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  1. Ankiel ready for new chapter as “life skills coordinator”

    Mar 4, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images file photo

    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…

  2. News and notes from Tuesday’s workout

    Mar 3, 2015, 4:27 PM EDT

    AP

    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…

  3. Scherzer will start spring opener, Roark in relief

    Mar 3, 2015, 2:45 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    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…

  4. VIDEO: Zim putting in extra time at 1B

    Mar 3, 2015, 1:07 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    Last week we caught up with Ryan Zimmerman in a video from Viera, but in this clip Mark takes a bit of a deeper dive into Zim’s transition to first base. He has reaction from Zimmerman himself, along with infield teammates Anthony Rendon and Ian Desmond, who have been working with the Face of the…

  5. On the cusp, Taylor patiently waits for his time

    Mar 3, 2015, 10:06 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    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,…

  6. Nats sign Tony Gwynn Jr. to minor-league deal

    Mar 2, 2015, 9:11 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    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…

  7. Zim getting used to working with fellow infielders

    Mar 2, 2015, 5:55 PM EDT

    AP

    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…

  8. Live BP wraps up with athleticism and a plunking

    Mar 2, 2015, 3:36 PM EDT

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals typically have held live batting practice drills on four consecutive days each spring, giving each pitcher in camp two opportunities to work off a mound with a batter at the plate. But a condensed scheduled this spring forced them to cut these sessions in half, putting some added emphasis on…

  9. VIDEO: Stephen Strasburg 1-on-1

    Mar 2, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT

    Screen shot 2015-03-02 at 1.02.17 PM

    In this latest video from Nationals’ spring training in Viera, Mark sits down with Stephen Strasburg to talk about the addition of Max Scherzer and look ahead to the 2015 season. Strasburg reflects on his career so far, now that he’s entering his sixth MLB season. He also comments on the rise of the Nats…

  10. Why the Nats don’t use more defensive shifts

    Mar 2, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    AP

    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…

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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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