Apr 1, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
Imagine the expression on Aaron Barrett’s face yesterday afternoon, after the rookie reliever not only made his big-league debut on Opening Day, not only retired the side with a pair of strikeouts, not only did all this in the ninth inning of a tie ballgame in front of 42,442 fans at Citi Field and not only did all this with his parents, wife and other family members in attendance, but emerged from it all with his first career win to boot.
Apr 1, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT
NEW YORK — It got lost in the shuffle amid the injuries to Wilson Ramos and Bryce Harper and the late-game heroics by the Nationals, but Stephen Strasburg’s Opening Day start deserves to be revisited.
Strasburg was anything but crisp in his first outing of the season, especially early on when he allowed four quick runs and put the Nationals in a hole. But by day’s end, the right-hander displayed a trait not frequently associated with him: Guts.
Mar 31, 2014, 7:47 PM EDT
Matt Williams’ first game with the Nationals featured all sorts of twists and turns, forcing the rookie manager to make several tough decisions on the fly that ultimately led to a wild, 9-7 win over the Mets in extra innings.
Mar 31, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
Despite injuries to Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos and a shaky debut by Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals battled against the Mets and rallied to win in extra innings thanks to clutch hits by Anthony Rendon and Denard Span.
Mar 31, 2014, 12:01 PM EDT
NEW YORK — Matt Williams tinkered with countless different lineup combinations throughout spring training, trying to find a formula he felt would work best once the regular season began. And then the first real lineup card the Nationals’ new manager ever filled out featured a 1-through-9 combo that was never actually used this spring. So,…
Mar 31, 2014, 9:46 AM EDT
NEW YORK — As I write this at 9:30 a.m., the tarp is on the field here. The temperature is 36 degrees. There’s a light rain — and even a couple of icy-looking things — falling from the sky. And yet … let’s play ball! Yes, it’s Opening Day, and they are expected to play…
Mar 31, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
The day has arrived at last. In a mere seven hours, Denard Span will step to the plate to face Dillon Gee, and the 10th season in Nationals history will be underway. As was the case last year, the Nationals have lofty expectations. They can only hope to actually live up to those expectations this…
Mar 30, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
And so the time is near. Technically, the 2014 Major League Baseball season already began last weekend when the Dodgers twice beat the Diamondbacks in Australia. But the stateside portion of the season begins tonight when the Dodgers and Padres meet and then really kicks off tomorrow with the traditional Opening Day. Which means it’s…
Mar 28, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
The news that came out of Viera yesterday about Doug Fister could under no circumstances be considered positive. Just when it looked like the right-hander was on track to start the season on time, he was pulled from a minor-league game after only one inning with a strained lat muscle. Fister will be examined today…
Mar 27, 2014, 2:56 PM EDT
Updated at 6:02 p.m. PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Doug Fister, who already was trying to catch up to the rest of his rotation mates after losing three weeks to elbow inflammation, is now likely to open the season on the disabled list after departing a minor-league start Thursday after only one inning with a…
Mar 27, 2014, 12:50 PM EDT
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — For all the talk this winter and this spring about a position switch for Ryan Zimmerman, the Nationals veteran wound up spending only two innings at first base in Grapefruit League play this year. Even so, manager Matt Williams said he’s prepared to use Zimmerman at first base once the…
Mar 27, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — And so we have arrived at the final day of spring training, with one last Grapefruit League showdown between the Nationals and Mets before they meet for real Monday at Citi Field. Both teams are using regular lineups (the only exception for the Nats is that Ryan Zimmerman, dealing with…
Mar 27, 2014, 11:28 AM EDT
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Four days ago, Kevin Frandsen was in Clearwater, assuming he would be heading north with for his third consecutive season with the Phillies. Then the veteran infielder got word the Phillies were outrighting him to the minors, removing him from their 40-man roster, prompting a series of twists that resulted…
Mar 27, 2014, 9:02 AM EDT
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Left-hander Michael Gonzalez, released by the Nationals on Tuesday, has rejoined the organization on a minor-league contract. Gonzalez originally had signed a minor-league contract with the Nationals on March 4, hoping to pitch his way onto the club’s Opening Day roster. But the 35-year-old struggled in four Grapefruit League appearances,…
Mar 26, 2014, 7:31 PM EDT
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The Nationals optioned utilityman Jeff Kobernus to Class AAA Syracuse and catcher Sandy Leon to Class AA Harrisburg this evening, moves that in turn finalized their Opening Day roster of position players. Today’s signing of veteran infielder Kevin Frandsen was the last piece of the puzzle, leaving no available spots…
Mar 26, 2014, 5:59 PM EDT
JUPITER, Fla. — Six weeks of spring training haven’t been enough for the Nationals to settle on a No. 5 starter, so what’s a couple more days at this point? Manager Matt Williams said Wednesday the club still hasn’t made a decision on its last remaining roster question and won’t until after Tanner Roark and…
Mar 26, 2014, 2:31 PM EDT
Updated at 5:20 p.m. JUPITER, Fla. — Bryce Harper plays baseball with emotion, and Matt Williams has made it clear he doesn’t want his young star to lose that competitive fire. But the Nationals’ rookie manager also knows Harper’s emotion won’t do him any good if he’s watching games from the clubhouse instead of participating…
Mar 26, 2014, 12:57 PM EDT
JUPITER, Fla. — The Nationals have voided last week’s option of Ross Ohlendorf to Class AAA Syracuse and placed the right-hander on the 60-day disabled list with a right lumbar strain, a move that opened up a spot on the 40-man roster for newly acquired infielder Kevin Frandsen. Ohlendorf had been demoted to the minors…
Mar 26, 2014, 12:12 PM EDT
JUPITER, Fla. — Stop me if you’ve seen this game before: Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals face Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals. Yes, it happened on that fateful October night in 2012. It has happened several times in spring training since. Shoot, it happened five days ago, right here in this very ballpark. But that’s…
Mar 26, 2014, 10:35 AM EDT
Updated at 1:15 p.m. JUPITER, Fla. — Turns out the final spot on the Nationals’ bench will go to a player who hadn’t been in their organization the entire spring. The Nationals have signed veteran infielder Kevin Frandsen, cut loose yesterday by the Phillies, and will give the 31-year-old a spot on their Opening Day…
Mar 26, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Matt Williams hinted yesterday morning that he planned to make some cuts after the day’s exhibition game against the Mets. Little could anyone have guessed just how many cuts the Nationals manager would make, nor how surprising some of the moves (and their domino effects) would be. Having had some time now…
Mar 25, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT
Updated at 6:23 p.m. VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals made several major decisions this afternoon, nearly finalizing their Opening Day roster after cutting infielders Tyler Moore and Jamey Carroll, plus pitchers Ryan Mattheus, Xavier Cedeno and Chris Young. Moore, Mattheus and Cedeno were optioned to Class AAA Syracuse, where they will open the season. Carroll…
Mar 25, 2014, 4:57 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Stephen Strasburg took the mound today with two, somewhat dueling objectives. On one hand, the Nationals ace wanted to finish his spring on a high note and position himself as best he could for Opening Day. On the other hand, he didn’t want to tip his hand too much to the same…
Mar 25, 2014, 12:43 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals released left-hander Michael Gonzalez this afternoon, removing one more name from the competition for their final bullpen job about 48 hours before they break camp and head north to begin the season. Gonzalez had signed a minor-league contract with the Nationals on March 4, hoping to pitch his way onto…
Mar 25, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — We’ve reached the home stretch at last, and that means a couple of things: 1) Guys are absolutely itching to get out of here and get this thing started, and 2) Exhibition games start bearing more resemblance to regular-season games. That’s the case today, with Stephen Strasburg and nearly every member of…
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.
- MLB Power Rankings: Brewers making noise
- Nationals dominating opponents late in games
- Instant analysis: Nats 6, Marlins 3
- Nationals face dominant Fernandez in series finale
- Nationals Stock Watch: Harper's heating up
- Strasburg’s poor outing continues troubling early season trend
- Strasburg's rough outing (VIDEO)
- Stephen Strasburg surrenders six in loss to Miami
- Braves fan trolls Nats with Wikipedia page entry (PHOTO)
- Strasburg looks to make it two in a row vs. Marlins