaining left-handers after Olsen. Chico and Thompson. We've heard nothing about Thompson. Is Chico going to start any games or is he going to end up as a reliever? Even if Olsen starts the season will he last? Odds are he may not.

  7. Kevin Rusch - Feb 28, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    Actually, I think her father is a Nigerian banker. Just be careful. :-)

  8. Kenz aFan - Feb 28, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    I read that article three times, and unless I'm mistaken, it's asking its readers to support Mark in his efforts, either in order to get more information about Chein-Ming Wang or possibly in hopes that their doing so will increase the number of articles about him. Only time will tell if I read that article right or not. One thing for sure, they seem to be hungry for info on Wang.

  9. Sec3MySofa - Feb 28, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    Hmmm. Niche market, but possibly worthwhile, esp. if you can write in Chinese. Gotta be some local CMW fans who can do that in DC.

  10. SpotsyNats - Feb 28, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    Hmm the CMW website–his "official" website–is still very Yankee-centric and the current feature headline reads "Wang happy to be with Yanks again". Its a 2009 article and there is no mention of Nats anywhere. FYI

  11. Ramgut - Feb 28, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    It's interesting to note that the "Official" CMW website Sec3 links to still has him playing for the Yankees and says nothing about signing with the Nats.

  12. peric - Feb 28, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    Its still questionable as to whether Wang will even be able to pitch again. Olsen has until March 22nd to prove he is healthy. Else he could go the way of Shawn Hill and John Patterson.

  13. Anonymous - Feb 28, 2010 at 5:40 PM

    Peric, I would say Olsen is a different animal from Shawn Hill and John Patterson. Both of the were injured quite often, unlike Olsen who was healthy for the 3 years before becoming a National. Dumping him would be like dumping Jordan Zimmermann because he got hurt. Not that I'm comparing them talent wise, but just in the fact that Olsen doesn't have a huge injury history like Hill and Patterson.

  14. peric - Feb 28, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    One has to wonder how effective Olsen will actually be? Chico actually sounds like he has "recovered" the best. What if Thompson trots out his best stuff and looks unbeatable? They only pay Olsen 1/6 of his salary if they release him before March 22nd. Remember, these are the Lerners.

  15. Anonymous - Feb 28, 2010 at 6:19 PM

    Peric: I think you might be obsessing too much on a 2nd LH starter. If one emerges from Olsen, Chico, Thompson or Estes, AND they are one of the top-5 candidates from Viera, then they come north with the 25-man squad. If not, I'd personally hope that Riggleman & Rizzo go with Marquis/Lannan & the top three after that. -BinM-

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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
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