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Strasburg, Storen face “A” team in final live BPs

Feb 27, 2014, 6:00 AM EST


VIERA, Fla. — We’ve officially reached the inevitable point in spring training when everyone just desperately wants the games to start already.

There’s still one more day before that happens, but the Nationals will begin the transition this morning when they conduct a lighter-than-usual workout inside Space Coast Stadium, treating it as more of a typical pregame ritual, hitting fungoes and taking batting practice in the stadium. (Fans will be allowed in the stadium for free, by the way, with the workout set to begin at 10 a.m.)

Yesterday, then, represented the final full workout of the spring over on the practice fields down the street. That workout included the final round of live BP, and it featured some excellent pitcher-vs.-batter matchups.

Stephen Strasburg, who earlier in the week faced a trio of inexperienced prospects, this time went up against an “A” team of lineup regulars, including Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche. The young ace did as he does with just about anybody who digs in to face him and was in control throughout the session, though LaRoche did notch a solid single to right.

As he walked off the field, I congratulated LaRoche on recording his first career hit off Strasburg. Adam looked at me quizzically and responded: “What do you mean first? I took him deep!” Silly me, how quickly I forget. LaRoche, then a member of the Diamondbacks, indeed homered off Strasburg on Aug. 15, 2010. Please accept my apologies, Adam.

That same group of hitters, plus Wilson Ramos, stayed on Field 3 to face the next pitcher up, Drew Storen. The reliever likewise enjoyed a strong session, though Ramos did get to him for a deep drive to right that appeared to bounce over the wall for a ground-rule double.

Storen, who was facing live hitters for the first time this spring, was excited to go up against quality hitters like that.

“Oh, of course,” he said. “You want to practice against the best, you know? So get those guys, they’re going to make you pay for a mistake. You get a good gauge of where everything’s at.”

One more day, and we’ll all get a much better gauge of where hitters and pitchers stand, now that they’re on the verge of facing other teams in actual game situations at last.

  1. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 27, 2014 at 6:49 AM

    Hope we see confident Storen this season!

  2. karlkolchak - Feb 27, 2014 at 7:16 AM

    I believe LaRoche’s dinger was the last one Strasburg gave up before needing the TJ surgery.

  3. NatsLady - Feb 27, 2014 at 8:22 AM

    Article on hitters with improved fly-ball length. Here is the comment on Werth.

    Jayson Werth is another who endured a terrible 2012 that was well below his historical numbers and the distance increase looks abnormally large as a result. You have to assume that health played a role in the 34-year-old’s recent performance figures, so now he’s just back to normal again. His 2013 distance matches up perfectly with his marks from 2008 through 2011. While it’s advisable to consider his age, there’s little reason to think he cannot come close to this HR/FB rate mark again. At the very least, he should manage his career average of 15%, which should allow him to follow up strongly.

    • Hiram Hover - Feb 27, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      Thanks, NL – interesting stuff.

      That piece focuses on JW’s HR/FB ratio – the other thing that jumps out at me was the spike in his LD rate, which was the 2d highest of his career (26%, vs 21.1% career), and fueled his 2d highest BABIP ever (highest was 2007, when he also had his highest LD rate).

      I expect all those numbers to come back more to career norms, and for him to turn in a year that’s better than 2011-12 but not so hot as 2013.

  4. natsjackinfl - Feb 27, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    I’m looking forward to a close up look at Taylor Jordan, AJ Cole, Christian Garcia and Aaron Barrett tomorrow.

    Both Syracuse and Harrisburg should be loaded with pitching this year.

  5. RPrecupjr - Feb 27, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    “we’ll all get a much better gauge of where hitters and pitchers stand”

    Um….pitchers stand on the mound, hitters stand in the batter’s box. Geez, Mark, I thought that was fairly common knowledge 😉

    Can’t wait for Friday night…..and even moreso, five weeks from Friday!! Woo Hoo!!!


  6. knoxvillenat - Feb 27, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    Hoping that Giolito starts off in Hagerstown this year so that I might get the opportunity to see him in Asheville. Sure wish the Nats had a minor league team in the Southern League…….but hey, can’t always get what you want.

    Natsjack, I remember sometime ago you were singing the praises of Robbie Ray. I realize he pitched against a college team the other day (Florida Southern) but he did have 5 K’s in two innings of work. Hope the trade works out well for him and Lombo and that Fister has a big season with the Nats.

  7. tcostant - Feb 27, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    Basicly all openning day tickets are now sold out.

    • natinalsgo - Feb 27, 2014 at 10:31 AM

      I was just going to post that. Even the Diamond seats that I tried to snag at $175 went from available to sold out in seconds.

      • natinalsgo - Feb 27, 2014 at 10:33 AM

        I suppose much of this mornings purchases are headed to StubHub for people to turn a profit.

        I’m ok with that so long as Nats fans are buying them and the obnoxious Barves chop chops stay far away.

      • nats106 - Feb 27, 2014 at 11:20 AM


      • Section 222 - Feb 27, 2014 at 3:53 PM

        Not sure how many seats, scalpable or otherwise, were available for O.D. this morning. A friend of mine tried to get tickets a few days ago on the Insider pre-sale, and couldn’t get any. I don’t think he was interested in $175 tickets though.

  8. nats106 - Feb 27, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    Also, as long as the Nats are winning, we won’t hear that crap. It’s only when they announce themselves as Braves fans. At least we know when Mets/Phillies fans are in the house.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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