Mar 3, 2012, 2:44 PM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Osceola County Stadium, spring training home of the Houston Astros.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — They may have played an exhibition ballgame yesterday, but the actual exhibition season begins today for the Nationals. Yes, it's the Grapefruit League opener, and it's already got a nice little storyline to it: Livan Hernandez facing his old team.
Cast aside by the Nationals over the winter, Hernandez hooked up with the Astros on a minor-league contract. By all accounts, he's pretty much assured of a spot in their Opening Day rotation, and the Nats' all-time leader in wins and starts will be on the mound today wearing his ninth different big-league cap.
Livo will be facing a Nationals lineup that features more regulars than saw action yesterday against Georgetown (Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and Rick Ankiel chief among them). All eyes, though, will once again be on Bryce Harper, who is starting in right field and batting seventh. Can't wait to see the 19-year-old try to put wood on Livo's 59-mph Bugs Bunny curveball.
No TV today (Bob and F.P. will be on tomorrow from Space Coast Stadium) but Charlie and Dave will have their first radio call of the year. And, of course, I'll have plenty of updates and analysis here throughout, so be sure to check back…
WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. HOUSTON ASTROS
Where: Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), XM 185
Weather: Sunny, 86 degrees, Wind 16 mph out to CF
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
1B Chad Tracy
NL EAST STANDINGS
WED: Diamondbacks at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 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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