Mar 26, 2015, 9:08 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — There was a moment in the top of the third inning Thursday evening at Space Coast Stadium that might as well have been classic Gio Gonzalez. After issuing back-to-back, 2-out walks to the Mets, the left-hander shouted out a naughty word that could be heard in every corner of this cozy ballpark.…
Mar 26, 2015, 4:16 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Hello from Space Coast Stadium, where the Nats and Mets are scheduled to play the odd 5:05 p.m. ballgame this afternoon/evening. I would offer an explanation for the strange starting time, but I have none. It’s actually not ideal from a weather standpoint: It’s been beautiful here all day, but there are…
Mar 26, 2015, 3:28 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Add Bryce Harper to the list of Nationals regulars unable to play right now, but don’t worry, this ailment legitimately doesn’t appear to be anything serious. Harper was scratched from the lineup for Thursday evening’s game against the Mets due to a stomach virus that has been bothering the young slugger the…
Mar 26, 2015, 10:17 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Put together a list of the most indispensable players on the Nationals roster, and Anthony Rendon might well sit at the top. Or, at least, in the top three. So Wednesday’s revelation that Rendon’s ailing left knee required a second MRI, leaving him unlikely to be ready for Opening Day, was a…
Mar 25, 2015, 5:56 PM EDT
JUPITER, Fla. — It was a spring training game, and so all the usual caveats must apply. But it was a spring training game against the entire regular Cardinals lineup, one of the better top-to-bottom lineups in baseball, and Max Scherzer knew that. So while it would be easy to brush off any serious accolades…
Mar 25, 2015, 12:27 PM EDT
JUPITER, Fla. — Anthony Rendon’s chance of being ready for Opening Day, already a question mark, appears slim at best after a second MRI of the Nationals third baseman’s left knee showed only minor improvement. The MRI, administered Tuesday in Viera, showed Rendon’s MCL remains sprained, better than it was three weeks ago but not…
Mar 25, 2015, 10:40 AM EDT
JUPITER, Fla. — Hello from Roger Dean Stadium! It’s good to be back in Florida for the final stretch of the spring, which includes three trips in eight days to this complex. It begins today when the Nationals face the Cardinals, who have Michael Wacha on the mound and all of their regulars in the…
Mar 25, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT
JUPITER, Fla. — We have officially reached the home stretch of spring training, with 10 remaining exhibition games (nine in Florida, one in D.C.) over the next 12 days before the 2015 season begins for real at Nationals Park. Which means it’s finally time to start trying to figure out who exactly is going to…
Mar 24, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT
The Nationals are taking a break today, enjoying their first scheduled day off of the entire spring. (Your trusty beat reporter, meanwhile, will be on a Florida-bound airplane in just a few hours and will be bringing you live updates from Jupiter tomorrow morning.) So this seems like an opportune time to take a step…
Mar 23, 2015, 7:52 PM EDT
Heath Bell’s attempt to resurrect his career with the Nationals came to an abrupt end on Monday when the veteran reliever was released, one of four roster moves made following Washington’s 7-6 exhibition win over the Yankees. In addition to releasing Bell, the Nationals optioned right-hander Taylor Jordan to Class AAA Syracuse and reassigned reliever…
Mar 23, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT
The news out of Viera today that will draw the most attention, of course, is the naming of Max Scherzer as Opening Day starter. But the more important development down there today might well be the fact Yunel Escobar is making his long-awaited spring training debut this afternoon. Sidelined the last three weeks with an…
Mar 23, 2015, 11:33 AM EDT
Max Scherzer will start Opening Day for the Nationals, the club announced Monday, a not-surprising answer to a question that nonetheless had hovered over camp all spring. Scherzer, signed by the Nationals in January to the largest contract ever given a free-agent right-hander (7 years, $210 million), gets the nod over equally qualified rotation mates…
Mar 23, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT
Three weeks ago, back when he didn’t think he’d be looking for an Opening Day center fielder, Nationals manager Matt Williams noted the progress Michael Taylor had made over the previous 12 months and how that left the top prospect on the cusp of the big-league roster. “Mike’s close,” Williams said. “He’s really close.” Circumstances,…
Mar 22, 2015, 10:21 AM EDT
Stephen Strasburg was supposed to start today, making the trip to Lakeland to face Miguel Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Verlander and the Tigers. Instead, Strasburg is back in Viera, nursing a twisted left ankle suffered during conditioning drills. The injury is not believed to be serious, but it is enough to keep the right-hander from…
Mar 21, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT
It’s going to be such a nice day in Florida, the Nationals decided they might as well play two. Simultaneously. Yes, it’s another split-squad day, with one team staying home in Viera to face the Marlins while another group heads to Disney to face a split-squad Braves team. Most of the starters, as expected, are…
Mar 20, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT
Every member of the Nationals rotation has now made three starts this spring, and every member of the rotation should make three more starts before Opening Day. For now, Max Scherzer leads the way, taking the mound today in Kissimmee for his fourth Grapefruit League start and scheduled to be the first member of the…
Mar 20, 2015, 11:03 AM EDT
As you stare out the window this morning and see snow falling in the D.C. area, it’s difficult to believe they’ll be playing a real baseball game here in a mere 17 days. Believe it, though, because not even Mother Nature can get in the way of this. Baseball season has almost arrived. Which, in…
Mar 19, 2015, 5:13 PM EDT
The Nationals trimmed their spring training roster by three more Thursday, optioning left-hander Matt Grace and catcher Dan Butler to Class AAA Syracuse, plus infielder Wilmer Difo to Class A Potomac. Difo impressed in his first-ever big-league camp, hitting .318 (7-for-22) with two extra-base hits in 13 Grapefruit League games. The 22-year-old is among the…
Mar 19, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT
We are fast approaching the stretch run of spring training, which means pitchers start going deeper into games, position players start getting more at-bats and guys on the roster bubble start being evaluated a bit closer. The Nationals today will see Gio Gonzalez make his third start of the spring. The lefty was fantastic in…
Mar 19, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT
Every team enters spring training with a rough idea what its Opening Day roster will look like, or at least which players will be competing for however many roster spots are up for grabs. And then as official first day of spring approaches and the regular season begins to loom, every team realizes its best-laid…
Mar 13, 2015, 5:09 PM EDT
Drew Storen became the latest prominent Nationals player to suffer a spring training injury, requiring minor surgery Friday to remove the broken hook of the hamate bone in his left hand. Manager Matt Williams told reporters in Viera the right-handed Storen would likely be able to resume normal throwing within 2-to-3 days and thus is…
Mar 13, 2015, 12:28 PM EDT
Two years from now (or possibly three if there are any more delays in construction) when the Nationals and Astros want to play each other in spring training, neither will ever have to set foot on a bus. That’s the beauty of the shared complex these two franchises are going to be building in West…
Mar 13, 2015, 10:13 AM EDT
Third baseman Anthony Rendon has a mild MCL sprain in his left knee and will be shut down for several days to let the injury heal, Nationals manager Matt Williams told reporters in Viera. Rendon becomes the latest member of the suddenly fragile Nationals lineup to suffer an injury this spring, joining second baseman Yunel…
Mar 12, 2015, 12:38 PM EDT
It’s Stephen Strasburg’s turn to pitch today, but the right-hander won’t be pitching in Port St. Lucie against the Mets. Instead, as a result of an ingrown toenail that needed to be removed, Strasburg is pitching in a minor-league game in Viera. In addition to the idea that he can pitch in a more controlled…
Mar 12, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
In his annual look at early season schedules for every MLB club, ESPN’s Buster Olney notes how easy the Nationals appear to have things to begin 2015. Olney goes so far as to say he “cannot recall a team with a better opportunity to break away to a strong start than what the Washington Nationals…
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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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