Mar 6, 2010, 2:44 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — We'll get to today's home opener against the Mets in a little while. But first let's address two players coming back from injuries: one who is ready to start appearing in exhibition games, one who isn't.
Matt Chico is slated to throw two innings out of the bullpen tomorrow in Port St. Lucie. It may not seem like that big a deal, but for Chico, the butterflies are already flapping their wings in his stomach, more than 24 hours before he's due to pitch.
"I'm not really nervous, but it's that kind of nervous excitement to be back out there and be able to fight for a spot," he said. "Hopefully I can just go out there and calm myself down once I get out there, get that first pitch out of the way."
This will be the left-hander's first appearance against big-league hitters since May 2008, before he realized the lingering pain in his elbow would require reconstructive surgery. In the nearly two years since Tommy John surgery, Chico has worked his way back, re-learned how to pitch, spent the second half of last season at Class AA Harrisburg and now has returned to big-league camp hoping to win a spot in the Opening Day rotation.
He's already turned a lot of heads this spring. His arm 100 percent healthy for the first time in years, he's throwing harder than ever before and with no limitations. At the moment, he said his fastball is probably in the 87 mph range, but it was topping 90 mph at the end of last season and he hopes it will be back to that level by the end of thisRead more »
NL EAST STANDINGS
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:35 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Gonzalez sees progress in latest start for Nats
- Nationals lament close call in loss to Phillies
- Nats struggle early, lose in controversial fashion to Phillies
- LaRoche gets rare night off with tight back
- Gonzalez faces Hamels in showdown of southpaws
- Nats' Triple-A affiliate Syracuse raking in postseason awards
- A primer on postseason roster eligibility rules
- Around the NL East: Stanton making strong push for NL MVP
- Nationals can't pull off dramatic rally this time
- Nats' momentum stalls vs. Phillies in first game of long road trip