Feb 24, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Ross Detwiler hasn’t faced big-league hitters since July, when a lingering back injury prematurely ended his 2013 season. So Sunday’s live batting practice session, while baring scant resemblance to a major-league ballgame, did represent a significant step for the left-hander. “I think anytime you see a hitter in there, especially if you…
Feb 23, 2014, 4:11 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — There’s no rhyme or reason why certain batters face certain pitchers during live BP at Nationals camp. Matt Williams and his staff don’t try to set up particular matchups; they simply instruct a group of three outfielders or infielders to head over to an adjacent field and take their hacks against whatever…
Feb 23, 2014, 3:01 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — For three hours each morning, the five Venezuelan members of the Nationals’ roster allow their minds to be consumed only with baseball. Wilson Ramos, Jose Lobaton and Sandy Leon can focus on their catching skills and working with the club’s pitching staff. Gabriel Alfaro and Felipe Rivero can concentrate on their bullpen…
Feb 23, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT
With a new baseball season around the corner, it’s time to try some new things. At CSN we cover the Nationals on a variety of platforms, so why not start a podcast? I, Chase Hughes, along with Tim Murray of ESPN 980 have done just that. This week we recorded the first episode of our…
Feb 23, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT
Ryan Zimmerman joined Mark for a one-on-one interview at Nationals spring training to look back on last season and give an update on his shoulder. As far as the shoulder goes, Zimmerman has some interesting stuff on how long it took to get healthy last season. Zimmerman tells Mark that he thought he would be…
Feb 23, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Ian Desmond was among the first members of the Nationals to report for spring training earlier this month, early enough that the big-league clubhouse inside Space Coast Stadium wasn’t yet fully up and running. So on his first day in town, Desmond instead drove to the year-round, minor-league complex just down the…
Feb 22, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Expanded instant replay is coming to baseball this season, and Matt Williams has now been schooled on many more details of the new system MLB is implementing that allows managers to officially challenge blown calls on the field. Williams joined fellow managers Fredi Gonzalez, Bo Porter and Brad Ausmus in Kissimmee on…
Feb 22, 2014, 3:51 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — A fast-developing downpour threw a wrench into today’s workout on the fields outside Space Coast Stadium, forcing right-handers Taylor Jordan and Chris Young to abort their sessions throwing to live hitters after only a couple of minutes. But sandwiched around the 20-minute rain delay were some intriguing batter-vs.-pitcher matchups, particularly those involving…
Feb 22, 2014, 12:03 PM EDT
The Nationals have made it clear the competition for starting second baseman is open. The candidates are Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa, and the Nats plan to give both an equal shot at the job. In Mark Zuckerman’s latest feature from Viera, he talks to both players as well as manager Matt Williams, getting their…
Feb 22, 2014, 9:40 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — It’s a gray, muggy, lazy morning here, with the threat of rain looming at any moment. After more than a week of gorgeous weather to open camp, things have taken a turn for the worse. Assuming Mother Nature cooperates, the Nationals will be taking the practice fields outside Space Coast Stadium in…
Feb 21, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — For all the discussion of Matt Williams’ lineup decisions — whether Bryce Harper hits third or fifth, whether Jayson Werth hits second or fourth, etc. — the one spot in the Nationals batting order that isn’t up for grabs might also be the spot with the most question marks. Denard Span will…
Feb 21, 2014, 4:02 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Tyler Moore played first base at Mississippi State. He played first base as he ascended through the Nationals’ farm system. And then, once he arrived in the big leagues two years ago, the young slugger found himself in a most uncomfortable position: left field. With Adam LaRoche enjoying a Silver Slugger/Gold Glove…
Feb 21, 2014, 1:53 PM EDT
Nationals manger Matt Williams is approaching spring training with a lot more structure this season, perhaps a little more than the team is used to. He has them working on fundamentals early on, getting the team back to basics as they begin the new year. So far Williams is pleased with the Nationals players’ effort…
Feb 21, 2014, 9:40 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Obviously, you can tell a lot about a pitcher when you watch him throw off a bullpen mound. But you can also learn a lot about a guy when you watch how he performs far more mundane tasks in spring training, like fielding practice. Watching the entire Nationals infield together for the…
Feb 21, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Perhaps no club in the majors had loftier expectations entering 2013 than the Nationals. Certainly no club struggled with living up to those expectations like the Nats did. One year later, the expectations remain sky-high. They just hope they’re better-equipped to handle them. “I think expectations are good,” first-year manager Matt Williams…
Feb 20, 2014, 7:14 PM EDT
To say Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is motivated for the 2014 season may be quite the understatement. After experiencing success in 2012 with a Nats team that won 98 games and the NL East, he still isn’t over falling short of a playoff berth last season. He’s back and hopes things go much differently this…
Feb 20, 2014, 4:53 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Read into it as much or as little as you like, but it didn’t go unnoticed Thursday that Danny Espinosa spent more time at shortstop than second base during the Nationals’ first full-squad workout of the spring. Matt Williams has said Espinosa is in an “open competition” with Anthony Rendon for the…
Feb 20, 2014, 3:44 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Though the Nationals have no major injuries throwing a wrench into the early days of spring training, two pitchers are dealing with minor issues that have altered their workout regimens: Tyler Clippard and Ross Ohlendorf. Clippard has not fully participated in drills the last two days after tweaking his back. The reliever…
Feb 20, 2014, 12:36 PM EDT
After seeing Homer Bailey sign a six-year, $105 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds this week, it was hard not to think about Jordan Zimmermann’s value with the Nationals. Zimmermann signed a two-year deal with the Nats this offseason, but is still without a long-term extension. Zimmermann discussed his contract with Mark in a one-on-one…
Feb 20, 2014, 9:56 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Among Matt Williams’ tougher decisions this spring involves the construction of his starting lineup, and there are no shortage of options for the rookie manager to consider. The Nationals are somewhat unique in that two of their best offensive players (Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth) are versatile enough to hit anywhere from…
Feb 20, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Pitchers have thrown off the bullpen mounds, learned how to field comebackers and properly bunt. Catchers have taken batting practice, perfected the art of snagging pop-ups and run through countless conditioning drills. Today, though, the real spring training begins. Nationals position players will take the field alongside the pitchers and catchers who…
Feb 19, 2014, 5:58 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Though final details have yet to be revealed by Major League Baseball, Matt Williams is curious to see how the sport’s new replay system will be utilized, with the Nationals manager expecting to be able to consult via phone with another team employee who will watch games on television and help decide…
Feb 19, 2014, 4:50 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Having participated in a full workout, taken a full round of batting practice and undergone the club’s annual physical, Bryce Harper is convinced his surgically repaired knee has completely healed and won’t present any further issue as he prepares for the the start of the season. “There’s nothing wrong with it,” he…
Feb 19, 2014, 1:31 PM EDT
Gio Gonzalez sat down for a one-on-one interview with Brian Mitchell last night for a segment on CSN’s SportsTalk Live. It’s pretty clear Gio is enjoying himself down in Viera, just look at the shades he’s wearing in the screenshot. Gio talked about his expectations for the Nationals this season, his new role as a…
Feb 19, 2014, 11:18 AM EDT
The Nationals’ bullpen was a bit of a liability last season, just one year after being a major strength for the club. They had issues with righty/lefty balance and an overall lack of depth. This year the Nats hope they’ve fixed those problems, bringing in Jerry Blevins to a unit that will also have one…
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.
- Should Desmond be the Nationals' No. 2 hitter?
- Strasburg settles down, Nats rout Cardinals 11-1
- Strasburg leads Nationals against Cardinals
- Skole among first round of cuts at Nats camp
- Rosenthal pain-free, Wacha pitches well for Cards
- Zimmerman, LaRoche homers lift Nationals over Atlanta
- Nationals split-squads face Braves, Cardinals
- Roark makes emergency start vs. Astros
- Fister scratched from start with elbow inflammation
- Doug Flutie took batting practice at Nats spring training (VIDEO)