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Nats vs. Braves – 3/1/13

Mar 1, 2013, 8:50 PM EDT

USA Today Sports Images
The Nats are back at Disney's Wide World of Sports tonight.

Spring training often is a time for experimentation, so we shouldn't be too surprised to see a couple of wrinkles to Davey Johnson's lineup for tonight's exhibition game against the Braves.

First up is Danny Espinosa, who not only will lead off but will start at shortstop. The rationale: Davey looks at Espinosa as his primary fallback option at shortstop if anything were to happen to Ian Desmond (as we saw last summer when Desmond went on the DL with an oblique strain). Espinosa certainly has the arm to play shortstop, but he needs the occasional reps there to stay sharp, so he'll get a chance tonight with Desmond not making the trip to Disney.

You'll also notice Bryce Harper in center field for the first time this spring. Harper obviously is ticketed for left field this season, but you have to think Davey would slide him back over there if Denard Span needed to miss any time. Again, might as well get Harper some reps in center this spring when it doesn't count.

Jordan Zimmermann will get his reps, too, though in his familiar place on the mound. The right-hander is coming off a solid, three-inning spring debut against the Marlins. He'll look to ramp himself up to 60 pitches and perhaps four innings tonight against another NL East rival.

Enjoy the game and the conversation as always…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: Disney's Wide World of Sports, Lake Buena Vista
Gametime: 6:05 p.m. EST
TV: None
Radio: Braves radio via MLB Gameday Audio
Weather: Cloudy, 58 degrees, Wind 11 mph out to LF

NATIONALS
SS Danny Espinosa
2B Steve Lombardozzi
CF Bryce Harper
DH Tyler Moore

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  1. NatsLady - Mar 1, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Beautiful photo (even if it's not Mark's). March, baby, March. Exactly a month until Opening Day.

  2. NatsNut - Mar 1, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    Nobody seems to be obsessing. You said it yourself, some people like it, some people hate it and maybe they want to share. Sorta like every last thing anyone comments here about – they like something or don't and they want to share with other people who do or don't like that same thing. Who cares if it's about a beard, someone's walk up music, someone's hustle or UZR? Joe Seamhead said… I don't get the obsession with Jayson's beard. Hair is a personal decision. Some other folks may like it, others may hate it.

  3. Tcostant - Mar 1, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    Would have been a good time to get Rendon some 2B chances. Oh well, maybe during the game…BTW – That is one of the best places to see a game in FL, no doubt from my trip years ago.

  4. baseballswami - Mar 1, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    I am bummed. I thought we had 106.7 tonight.

  5. Section 222 - Mar 1, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    Touche' NN. I suppose the thing that really bothers me is that the beard discussion is about a player's appearance rather than his skills (or lack thereof), akin to talking about how Kristina Akra or Debbi Taylor looks or what she is wearing, rather than her broadcasting ability (or lack thereof).But I will admit I got a little obsessed by Harper's hustle and wanted to share, so you have a point. :-)

  6. natsfan1a - Mar 1, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    Or how FP or Bob looks or what they are wearing. ;-)

  7. Theophilus T. S. - Mar 1, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Theophilus T. S. - Mar 1, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    My problem with Werth's beard is I don't know whether (A) he's making a fashion statement; (B) he thinks he's Rasputin, or (C) thinks that by not shaving he can better concentrate on baseball. I think watching your own fuzz fly by your eyes every time you swing the bat would be a distraction. It looks awful and I wish he would get rid of it. Apart from that I think he's a good outfielder and should hit around .280 and his priority should be to call attention to himself that way, not the other.

  9. MicheleS - Mar 1, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    So we play the cards the next two games.. and how fun is this.. we get the drunk guys from KMOX on gameday.. No Charlie and dave. My ears are going to bleed this weekend.

  10. Section 222 - Mar 1, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    I remember the Cards guys from last year's spring training. They thought Stras was a really slow worker. Went on and on about it. Ugh. Idiots.

  11. UnkyD - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Kid!

  12. baseballswami - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    Everyone swinging on the first pitch tonight? Plans after the game?

  13. UnkyD - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    Are they, Swami! Just checking AtBat tonite, and last spring, they only showed one pitch….

  14. baseballswami - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Watching game day. Not so hot. Hoping for some more thorough updates at some point.

  15. Teddy Rochlis - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    Did harp hit a home run?

  16. Anna Peregrina - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    Yes, he did, in the first.

  17. baseballswami - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    Yes, he did. Everyone else is striking out.

  18. Anna Peregrina - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    Our only hit so far.

  19. EmDash - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    Now there's *two,* though. *g* Single for Tyler Moore.

  20. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    Although I had updated my credit card info at mlb.com, and my recent nationals.com ticket transaction charges went through fine, my Game Day audio subscription is evidently suspended due to a "billing failure." Boooo!!

  21. baseballswami - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:39 AM

    Nats bats are frigid tonight.

  22. Steady Eddie - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:41 AM

    1a — That's a drag though you didn't miss much tonight. The Braves announcers are all about the Braves is if they're not playing another team that needs any discussion.

  23. Steady Eddie - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:50 AM

    Swami — except for Harper and Danny, the worst hitter in the Nats' regular lineup, these are either backups who clearly are starting slow (TMo and Tracy) or a AAA lineup. Makes it boring but not especially perturbing, at least not yet.

  24. EmDash - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:56 AM

    Sounds like Clip is looking good, though not facing any of the Braves big hitters.Sounds like Rendon is in for a few innings at shortstop, which is interesting.

  25. baseballswami - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:06 AM

    I would rather see them getting their work in, seeing lots of pitches, than busting it right now. Rather see JZim wearing out the strike zone. They need to get ready, not win. It just seems strange.

  26. MicheleS - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:23 AM

    Sweet.. Coming back!!! We are now up 6-4…

  27. baseballswami - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:27 AM

    Love it when the hungry kids show their stuff!!

  28. MicheleS - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    Got to love that Uggla already has the golden sombrero in this game!

  29. NatsLady - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:49 AM

    So–this is get-to-know-your-minor-leaguers day?

  30. MicheleS - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    woo hoo.. we beat the braves (lower case- it's spring training!)

  31. Gonat - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:59 AM

    Yes, Michele. We will take it!

  32. peric - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:06 AM

    Rendon, Desmond, and Espinosa … most athleticism and best range of any infield in baseball. Throw Zim in at first base and you can pretty much call it the diamond adorned with gold gloves.

  33. sm13 - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    Surprised to see Rendon playing shortstop. I wonder when we'll see him at 2nd.

  34. SonnyG10 - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    Hi peric. Haven't seen your comments for a while.

  35. Theophilus T. S. - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:16 AM

    For the Florida Flies on the Wall, any idea why Goodwin hasn't even sniffed any time between the white lines?

  36. peric - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:21 AM

    Nothing to say SonnyG … made my predictions … and now its wait and see. Its spring training … and the Nats are the pick of the litter. Have to admit it does bore me a bit … I enjoy rooting for the underdog. Still, they are my team and always have been since they arrived, with some trepidation due to the way they left Montreal … but they are the DC team for sure now. I am watching Espy closely still wondering if he doesn't end up on the surgeons table with Lombo starting at 2nd and Rivero at UTL.

  37. peric - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    I think you'll see Goodwin toward the end when the dust has settled and they've decided about Rivero and then Brown … that's more important at this point … unless he's got an injury that Harris is keeping mum about.

  38. peric - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:24 AM

    Plus been cycling enjoying the sunshine and following the Sequestration drama.

  39. Doc - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:30 AM

    My guy CRivero gets the big hit!Davey and Riz should consider Rivero replacing Tracy–10 years younger, more versatile in the middle infield (in addition to 3B & OF), bats off the bench about the same, faster, etc. Nah, they wouldn't have the cojones to do it, would they????

  40. sm13 - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    Tracy has a guaranteed contract. I'm guessing he stays. Peric has the more realistic scenario – Danny has surgery and Rivero takes his spot on the roster as this year's Limbo.

  41. peric - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:40 AM

    Tracy is the left-handed PH and ostensibly the back up third baseman and first baseman after Moore. If they keep Rivero Tracy becomes the third level backup at first and third and Rivero the UTL in the field. Rivero might just get a slot because of Espy and his rotator cuff. But he's got to hit convincingly. So far only Rendon has been doing that.

  42. peric - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:41 AM

    But Rendon is headed for Syracuse (I suspect) and not Harrisburg. He looks too good for Harrisburg.

  43. SonnyG10 - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    WBC Australia vs Taipei tonight at 11:30 pm EST. Gonna set my DVR and watch it tomorrow.

  44. Gonat - Mar 2, 2013 at 4:02 AM

    Great post-game read on JZ's changeup. He threw 6 of them of his 49 pitches. He said he wanted to throw a few more.The fact he likes the results is great progress. I liked reading the feedback here on what Jordan needs to do and to think with the changeup he would throw the same 4 pitches as Verlander is amazing.I hope he gets some videos of Verlander and studies them along with his 2 catchers.

  45. NatsLady - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Forgot to set the DVR, but I woke up to baseball on my TV anyway (Japan vs. Brasil). :) CMW went 6 scoreless, which is a challenge on a 65-pitch limit. Good luck, I hear the Yankees are scouting him–that would be a curious circle in his career.

  46. Rabbit34 - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Swami…I don't get it. 99% of the people on here are fanatics. You all need to subscribe to MLB.TV or .COM, whatever it is. It is on the MLB site. I listened to the game broadcast on an Atlanta station. It is really a good buy.

  47. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Yah, as long as there isn't a "billing failure," you'll be fine. grrr…

  48. NatsLady - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Yeah, the audio is under $30 and you take it any where, your iPhone, Android tablet, computer, whatever, and for practice, you can listen in Spanish (if it's offered). The only time I listen on an actual radio radio is in my car or at the ballpark on a headset (because the Internet is chancy there–I hope they improve that.)A nice feature is that as you are listening you can click on the players and it brings up their complete MLB stats. This is helpful in ST when you have no IDEA who these guys are. I didn't find the ATL announcers objectionable. Of course they are focused on their own team, but so are ours focused on the Nats. They did giggle and get off-topic, but so do Charlie &Dave (too much, sometimes). The Upton brothers advert is funny! You would not hear that on our stations. :)Not looking forward to the Cards announcers, though. Weren't they half-drunk last year and pretty much fools?

  49. NatsLady - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    BUT–don't be clicking on the players' stats while you are driving, yeah, that's not good. :)

  50. Gonat - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    NatsLady said… Not looking forward to the Cards announcers, though. Weren't they half-drunk last year and pretty much fools? March 02, 2013 7:38 AM Yah, Mike Shannon and his +1. I don't know if it was John Rooney on those broadcasts last year but it was downright embarrassing. They would digress into stories that just were incoherent at times.Shannon in the long line of Cardinals broadcasters like Jack Buck (RIP) with that smokers voice rev'd up on a 6-pack already swallowed.

  51. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Doc…. re: Rivero… The Nats evaluators have discovered the same thing that the Phillies evaluators understood about Rivero. Good bat but a defensive liability anywhere placed in the field.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 90 64 --
ATLANTA 76 78 14.0
NEW YORK 75 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 80 16.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Saturday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (5) 90 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 67 2.5
ST. LOUIS 87 68 3.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 70 6.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 75 10.5 3.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Saturday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
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.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 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.

*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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