Mar 2, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — There is no more prevailing trend in baseball right now than the use of more defensive shifts, a tactical maneuver that has been deployed by teams for a century but has exploded in the last couple of years. Except in Washington. Despite their use of analytics in plenty of other areas, the…
Mar 1, 2015, 6:11 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Aaron Barrett could be excused if, as he walked off the mound at AT&T Park on the night of Oct. 7, 2014, he wanted nothing more than to bury his head in the sand and never emerge again. Having just uncorked the wild pitch that brought the run home that ultimately won…
Mar 1, 2015, 3:47 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Max Scherzer was just about ready to get started with his first session facing live hitters as a member of the Nationals, except for one small request: He needed somebody to sing the national anthem before he could throw his first pitch. Seriously? “Yes, always,” Scherzer explained afterward. “You’ve got to simulate…
Mar 1, 2015, 9:47 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Baseball is a business, and Bryce Harper knows that. Few rosters can be held together forever, and he knows the Nationals as currently constructed may not get the chance to play as one club beyond this season. A true student of the game, though, Harper also knows a handful of franchises have…
Feb 28, 2015, 5:14 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Everywhere one guy goes, the other guy goes. If one is throwing in the bullpen, the other is right beside him. If one is fielding comebackers, the other is right behind him waiting for his turn. And when the work day is done and the golf course beckons, they remain playing partners.…
Feb 28, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals had managed to avoid Mother Nature’s worst since opening camp last week, squeezing a couple of workouts in between storms and intense wind, but their luck ran out Saturday. Heavy and persistent rain forced the team to essentially call off its planned daily workout. Pitchers did still play catch in…
Feb 28, 2015, 12:12 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Max Scherzer could have signed anywhere this winter. He chose to sign with the Nationals. Yes, the money — a staggering $210 million — was a big factor. But it wasn’t the only factor. As Scherzer explains in my 1-on-1 interview with him for Comcast SportsNet, the idea of joining a Nationals…
Feb 27, 2015, 9:44 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals added another bullpen arm to their spring training roster Friday night, signing veteran left-hander Rich Hill to a minor-league contract with an invitation to big-league camp. Hill, who turns 35 next month, is 24-22 with a 4.72 ERA in 190 career major-league appearances (70 starts) with the Cubs, Orioles, Red…
Feb 27, 2015, 6:44 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — There aren’t many jobs up for grabs this spring, but there is at least one interesting question for the Nationals to contemplate when assembling their Opening Day bench: How many left-handed bats do they need? The Nats’ projected lineup, as has been noted, will feature only two left-handed hitters: Denard Span and…
Feb 27, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Those of you still dealing with real winter back north won’t have any sympathy, but it was downright miserable today in Viera. The Nationals’ morning workout was conducted under gray skies that produced on-and-off rain, with temperatures in the low-50s and a strong wind howling from the north, with no tall structures…
Feb 27, 2015, 10:18 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Matt Williams likes to post a “Quote of the Day” each morning at the top of the workout schedule that hangs in the Nationals’ spring training clubhouse. Sometimes they’re inspirational sayings, sometimes they’re relayed to baseball, sometimes they’re not. The quote that was posted Thursday, on the morning of the Nationals’ first…
Feb 26, 2015, 7:19 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Jayson Werth is hoping his surgically repaired shoulder will be fully healed in time for Opening Day, but the veteran Nationals outfielder said he’s willing to spend the first week or two of the season on the disabled list if he’s not yet 100 percent healthy. “That’s kind of my goal,” Werth…
Feb 26, 2015, 5:02 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Yunel Escobar’s first 24 hours in a Nationals uniform included a meeting with Matt Williams and Mike Rizzo, plenty of work at second base and plenty of time getting to know his teammates. The end result of all that: An upbeat veteran ready to embrace his new position and do his part…
Feb 26, 2015, 9:49 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — The clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium this morning was alive for the first time this spring, with pitchers, catchers and position players all together at last, chatting and laughing in advance of the Nationals’ first full-team meeting and workout. One of the TVs happened to show footage of Bryce Harper’s epic media…
Feb 26, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — So many things come so easy to Anthony Rendon on a baseball field, it’s easy to forget just how little experience he has. Even to this day, Rendon has played only 352 games as a professional ballplayer, 251 of those in the major leagues. The Nationals’ young star has been forced to…
Feb 25, 2015, 6:39 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Bryce Harper reported for spring training on Wednesday and wasted no time letting the world know just how confident he is in himself, the Nationals’ star-studded rotation and the roster as a whole entering fourth big-league season. Over the span of a 12 1/2-minute session with media members in the dugout at…
Feb 25, 2015, 3:17 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — All 70 players invited by the Nationals to big-league camp have reported, but at least one prominent regular won’t be able to participate entirely at Thursday’s first full-squad workout of the spring. Jayson Werth, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder January 9, will be held back from full participation for…
Feb 25, 2015, 10:31 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Blake Treinen isn’t an overly gregarious person by nature, which only made his presence at spring training last year less noticeable. Treinen was given the last locker by the door at one end of the Nationals’ clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium, a spot typically reserved for minor leaguers who don’t figure to…
Feb 24, 2015, 5:48 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Matt Williams was asked Tuesday if he’s ever going to actually perform his Babe Ruth impersonation, as promised last season when his Nationals won 10 straight games. The manager’s answer was, well, let’s just say it was convoluted. More on that in a little bit. In the meantime, here are some news,…
Feb 24, 2015, 3:53 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Trea Turner, the prized shortstop prospect acquired by the Nationals during the offseason, reported for spring training on Tuesday … but not in Florida. Turner reported to Peoria, Ariz., home of the San Diego Padres, who remain Turner’s official employer for another four months. Because of a quirky MLB rule that rarely…
Feb 24, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT
Among the Nationals’ biggest challenges this spring is reconfiguring their bullpen after trading Tyler Clippard (and letting Rafael Soriano leave as a free agent). They recognize they can’t fully replace Clippard, one of the best and most-consistent relievers in baseball, but they also like the options they have to fill that role. In this video…
Feb 24, 2015, 10:09 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Ryan Zimmerman’s body is healthy, that is, as healthy as 30-year-old with 1,198 big-league games of wear and tear can be. Just as significant, Zimmerman’s mind is at ease as he begins his 10th spring training with the Nationals, his first as anything other than a third baseman. “All good things come…
Feb 23, 2015, 5:46 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Though position players don’t officially report until Tuesday and don’t hold their first official workout til Thursday, nearly every one of them has already arrived in Viera. So the attention right now is kind of split between the pitchers and catchers out on the practice fields and the position players taking part…
Feb 23, 2015, 2:12 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Ian Desmond doesn’t know if 2015 will be his final season with the Nationals. But he knows it could be, and so the veteran shortstop plans to savor every moment of his 12th (and possibly last) year with the only organization that has ever employed him. “I’m going to enjoy this ride,”…
Feb 23, 2015, 9:55 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman — that’s a title everyone’s still going to have to get used to — reported to spring training Monday morning and wasted no time getting to work at learning his new position. Zimmerman arrived in the clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium before 8 a.m. and within an…
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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- 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'
- Marlins pitcher part of sports betting investigation
- Scherzer on mound as Nats face Cards
- Rendon unlikely for Opening Day after 2nd MRI