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Nats vs. Marlins (ss) — 3/8/10

Mar 8, 2010, 4:03 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Willie Harris was called out on a close play at the plate in the second.

VIERA, Fla. — On the day before the Great Stephen Strasburg Spring Training Debut (heretofore referred to as GSSSTD), there are actually several things worth watching at Space Coast Stadium.

Scott Olsen makes his first start of the spring, his first appearance of any kind in a game since undergoing surgery last summer for a torn labrum. The left-hander says he's 100 percent healthy, though he's admittedly a bit rusty and hasn't been sharp every time he's thrown in the bullpen. Now that he's facing real hitters for the first time, the pressure is ratcheted up a tad for a guy who needs not only to show club officials he's healthy but also that he can be effective.

Meanwhile, Cristian Guzman makes his first appearance at shortstop this spring following shoulder surgery in September. Manager Jim Riggleman said he believes Guzman is 100 percent healthy, but he's easing his way into things and may not uncork some throws from deep in the hole quite yet.

Finally, Josh Willingham makes his spring debut, serving as DH today. No health concerns with Willingham. He just was a late arrival to camp following the birth of his son, Ryder, who had a few complications but is doing fine now. Riggleman said Willingham will probably start in left field tomorrow.

Check back throughout for in-game updates…

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Fla.
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV/Radio: WFED-1500 AM
Weather: Mostly sunny, 70 degrees, Wind 5 mph out to CF

CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Cristian Guzman
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn

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  1. JayB - Mar 8, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    Love that the Marlins have there pitchers hit always…….just another reason they overachieve…they get it…it is not just spring training to them…it is learned to win under the conditions of real games. Wish we did that.

  2. markfd - Mar 8, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    With the exception of Pete Orr it looks like the Nats are puting out there best lineup of the Spring today.Glad to see the Tigers are sending some of their top guys tomorrow to face SS, I am sure they might get as many questions as SS does after the game.

  3. natsfan1a - Mar 8, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    Speaking of hitting by Marlins pitchers, I thought this Onion item was funny:, though, it's always good to have a pitcher who can lay down a bunt.

  4. LoveDaNats - Mar 8, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    I feel like this game today should be a turning point. If the Nats can't beat a split squad with all these good starters, then Mark….you need to tell me something good because I'm starting to get that discouraged feeling again.

  5. Nervous Nats Fan - Mar 8, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    Out of curiosity, who gets priority in the press box? Is it the beat writers who are there everyday or the big shots who just come in to write one article on Strasburg/Wang?

  6. Princess Jazzy - Mar 8, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    JayB, the Nats have been using a DH to get some AB's for players they don't want starting in the field just yet.Also, IMHO, their pitchers need to concentrate on pitching right now… LOL

  7. Sasskuash - Mar 8, 2010 at 6:34 PM

    Olsen's velocity is about the same it was last year during his ineffective starts- 86-88 MPH. If this is him being 100% healthy, that's a problem. He needs more differential between his FB and Changeup to be effective, and needs to get his FB back into the 90-92 MPH range. That's where it was when he was effective for the Marlins and the couple really good starts he made for us last summer before the injury. If he can't get it back up by the end of March, the Nats may want to cut him loose or start him on the DL to get his velocity up.

  8. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 8, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    Nervous Nats Fan: Us regulars on the Nats beat have assigned seats in the press box, and I believe they're setting aside seats for the Detroit writers. Everyone else will be first-come, first-serve.

  9. Anonymous - Mar 8, 2010 at 6:54 PM

    Mark, Amidst all the concern about the poor start the pitching has gotten off to, I'm curious about Nyjer Morgan's performance. He is still hitless in four games. How has his approach to his AB's been so far? Has he been hitting the ball on the ground and trying to beat out infield hits or has he been hitting fly balls? The former would give me hope that he has just been unlucky thus far….

  10. Chuckles - Mar 8, 2010 at 6:56 PM

    Will there politicians and executives on hand for GSSSTD — the Lerners, Mayor Fenty, Obama, Selig, Koufax, Feller, etc?

  11. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 8, 2010 at 6:58 PM

    Chuckles: Mark Lerner, yes. Not sure about any other dignitaries. But seeing how close we are to Cape Canaveral, perhaps Buzz Aldrin will stop by. Or George "The Animal" Steele. He lives nearby and has attended a game before.

  12. Spike94wl - Mar 8, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    And on the 7th game of Spring Training, God didth bring us Stephen Strasburg.

  13. TBC - Mar 8, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    Willingham picking right up where he left off last year. Solo homer.

  14. Anonymous - Mar 8, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    Do you think Ballystar will shave the mustache now? all of his problems are above the neck if you catch my drift!

  15. greg - Mar 8, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    TBC beat me to that punch line. sasskuash, i don't think you'll find very many pitchers in spring training up to full, regular season velocity in their first appearance. it takes time, and even moreso when you're coming back from injury and layoff.

  16. Andrew - Mar 8, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    Some signs of life with the bats at least.

  17. Chimpanzee Rage - Mar 8, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    Hey Mark, can you get a picture of the peanuts and beer guy for us radio listeners? I just have to see what this guy is about. To me, most interesting storyline of the game right there.

  18. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 8, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    Chimp: Sorry, looks like the guy's left the building. Beer sales stopped in the seventh. I'll look for him tomorrow or later this week and see if I can snap a photo. But he's not nearly as interesting to look at as he is to listen to.

  19. JayB - Mar 8, 2010 at 9:03 PM

    Mark,I asked about Alberto G a day or two back….I will ask again…What do the see in him…His head is never in the game. He makes far to many errors given that is his only reason for being on the team right? We has seen him for going on 3 years now…what is left to learn about him?

  20. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 8, 2010 at 9:04 PM

    They're not seeing much in Gonzalez at the moment. Hasn't looked good this spring at all. Gotta wonder if Bruntlett will beat him out for the backup IF spot.

  21. JayB - Mar 8, 2010 at 9:05 PM

    Mark,MLB box has Eddie G pitching not Victor G…..not that it matters they both need to be cut soon.

  22. Wally - Mar 8, 2010 at 9:13 PM

    MarkI do not believe that ST results mean anything significant beyond assessing injury recovery and general skill development, BUT …. with two straight 100 loss seasons, and the stigma attached, it may mean something psychologically to the Nats. Are you sensing tightness or anything else regarding this poor start to ST by the team or FO? Like 'here we go again'?

  23. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 2:57 AM

    Ive been to every game. They're playing like they don't care. And I don't want to hear that it's only ST, check the scores, nobody else is losing by scores like this. There are mental errors all over the place, terrible fundamentals, and Dunn makes playing 1st look harder than splitting the atom. Mark, can you ask Ballester what his deal is from the stretch? It's clear he cannot throw a breaking ball unless he is in the wind up. The Marlins knew fastballs were coming and he got smoked.





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