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First step in a long season

Feb 23, 2013, 9:52 PM EDT

Associated Press
Bryce Harper drilled a single to right field in his first at-bat of the spring.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Since his players reported to camp nearly two weeks ago, Davey Johnson has preached the idea of taking things slowly and not trying to do too much early during what will be an extended spring training for the Nationals. And before his players took the field this afternoon for their Grapefruit League opener against the Mets, the 70-year-old skipper reminded everyone of that motto.

Some appeared to get the memo during a 5-3 loss at Tradition Field. For some others … well, that's just not in their DNA.

"I need help with that a little bit," Bryce Harper said. "I understand we have 35 games this spring. But when I do play, I'm gonna play hard and try to be ready. I don't have a low button or a middle button. It's always: Go, go, go when I'm out on the field. So I'm gonna play like that, same as last year."

Harper certainly didn't ease off the gas pedal during his 4 1/2 innings of play. He stepped to the plate in the top of the first inning and took a mighty whack at Shaun Marcum's first fastball, roping a foul ball into the right-field corner that nearly took out the entire Nationals bullpen. He tagged another Marcum pitch into fairRead more ยป

  1. SonnyG10 - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    A good start to the season today.

  2. Doc - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Cohen, Darling, and Hernandez gave our team a good review, in the middle of pumping up their own team. It was also good hearing Ojeda commenting on their pitchers' status from the peanut gallery. Sorta unique having a broadcast team made up of former Mets' teamates

  3. Tcostant - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Highlight of the game for me was Keith Hernandez's gold glove story. It was great to see some baseball!

  4. NatsLady - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:53 AM

    When did Davey overturn a table loaded with food? I missed that.

  5. Positively Half St. - Feb 24, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    It'll be even better today, listening to a game called by Charlie and Dave.+1/2St.

  6. JayB - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    On Game 5….can we just forget it please….Right, this is nothing….What does it matter that Nats missed a golden opportunity as baseballs best team to move out of the first round of the playoffs. What does it matter that that the facts keep pointing to the following problems in that series.Drew Storen was over used by Davey for not go reason.Drew Storen was selfish and should not have been on the mound.Davey was pig headed and refused to react to the obvious that after what 25 pitches by Drew and Nats still had the lead a change needed to be made.Davey and Rizzo were both were over confident and acting like this year did not matter. It was all house money and they were not going to manage the game or the roster to win in 2012.Yea….what problems could that solid winning approach lead to and why should we even think about it after we spend all winter shouting down a few useless trolls who raised these red flags. If we say it never happened and we refuse to talk about it then it never happened right?2013 is here and history never repeats itself especially if you close your eyes and shout it never even happened anyway!

  7. Rabbit34 - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Guess what!! Lombo,Span, Harper, Desmond…..NO STRIKEOUTS!!! FANtastic!

  8. sjm308 - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Actually just as excited to have baseball back on the radio as I was yesterday. It was fun to see Bryce & SS and the others. Actually enjoyed watching the later innings to see some of the guys I had read about. I liked the one pick from Walters at shortstop. Have to admit that I spent more time on the Terp game in live action but thankfully my tv has dvr so I could go back and forth. Looks like someone took Eeyore's home of twigs and moved it again so he is out in the snow, cranky and mad again. Maybe pooh and piglet can make him a new one but he will still be gloomy. Can you imagine sitting next to him this year at Nats Park and having to hear the same complaints over and over? Oh, wait, we get that here, nevermind.

  9. NatsJim - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    JayB, if you want to continue torturing yourself over game 5 nobody can stop you, but repeatedly posting the same thing all season isn't going to change what happened and isn't going to stop it from happening again if that's what Davey chooses to do.Me, I'm just gonna enjoy the games…

  10. sjm308 - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Rabbit: when we can say that with Danny in the lineup then it will be even better. Did you laugh when Ian swung at the very first pitch of his first spring training at bat? So typical of Desmond but he is our Desmond.Did anyone else here think that maybe because it was the first game of the season we were not hustling down the first baseline as fast as we will later in the year? I thought that very first chopper by Span was going to wind up a basehit but it wasn't even close. I guess I either thought he had more speed or he was just not willing to risk a pull this early in the year.

  11. sjm308 - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    NatsJim – eeyore can't help himself…I guarantee you it makes him feel better

  12. original Nats Fan - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Davey told them to take it easy

  13. JayB - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    yea other than Harper the rest of the team was moving at 75% speed which is just fine by mean. In about a 3 weeks they need to make sure top gear is ready…not in Feb

  14. JayB - Feb 24, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Between the two choices of facing facts and reflecting on what when wrong OR pretending nothing could have been done and that is just baseball….I choose to face the facts and plan for a different outcome. Rizzo is smart, he operates the same way I do…that is why Drew is not the closer anymore….a move I called for the next day. Davey is stubborn and would rather be loyal to his guys and lose….that may not comeback again this year to cost us in the Playoffs…but he is not going to change a thing. If he did it it was right.

  15. Steve Hayes - Feb 24, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Great how Bryce got off to a good start!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

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.

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