Mar 29, 2014, 6:02 AM EST
Here are some notes on the Nationals as they ready for their final exhibition game of 2014, a home matchup with the Detroit Tigers…
Rain is in the forecast
The Nationals have returned to Washington to play one exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers before they head even further north for Opening Day in New York. Ready to see the Nats face Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler and the Tigers? Well, weather may have something to say about that.
It looks like there is a very good chance of rain throughout the afternoon. Basically, it doesn’t look good for the game to be played.
Here is a look at the hourly outlook from weather.com:
That’s at least a 70 percent chance of precipitation throughout the afternoon and first pitch is at 2:05 p.m. All they need is a window of a few hours to play the game, but that’s a lot of rain.
The Nationals have a game to play in New York on Monday and plan to travel there later on after Saturday’s game. The Tigers have a matchup with the Royals in Detroit on Monday, as well.
Will we get the game in? If you are planning to attend, it’s probably a good idea to bring an umbrella or a rain jacket. It may be a messy afternoon. Either way, I’ll be there. Look for the final game thread before the real games start. Happy baseball, everyone.
Pierre Garçon offers help to Nationals (VIDEO)
Redskins’ wide receiver Pierre Garçon sent out a message to Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond of the Nationals on Friday night. He Instagrammed a video of him taking batting practice at Chase Field in Arizona and said the Nats players should give him a call if they ever need a pinch hitter or runner.
Check out the video:
Apparently Harper liked it:
— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) March 29, 2014
Not bad for a football player. Looks like his hit would have been caught by the shortstop, but you never know. Perhaps a bloop single?
MLB expands penalties for PEDs
Major League Baseball announced sweeping changes to its policy on performance-enhancing drugs on Friday night, expanding their system of punishment for offenders.
The penalty for a first testing violation will now increase from 50 to 80 games. A second violation will go from 100 games to a season-long 162. A third violation will still be a lifetime ban.
Perhaps most significant is the new policy preventing offenders from participating in the postseason. Under the old rules a player could return once his team started their playoff series. That is no more.
Last season both Jhonny Peralta and Nelson Cruz returned to their teams in the playoffs after sitting out much of the regular season while suspended. That loophole was a big focus in what amounts to the most significant change in MLB’s policy on PEDs in eight years.
Though PED suspensions are relatively rare, new union head Tony Clark hopes the new policy will help clean up the game even more.
“Our hope here is that the adjustments that we’ve made do inevitably get that number to zero. In the event that that doesn’t happen, for whatever reason, we’ll reevaluate and move forward from there. But as I sit here, I am hopeful that players make the right decisions that are best for them, for their careers and for the integrity of the game.”
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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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