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…
Mar 1, 2014, 10:38 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — It’s another beautiful day for baseball, and Space Coast Stadium is ready to host its first game of the spring. (I’m sure all of you suffering through the cold back in D.C. really enjoy reading that right now.) The Nationals face the Braves today for the first of at least 24 times…
Feb 28, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Spring training records mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. Matt Williams knows this. So more than the fact his Nationals rallied late to beat the Mets, 5-4, in Friday’s Grapefruit League opener at Tradition Field, the rookie manager was excited about the way his team played. The Nats made several nice plays…
Feb 28, 2014, 5:03 PM EDT
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — It would have been easy for Taylor Jordan to take the mound Friday at Tradition Field, knowing he had the first opportunity of any pitcher battling for a spot on the Nationals roster this spring, and get caught up more in trying to impress decision-makers than simply pitch well. The…
Feb 28, 2014, 12:05 PM EDT
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Space Coast Stadium is secure and all Nationals employees are safe after a situation involving a gunman at the Viera courthouse just down the street from the club’s spring training home. The incident was reported around 10 a.m. when a man with a gun was seen outside the Moore Justice…
Feb 28, 2014, 10:44 AM EDT
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Hey, look at that: It’s a real baseball field! And there will be real baseball played on it this afternoon! OK, so it’s real exhibition baseball, but that’s a whole lot better than no baseball at all, so why not get excited for the Nationals’ Grapefruit League opener against the…
Feb 28, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — It’s not uncommon for big-league managers to drive themselves to road games in the Grapefruit League, and certainly previous managers of the Nationals traveled on their own. Matt Williams, though, made it clear yesterday he’ll be joining his players for the hour-plus ride this morning from Viera to Port St. Lucie for…
Feb 27, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
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…
Feb 27, 2014, 1:24 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Wilson Ramos, like all major-league catchers, learned at a young age the proper way to block the plate. Where to position himself for a throw coming his way. How to plant his left foot in a spot that gives the runner no clear path. And, yes, how to absorb the impact of…
Feb 27, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
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…
Feb 26, 2014, 5:20 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals agreed to contract terms with all 17 of their pre-arbitration players on Wednesday, finalizing the entire roster’s 2014 salaries with little disagreement. Those players, who all have fewer than three years of big-league service time and thus aren’t yet eligible for arbitration, have no official say in their salary figures…
Feb 26, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — You always have to be careful not to read too much into what happens in spring training, especially when the calendar shows it’s still February, so read the following with a bushel full of grains of salt… Jordan Zimmermann is currently on a five-day schedule that would line him up to start…
Feb 26, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Christian Garcia was asked the last time he was healthy for spring training, and the Nationals reliever immediately knew the answer: 2012. “That’s the only spring training that I’ve never gotten hurt,” he said. Talk about a rough road to travel. Garcia has experienced it all during his nine professional seasons. He…
Feb 26, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Taylor Jordan, among those competing for the final spot in the Nationals’ Opening Day rotation, will start their first exhibition game of the season. Manager Matt Williams has tabbed the 25-year-old as his starter for Friday’s game against the Mets in Port St. Lucie. There’s no hidden message to be revealed in…
Feb 25, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Say hello to Lucas Giolito, shake his hand and listen to him speak confidently about his pitching career, and it’s easy to forget you’re talking to a 19-year-old. Here stands a 6-foot-6, 255-pound right-hander who throws a 100 mph fastball, along with an impressive offspeed arsenal, and grew up in a family…
Feb 25, 2014, 1:48 PM EDT
Updated at 2:55 p.m. VIERA, Fla. — Ryan Zimmerman went through his first-ever defensive drill at first base Tuesday morning, learning how to pick throws in the dirt as the former Gold Glove third baseman begins the slow process of familiarizing himself with a new position. “It felt good,” he said. “Pretty easy.” There wasn’t…
Feb 25, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — An MRI on Ryan Mattheus’ upper right chest revealed inflammation of the cartilage connected to a rib, a relatively minor injury that should keep the Nationals reliever sidelined only a few more days. Mattheus officially was diagnosed with costochondritis, a condition common to many people who injure themselves coughing but rare for…
NL EAST STANDINGS
TUE: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
Full season schedule
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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