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Time to work out

Feb 17, 2011, 2:19 PM EDT

VIERA, Fla. — Pitchers and catchers may have reported two days ago, but spring training really begins today. Jim Riggleman and Mike Rizzo are currently holding a meeting inside the clubhouse with all the gathered player, setting the ground rules (as they are) for the spring. At 9:45 a.m., everyone will head to the practice fields down the rad for their first formal workout of the year.

These early workout sessions are geared entirely around the pitchers, with guys split up into groups and rotating between four different practice fields and the big bullpen. At each station, a different fundamental is practiced, from fielding bunts to covering first base to pickoff moves. It's all pretty mundane, but this is the time of year to work on this stuff, and every pitcher in every camp has to do it.

The bullpen sessions last about 10 minutes. Every pitcher throws every other day, all under the watchful eye of Steve McCatty, who roams behind the row of 10 mounds barking out orders.

Pitchers scheduled to throw today: Livan Hernandez, Ross Detwiler, Jordan Zimmermann, Garrett Mock, Chien-Ming Wang, Tom Gorzelanny, Adam Carr, Cole Kimball, Joe Bisenius, Drew Storen, Collin Balester,Read more »

  1. Tcostant - Feb 17, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    Can you ask what extra is being done this year vs. last year, in order to make these pitchers better at sacrifice bunts? Just from watching on TV, putting the bat in fair territory, would help a lot. These guys need a lot of work on this and more than just what was done last spring, because that didn’t work in 2010.

  2. joemktg - Feb 17, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Just damn outstanding. Good thing there isn't a Nats Spring Training cam: I'd never get anything done.

  3. N. Cognito - Feb 17, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    joemktg said… "Good thing there isn't a Nats Spring Training cam: I'd never get anything done."WHAT!!You mean Mark's not going to provide us a live web feed of Spring Training? What a lousy reporter. I was really looking forward to the Zuckercam. Now we may never know where Harper's locker is.

  4. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 17, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Heck… I haven't gotten anything done since Monday. And I'm leaving at noon today and will be in Viera tommorrow and Sunday and in Port St. Lucie on Saturday. Life begins anew!!

  5. Wally - Feb 17, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    @N.Cognito – love 'Zuckercam'.Maybe the weather is helping (drove to work with the windows down!), but I am feeling mighty happy that ST has started and the offseason is behind us.Kind of surprised that Bryce Harper hasn't showed up yet. I know that he isn't required to be there yet, but I kind of had the impression that he would be the first guy there when they unlocked the doors and let people in. Who else hasn't showed yet – Morse? Some of the NRIs?

  6. Hotdiggitydog - Feb 17, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    From buster olney's column today…"That has opened the door now for Pujols to go into free agency, and for other teams to start thinking about what signing Pujols would mean to their franchise.The Nationals angered other teams with their signing of Jayson Werth, but if they signed Pujols — and had a team of Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper and Drew Storen and Werth — they would officially be at the table with the big boys, and would become part of the buzz on Capitol Hill. If the Cubs pried Pujols away from St. Louis, it would be payback — a half-century later — for the Lou Brock-for-Ernie Broglio trade. If the Rangers signed Pujols, he could pursue just about every record in the book in their uniform, and have a Hank Aaron-like transition to DH in place near the end of his deal. A lot of Frank McCourt's transgressions would be forgotten if the Dodgers signed Pujols. If the Angels armed themselves with Pujols, Arte Moreno would get sore from all the back-slapping."Later in the column, Olney says…"Total speculation: The Nationals are very, very intriguing wildcards in all of this, because they have the money to be aggressive and because Pujols could do more for them than he could for any other franchise (except the Dodgers)."

  7. Theophilus - Feb 17, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    Looking at Ladson's piece (I admit I look at his stuff even tho it's mostly as useful as rice cakes) about Marquis trying to pitch through his injury, etc., and recall similar storylines last year with Mock, Lannan, Atilano and probably others. My conclusion is that the Nats' medical people and trainers are doing a lousy job of taking care of their players — spotting injuries and shutting them down before serious damage is done to the pitcher and the team. I understand the player needs to be the one to fess up, and they don't always think it's in their best interest to do so. However, contrast how much attention the Nats paid to Strasburg's condition last year with how much damage to the other pitchers seems to have gone undetected. No matter how much Strasburg was paid, and how important he is to the team's future, he's only supposed to pitch once every five days. It serves nobody's interest if they're sending out a guy w/ a sore wing the other four days.My hope is that the Nats have learned to be a bit more "pro-active" (God, I hate that word) with their pitchers' health. Given the depth of starting pitching in the system (not necessarily quality, but at least depth) there's no justification for trying to squeeze another start out of a guy who might do serious injury to himself.Is it unrealistic to hope for that?

  8. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 17, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    Uh Oh… Miguel Cabrera got to spend the night in a St. Lucie County jail for DUI last night. Found drunk, disorderly on the side of a road and even took a swig from a bottle of scotch in front of the arresting officer.

  9. Anonymous - Feb 17, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    So this practice is when they teach all the pitchers to square around to bunt well before the pitch is thrown, and then to foul off every pitch that comes to them, unless of course they miss it completely? Maybe they should practice something different for a change.

  10. Theophilus - Feb 17, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Re: Cabrera — some pundit said Tigers should pull him out of Spring Training immediately and put him in "serious rehab." My question is whether, under the CBA, the team/league has the ability to put a player in rehab. Anybody know?

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 17, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    That whole "show bunt, then back to stance, then square to bunt again" drives me absolutely nuts. I don't know who brought that to the organization but they need to be released and somebody like Greg Maddox ought to be brought in and show pitchers how to bunt.

  12. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 17, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    He's already been to rehab once before on his own accord. Not sure about the CBA thing but even he has to understand the seriousness of his problem.If not, his agent and family sure need to perform an intervention.

  13. N. Cognito - Feb 17, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… "That whole "show bunt, then back to stance, then square to bunt again" drives me absolutely nuts."I don't know. I still fall for it.On another note: Cabrera doesn't need rehab. He says he's not an alcoholic. I guess he prefers to be called a "drunk."

  14. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    Neeed….photos…..THANKS MARK! Gotta feel like I am there in Florida but this 65 degree weather in mid-Feb in Washington is easing some of the pain!

  15. Wally - Feb 17, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    That is really too bad about Cabrera. I hope that he gets himself straightened out somehow.

  16. Theophilus - Feb 17, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    "Show . . . Stance . . . Bunt" would have some value if any of these divas (except Livo, Stammen and maybe Marquis) could actually hit, or just handle the bat. They can't, and most haven't batted since Little League. First, teach them how to bunt in Spring Training. Then, don't waste swings in the batter's cage on bunting during pitcher's BP.

  17. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    From Buster Olney…If the Cubs pried Pujols away from St. Louis, it would be payback — a half-century later — for the Lou Brock-for-Ernie Broglio trade. It is only payback if Pujols keeps slugging 40 HRs a season while batting .325+ etc.Pujols in Washington is a great idea if you want to have a great offense which the Nats would instantly have but still doesn't change the pitching necessarily as we all know you have to have 2 Aces to really make noise in the Post-Season.I remember when the Rangers had Pudge, Raffy Palmeiro, Michael Young, Juan Gonzalez and AROD and they ended up in last place. I think it was 2002. Their pitching and defense was just bad.All great teams need balance. While it would be fun to get Pujols, it would be a huge mistake unless you got another ACE pitcher to go in the staff for that balance you need.

  18. DFL - Feb 17, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    The Cards ought to trade Pujols to the Mets for pitching- starters Pelfrey and Dickey and reliever Rodriguez.

  19. Hotdiggitydog - Feb 17, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    Steve M, I agree. Gotta have good pitching. I suppose J Zimmerman could become the other Ace to go with Strasburg. Guess we'll find out more about JZ this season. But, more than likely, the Nats would need to sign/trade for that Ace. All that said, being one pitcher shy of seriously contending would be a nice problem to have.

  20. Anonymous - Feb 17, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    Pujols signed as a free agent doesn't cost any pitchng Steve M. And the Nats WOULD STILL have plenty of ammunition to sign draft pick pitchers as well as those of the free agent variety. In other words look at it this way:If Rizzo convinces ownership to sign Pujols away from the Cardinals for whatever price do you still think top free agent pitchers would avoid signing with the Nationals? One thing is certain it would make Poopy McPoop poop his pants thinking about that team versus the McFail Ori-holes.

  21. N. Cognito - Feb 17, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    DFL said… "The Cards ought to trade Pujols to the Mets for pitching- starters Pelfrey and Dickey and reliever Rodriguez."Put down the crack pipe.Pujols said he would veto a trade, and even if that is mostly a negotiating stance, he won't agree to a trade to a team going nowhere this season.

  22. JamesFan - Feb 17, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    I would rather spend $300 million on pitching.

  23. Hotdiggitydog - Feb 17, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    I wonder how much it would cost to sign Pujols? $35m per year for 10 yrs? Nats would still have room to sign a pricey free-agent SP. Where the payroll might start to get a bit out of control is when RZimm gets a new contract. I think they'd could handle all those big contracts. But you have to hope that their young and cheap talent stays healthy (Strasburg, JZimm, Ramos/Flores) and pans out (Harper, Espinosa, Desmond, Morse, Bernadina).

  24. David - Feb 17, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    Mark,I'd really like to know what Chien-Ming Wang looked like throwing off the mound today? All other reports of him throwing off the mound are as reliable as Elvis sightings.

  25. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    Hotdiggitydog said… Steve M, I agree. Gotta have good pitching. I suppose J Zimmerman could become the other Ace to go with Strasburg. Guess we'll find out more about JZ this season. But, more than likely, the Nats would need to sign/trade for that Ace. All that said, being one pitcher shy of seriously contending would be a nice problem to have. I looked up the pathetic 2003 Texas Rangers. Hows about last place while giving up 969 runs which is an average of 6 per game. They had the same record as the 2010 Nats coincidentally and they had Texeira, AROD, Palmiero, Juan Gonzalez, Hank Blalock, Michael Young, Carl Everett, and hit 239 HRs that year for #1 in the MLB.Good balance wins. So sure, sign Pujols if you want but you need another great pitcher to put in with Stras and JZim.Hotdiggitydog said… I wonder how much it would cost to sign Pujols? $35m per year for 10 yrs?Its fun dreaming and doubt he would come to DC unless the offer was so much better then what Boston may pay him or the Angels, etc. Well Pujols would take that $35m you talk about but you can't give him a 10 year deal, maybe 5 to 7 years and overpay him in the upper $20's.Again, would rather overpay for a Cliff Lee type that is an ACE of all ACES and keep going wtih the position players the Nats have. Sabbathia may be available so this off-season could be real interesting!

  26. Anonymous - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    First, sign Pujols. Then sign the $300 million in pitching (now they will come). Then trade current first baseman Adam La Roche for prospects. Got to get the order right.

  27. Theophilus - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    After all of the moaning about Werth's contract, I can't believe people are ready to spend $300MM for Pujols between now and his 41st (?) birthday and $300MM more for pitching plus Zimmerman plus about 20 more warm bodies so that they can put 9 players on the field. So our payroll is now at least $150MM a year. And then Strasburg wants to be paid, and then Harper. Then what? Seventy-five bucks for a seat in the bleachers?

  28. Theophilus - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    This mania for spending money is so . . . outlandish. 2010 nos.: Cliff Lee pitched 212 innings, had an ERA of 4.00 w/ Texas, won 12 games and got blown out in a critical playoff game; Texas lost in the WS — and he gets $24MM for 2011. Hernandez pitched 212 innings, had an ERA of 3.66, and won 10 games — and for 2011 he gets $1MM. Two wins is worth $23MM? I'm not saying Hernandez is Lee, or close to it. But $23MM should be at least two pitchers, not one.

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