Mar 25, 2010, 3:12 PM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ivan Rodriguez has quietly hit .370, one of several regulars putting up big numbers.
TAMPA — The first month of spring training is for pitchers. It takes a good four or five weeks for guys to get their arms in shape, to build up their stamina and to get a feel for their repertoires. So much of what you read about in late-February and early-March is centered around pitchers' performances, both in bullpen sessions and then later in exhibition games.
But at this point — with 11 days to go until the season opener — we've got a pretty good idea what the Nationals' pitching staff will look like. John Lannan, Jason Marquis, Garrett Mock, Livan Hernandez and (probably) Craig Stammen will be in the rotation. Matt Capps, Brian Bruney, Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard and (probably) Jason Bergmann and Tyler Walker, plus one other guy (Miguel Batista, J.D. Martin or Jesse English) will make up the bullpen.
So it's time to start shifting focus away from pitching and onto the guys standing at the plate with bats in hand. Managers and talent evaluators usually don't pay much attention to offensive numbers early in the exhibition schedule, because pitchers are always ahead of hitters. But around this time, there begins to be an expectation of progress, of hitters finding their stroke and putting together more quality at-bats.
I haven't made much mention of offensive stats this spring (aside from a now-daily update of Justin Maxwell's fast-fading batting average) so let's run through all the guys of consequence and see howRead more »
NL EAST STANDINGS
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 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.
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