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Workout portion of spring wraps up

Feb 27, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

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VIERA, Fla. — They’d thrown bullpen sessions. They’d worked on their bunting and defensive positioning. Lord knows, they’d taken more than their share of grounders.

So on the 13th day of spring training, Matt Williams decided to let his Nationals enjoy a rare, easy morning to wrap up the first leg of camp.

Players took batting practice inside Space Coast Stadium for the first time. Outfielders shagged. Everyone was done for the day by 11:30 a.m., something Williams wanted to ensure on the eve of his team’s Grapefruit League opener.

“It’s designed to be a lighter day, and designed to feel more like a game day,” the first-year manager said. “Take the regular grounders during batting practice. Take BP. Let them go and get ready for the next game.”

It was far and away the shortest and least-intense workout of the spring, with music playing over the PA system and a couple dozen fans watching from box seats, serenading Denard Span on his 30th birthday and gawking over Wilson Ramos’ moonshots during BP.

Williams was delivering the pitches for Ramos’ BP group, amazed as much as everyone else when the hulking catcher launched balls off the scoreboard in left-center, off the trees deeper to the scoreboard’s right and off an advertisement just to the right of the massive batter’s eye in center.

“I lost,” Williams said of his one-on-one encounter.

Things will turn more serious tomorrow when the Nationals travel to Port St. Lucie for their exhibition opener against the Mets. Williams’ focus will be on making sure he gets his players enough at-bats and innings. Players will begin stating their cases for what few roster spots are up for grabs.

For now, Williams is pleased simply to have made it through his first two weeks as a big-league manager, instilling both his intensity and his upbeat nature on a Nationals club that has enjoyed the atmosphere so far.

“I think they’ve had fun and they’ve worked really hard,” Williams said. “I know they’re all itching to get into games and have a different uniform sitting in the other dugout. That’s a good sign. I think the offensive players are about sick and tired of live batting practice. That’s good. They’ve gotten a chance to see a lot of different guys and get a lot of looks but now it’s time to put it to work. Let’s go.”

  1. tcostant - Feb 27, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    Play ball!

  2. Section 222 - Feb 27, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Eeeeeee-hawwww.

  3. natsfan1a - Feb 27, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    To quote my esteemed colleague MicheleS, woo hoo!!

    • sjm308 - Feb 27, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      come on natsfan 1a, we need more emotion then that!! Wooooo Hooooo!!!

      • natsfan1a - Feb 27, 2014 at 4:31 PM

        I know I’m a little rusty, but I hope to be in the best rooting shape of my life by opening day! :-)

  4. Hiram Hover - Feb 27, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    Yay – real games!

    Ok, not real games – but real fake games!

    • Section 222 - Feb 27, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      Let’s just say — games!

      • natsfan1a - Feb 27, 2014 at 5:40 PM

        Let’s see. So that’s real, real-time, fake games. Eh, whatever. I’ll take it!

  5. David Proctor - Feb 27, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Thom Loverro is saying he expects Storen to be traded before the end of camp. Anyone know if he knows what he’s talking about?

    • natsjackinfl - Feb 27, 2014 at 6:17 PM

      I just tweeted that what he is saying is downright amateurish.

      • David Proctor - Feb 27, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        I didn’t hear his actual words, but I saw that Chase retweeted that Thom said it. What was he saying?

      • natinalsgo - Feb 27, 2014 at 6:50 PM

        Last week Thom was calling Matt Williams a “kiss up”.

        He seems to use sensationalism to draw in a bigger crowd.

        The Nats are loaded with RH arms but not sure any would match up to Storen. Could they still get a Free Agent veteran. Loverro does some guesswork in hopes to brag if it happens. That’s weak.

  6. nats128 - Feb 27, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    http://www.gammonsdaily.com/insideoutside-with-jayson-werth/

    Interesting numbers inside/outside on Jayson Werth. Surprising.

    • Candide - Feb 27, 2014 at 9:03 PM

      (…accidentally hit “report” rather than “reply” – Mark, please ignore my report)

      “When will pitchers start attacking Werth on the outside?”

      And the next question will be, “How long will it take Werth to adjust?”

      He’s not an idiot.

  7. nats128 - Feb 27, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    http://www.masnsports.com/

    On the bottom right of the homepage it list latest videos. All 8 listed there are Orioles so I click to see more. I had to scroll down 25 videos to find the 1st Nats video which was from NatsFest.

    I hate this MASN RSN. Its totally Orioles dominated.

  8. Theophilus T.S. - Feb 27, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Loverro’s favorite sport is boxing, which pretty much covers what I need to know about his knowledge of baseball.

    • nats128 - Feb 27, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      When you say Loverro’s favorite sport is boxing, do you mean watching it or actually boxing? Loverro looks like hes pushing 350 pounds and hasnt seen the inside of gym in years.

  9. natsfan1a - Feb 28, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    Speaking of Loverro, he has a piece opining that the Nats should honor Frank Robinson.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/feb/27/time-nationals-give-frank-robinson-his-due/

    Speaking of Old School (as the piece does), I’d not heard about Showalter’s book report assignment for a minor leaguer. Nice. :-)

  10. Sec3MySofa - Feb 28, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    “Williams was delivering the pitches for Ramos’ BP group, amazed as much as everyone else when the hulking catcher launched balls off the scoreboard in left-center, off the trees deeper to the scoreboard’s right and off an advertisement just to the right of the massive batter’s eye in center.”

    We have a Hulk.

    • natsfan1a - Feb 28, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      That’s incredible.

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