Mar 11, 2015, 10:25 AM EDT
Given the star power up and down the Nationals’ rotation, there is regularly going to be a good chance of a premier pitching matchup this season. Consider today’s game in Viera the first of many more to come, with Jordan Zimmermann squaring off against the Tigers’ David Price. These aren’t just two of the better…
Mar 10, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT
For most veterans, the goal of spring training is simple: Get yourself ready for the regular season. For young players and others on the bubble, the goal is entirely different: Prove to club officials you deserve a spot on the Opening Day roster. And nobody in Nationals camp for the next month is going to…
Mar 10, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT
Several random, yet somewhat connected, thoughts that have come to mind in the 24 hours since we learned Denard Span had surgery to repair a core muscle injury… We don’t know how long it will take Span to fully recover from the surgery, or whether this will become a lingering problem all season. While the…
Mar 9, 2015, 12:06 PM EDT
The day began with news of Denard Span’s core muscle surgery, a procedure that will force the veteran center fielder to open the season on the DL. But attention now shifts to the field of play, with the Nationals hosting the Braves in this afternoon’s Grapefruit League game in Viera. Tony Gwynn Jr., whose stock…
Mar 9, 2015, 9:02 AM EDT
Updated at 10:34 a.m. Denard Span is likely to miss as much as the season’s first month after surgery Monday morning to repair a right core muscle injury, yet another blow to the Nationals’ thinning ranks of healthy outfielders. Span is expected to begin baseball activities in 4-to-6 weeks, Nationals manager Matt Williams told reporters…
Mar 7, 2015, 3:49 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Stephen Strasburg has a reputation as a bit of a perfectionist, occasionally getting upset at himself over one or two mistakes he made in an otherwise strong performance. Over the years, though, he has learned he can’t take that same kind of mindset to spring training, especially early in spring training. So…
Mar 7, 2015, 12:02 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — We saw Max Scherzer on Thursday. We saw Jordan Zimmermann yesterday. Today, it’s Stephen Strasburg’s turn to take the mound for the first time this spring. As with his rotation mates, Strasburg is slated for two innings or 45 pitches, so don’t blink or you might miss his entire outing. Today’s game…
Mar 7, 2015, 10:50 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Yunel Escobar has a Grade 1 left oblique strain and will be shut down 7-to-10 days, but the Nationals believe their new second baseman will be ready for Opening Day. Escobar was diagnosed with the minor strain after complaining of a stiff back, which forced him to be scratched from his scheduled…
Mar 7, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Dan Uggla hadn’t felt like this on a major-league baseball field in quite some time. Actually able to see the ball clearly after two dreadful seasons that left a former All-Star’s career in shambles, Uggla debuted for the Nationals on Friday and looked better at the plate than he had…
Mar 6, 2015, 4:57 PM EDT
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Jordan Zimmermann has been doing this long enough now to know what he needs to get out of a 2-inning start in early March. (Hint: Not nearly as much as he needs to get out of a longer start in early April.) “Early in my career I was ready to…
Mar 6, 2015, 2:11 PM EDT
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Yunel Escobar, still dealing with a stiff back, was due to be examined by a Nationals team doctor Friday, a potentially negative development for the club’s new second baseman. Escobar, who was scratched from his scheduled spring debut Thursday evening, hadn’t shown improvement Friday morning at the Nationals’ complex in…
Mar 6, 2015, 10:40 AM EDT
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Hello from the Happiest Place on Earth™, otherwise known as Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World. It’s actually a cool, overcast day here at Braves camp, nothing like the scorcher we had yesterday in Viera. I’m sure, though, that Jordan Zimmermann won’t have any…
Mar 6, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Ryan Zimmerman loves to downplay the significance of events that take place on a baseball field, so it was no surprise he didn’t think the two tough scoops he made at first base Thursday evening on short-hop throws were that big a deal. “I mean, you just run to the base, catch…
Mar 5, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — If you thought Max Scherzer would be fighting any nerves when he toed the rubber late Thursday afternoon at Space Coast Stadium for the first time as a member of the Nationals, you need to get to know the $210 million right-hander a little better. “I love pitching,” Scherzer said about an…
Mar 5, 2015, 4:29 PM EDT
Updated at 8:55 p.m. VIERA, Fla. — Yunel Escobar had to be scratched from his Nationals debut Thursday with a sore back from extra work he has been doing at second base, according to manager Matt Williams. Escobar was scheduled to be in the lineup for the Nationals’ Grapefruit League opener against the Mets, batting…
Mar 5, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — This may or may not come as consolation to all of you currently buried under even more snow back home, but it’s currently 83 degrees under partly cloudy skies as I gaze out at Space Coast Stadium, the Nationals beginning their warm-ups for tonight’s Grapefruit League opener against the Mets. As miserable…
Mar 5, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — The back of his baseball card will forever show Tony Gwynn Jr. played 80 big-league games in 2014, hitting .152 with a paltry .455 OPS for the Phillies. In the journeyman outfielder’s mind, though, it’s as if the season never happened, the jolt of learning his Hall-of-Fame father had died of cancer…
Mar 4, 2015, 4:24 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — For five years, they have been spring training teammates, taking the field together for full-squad workouts in preparation of the upcoming season. In that time, Stephen Strasburg had thrown live batting practice to hitters countless times, while Bryce Harper took live BP off pitchers countless times. But until Wednesday, the Nationals’ two…
Mar 4, 2015, 3:23 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Jayson Werth took light swings off a tee Wednesday for the first time since his January shoulder surgery, a small but important step in the veteran outfielder’s attempt to return in time for the Nationals’ season opener. Werth’s workout was exceptionally light — he swung the bat in the air about 20…
Mar 4, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Rick Ankiel always figured he would stay in baseball once his playing career was done. Not necessarily as an on-field coach, though, but rather as something of an off-field coach, someone who could help the next generation of players deal with all the mental challenges the game presents. So when the idea…
Mar 3, 2015, 4:27 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals’ final two workouts of the spring before the Grapefruit League gets underway Thursday are fairly light affairs. Pitchers aren’t throwing off mounds. There are some defensive fundamental drills early on, then casual rounds of batting practice that keep everybody loose. And nobody was looser Tuesday during BP than Bryce Harper…
Mar 3, 2015, 2:45 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals’ exhibition season will kick off with the debut of the biggest acquisition of their offseason. Max Scherzer will start Thursday evening’s Grapefruit League opener against the Mets getting the nod from Matt Williams. Just don’t read much of anything into this decision, Williams cautions. “He’s ready,” the manager said of…
Mar 3, 2015, 10:06 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — It happens every spring. The scenario is always the same, only the names involved change. A promising young player looks ready to make the Opening Day roster. Except the only job available is on the bench, which would deny him from the regular playing time he’d get at Class AAA. This spring,…
Mar 2, 2015, 9:11 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals signed Tony Gwynn Jr. to a minor-league contract Monday night, offering the veteran outfielder and son of the Hall of Famer an invitation to big-league camp for the rest of the spring. Gwynn, 32, has 685 games of major-league experience with the Brewers, Padres, Dodgers and Phillies, owner of a…
Mar 2, 2015, 5:55 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — It has become a daily routine, Ryan Zimmerman getting extra, personalized work at first base. And with each passing day, the career third baseman looks more and more comfortable at his new position while the Nationals look more and more impressed with his natural ability to pick things up. “His athleticism is…
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 2015 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: 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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- Nats nearly doubled in franchise value from 2014 to 2015
- Gonzalez settles down, with help from Scherzer
- Former Nats pitcher earns rotation spot with Texas Rangers
- Ian Desmond ranks highly among shortstops, according to ESPN
- Gio Gonzalez faces Mets in Viera
- Harper sidelined as Nats' injuries continue to mount
- Who should Nats' tab as Rendon's fill-in?
- Podcast: 'Baseball in the District' - Mark Zuckerman & Marc Carig
- Scherzer dominates Cardinals' "A" lineup
- Harper on criticism, hopes for 2015: 'I want to do damage'