Mar 12, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
The Nationals have another round of split-squad games this afternoon, after which they will have completed exactly one-half of the Grapefruit League schedule (15 games down, 15 to go). With that in mind, this seems like as good a time as any to highlight the best, the worst and the unsightliest performances of the spring…
Mar 11, 2014, 5:26 PM EDT
Doug Fister threw off flat ground this morning and reported no problems with his injured elbow, leaving the Nationals hopeful the right-hander will be able to open the season without missing any time. “Threw fine, feels good,” manager Matt Williams told reporters in Viera following the Nats’ 3-2 exhibition win over the Yankees. “We’ll progress…
Mar 11, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
It’s been an awfully quiet spring so far for Jordan Zimmermann, and that’s a good thing. The right-hander has simply gone about his business and begun the process of building up his arm with no disruption and no struggles (he has yet to allow a run in five innings). Today, Zimmermann makes his third start,…
Mar 11, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
If the Nationals hold any edge over the Braves entering the season, it’s most likely the dominant starting rotation they intend to send to the mound every night for 162 games. Not much distinguishes these talented ballclubs from each other, but the Nats clearly entered the spring with a more fearsome starting five than Atlanta…
Mar 10, 2014, 3:13 PM EDT
They’ll play under the lights tonight at Space Coast Stadium, where the Nationals host the Astros in a rare, spring training evening game. Gio Gonzalez is on the mound for the Nats, making his second Grapefruit League start after tossing two scoreless innings against the Mets on Wednesday. We tend to focus on the pitchers…
Mar 10, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
A manager constructs a spring training lineup with plenty of objectives in mind. First and foremost, he wants to make sure his best players get as many at-bats as possible as quickly as possible before they take a seat after four or five innings. But a manager also uses exhibition play to try some things…
Mar 9, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT
Stephen Strasburg makes his second start of the spring this afternoon, looking to build up his arm a bit more, likely slated for three innings of work against the Cardinals. The right-hander, who tossed two scoreless frames against the Braves on Tuesday, will again look to use his newly developed slider on occasion. Several regulars…
Mar 9, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT
The Nationals made their first round of spring training cuts this morning, re-assigning four players to minor-league camp, including first baseman Matt Skole. Also re-assigned were catcher Jeff Howell, right-hander Gabriel Alfaro and left-hander Tyler Robertson. Skole, the organization’s fourth-best prospect according to Baseball America, impressed during his three weeks in camp, hitting .357 (5-for-14)…
Mar 8, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
The Nationals experience the first of three split-squad days for the spring, with Matt Williams managing one-half the squad in Viera against the Braves (who also are split up today) and Randy Knorr leading the other half in Jupiter against the Cardinals. Ross Detwiler gets the start against Atlanta, looking for better results than he…
Mar 7, 2014, 12:57 PM EDT
With Doug Fister sidelined for the time being due to inflammation in his right elbow, the window of opportunity opens for some other members of the Nationals pitching staff. That includes Tanner Roark, who today gets a chance to make his first start of the spring, bumped up to take Fister’s spot instead of appearing…
Mar 7, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT
Doug Fister was scratched from his scheduled start today with inflammation in his throwing elbow, an injury the Nationals say isn’t serious but is enough to keep the right-hander from facing the Astros at Space Coast Stadium. Fister complained of discomfort in his elbow following his spring debut Sunday against the Marlins, manager Matt Williams…
Mar 7, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
They call it “Tommy John surgery,” and the left-hander who first had his namesake procedure performed on his elbow back in 1974 will forever be immortalized as a baseball pioneer. Really, though, we should forever refer to it as “Frank Jobe surgery,” because the Los Angeles orthopedist who brilliantly conjured up the ligament reconstruction surgery…
Mar 6, 2014, 3:25 PM EDT
It’s been a stormy day across the state of Florida, and several of this afternoon’s Grapefruit League games were canceled as a result. The Nationals, though, are scheduled to play this evening at Disney World, and for now the game remains on schedule. Assuming they’re able to get this one in, Jordan Zimmermann and Julio…
Mar 6, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT
It’s been exactly three weeks since Nationals pitchers and catchers reported for spring training. And exactly three weeks from today, the Nats will break camp in Viera and head north in anticipation of the 10th Opening Day in club history. Obviously, there’s still plenty of work to be done between now and March 27, and…
Mar 5, 2014, 11:45 AM EDT
Gio Gonzalez is the last of the projected members of the Nationals’ Opening Day rotation to start this spring, which shouldn’t be interpreted as anything other than the schedule falling this way, lining up the lefty right behind Stephen Strasburg for now. Gonzalez has nothing to prove this spring; he merely needs to get his…
Mar 5, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
If you’ve glanced at any boxscores from the Nationals’ five Grapefruit League games to date, you’ve probably paid attention to members of the starting rotation, key lineup regulars and a few top relievers who have appeared so far. Have you noticed, however, what the Nats have been doing on the bases down in Florida? Here’s…
Mar 4, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
Yes, it’s the Grapefruit League, and it’s March 4, but today’s game in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., is about as good as exhibition baseball is going to get. The Nationals and Braves meet for the second time in four days, and each lineup is stocked with big names. Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Adam…
Mar 4, 2014, 9:22 AM EDT
Michael Gonzalez, a key member of the Nationals’ division-winning bullpen in 2012, is returning to the organization. The Nationals have signed Gonzalez to a minor-league contract with an invitation to big-league camp, offering him an opportunity to make the Opening Day roster as the club’s second left-handed reliever. Gonzalez, 35, joined the Nats in May…
Mar 4, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
Each of the three contenders for the final spot in the Nationals’ Opening Day rotation has had the opportunity to pitch two innings now, and if this competition is strictly about performance, Ross Detwiler (who was roughed up by the Yankees for four runs — three earned — and five hits Monday) clearly has taken…
Mar 2, 2014, 3:44 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — After watching Doug Fister dazzle in every one of his bullpen sessions and live BP outings the last two weeks, the Nationals might have expected nothing less than perfection the first time Fister took the mound in a game. That’s a lot to ask, though, and so Fister’s debut Sunday felt a…
Mar 2, 2014, 12:13 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Some news and notes to whet your appetite while you wait for the start of today’s Grapefruit League game (not to mention another round of snow back home)… — Anthony Rendon is starting at third base this afternoon, and don’t be surprised if you see that several more times this spring. There’s…
Mar 2, 2014, 10:25 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — We’ve been hearing about the significance of the Nationals’ trade for Doug Fister since Mike Rizzo pulled off that deal three months ago. Today, we finally get to see the big right-hander on the mound in a game. Fister makes his Nationals debut, facing a Marlins club he’ll see plenty this season…
Mar 1, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Matt Williams leaned back in the chair in his office at Space Coast Stadium, having just witnessed a 3-hour, 59-minute slop fest of a ballgame that included 31 combined runs, 37 hits, six errors, two wild pitches, way too many pitching changes and way too many unsightly moments to commit to memory.…
Mar 1, 2014, 5:28 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Pity anyone who was late to arrive, or stuck in the concessions line, at Space Coast Stadium on Saturday afternoon. They might well have missed Jordan Zimmermann’s outing altogether. Zimmermann wasted no time turning in his two innings of work, facing the minimum six Braves batters and needing only 20 pitches to…
Mar 1, 2014, 12:04 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — For a guy who has been told he’s competing for the starting job at second base, Danny Espinosa has spent an awful lot of time at shortstop this spring. When Nationals infielders take their positions for defensive drills, Espinosa has been joining Ian Desmond at short, shifting to second only for the…
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.
- Zimmermann perfect against Sabathia, Yankees
- Fister could be ready for season's first week
- Zimmermann leads Nats against Yankees' Sabathia
- Injuries highlight the importance of rotation depth
- Gio Gonzalez starts strong, but Astros top Nationals
- Bryce Harper repping new eye black company
- Gonzalez faces Astros under the lights in Viera
- Should Desmond be the Nationals' No. 2 hitter?
- Strasburg settles down, Nats rout Cardinals 11-1
- Strasburg leads Nationals against Cardinals