Mar 19, 2010, 8:23 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Plenty of news nuggets to share as the Nationals prepare to host the Cardinals tonight at Space Coast Stadium, so let's get right to them…
— Stephen Strasburg obviously starts tonight, and I detailed yesterday why this figures to be his final appearance in a big-league game this spring, but here's more evidence of that likelihood: Livan Hernandez will start Wednesday against the Yankees in Tampa. Hernandez has been pitching on the same day as Strasburg all spring and this morning allowed three hits over four innings in a minor-league game. As manager Jim Riggleman pointed out, Livo needs to start facing major-league hitters and be stretched out over five-plus innings. So he gets the nod next week against the Yankees. What does that mean for Strasburg? Well, Riggleman, Mike Rizzo and other front office members plan to meet tomorrow morning to discuss the next round of cuts, which are expected to start taking place Monday. What does that mean for Strasburg? "That'll be one of the discussions we have, for sure," Riggleman said.
— Scott Olsen pitched in a minor-league game yesterday, and though his surgically repaired left shoulder experienced no pain, his velocity still isn't all the way back where he or the club would like. Olsen's fastball was in the 86 mph range. He's yet to hit 90 mph this spring, probably the best sign of his full recovery. With 17 days to go before Opening Day, is there a chance Olsen won't be ready for the regular season? "Yeah, I think that's possible," Riggleman said. "But he does have at least two more starts. I'm going on the assumption that he keeps making progress. Because he's got time, I'm going on the assumption that we'll see enough in that arm that he and we feel he's ready."
— Ian Desmond is starting at shortstop tonight, but Cristian Guzman will start tomorrow against the Marlins. This remains one of this camp's most-pressing storylines, and Riggleman admitted today this is an "open competition" between the two. "They're both such goodRead more »
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