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  1. Was sloppy spring training game an aberration?

    Mar 1, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — Matt Williams leaned back in the chair in his office at Space Coast Stadium, having just witnessed a 3-hour, 59-minute slop fest of a ballgame that included 31 combined runs, 37 hits, six errors, two wild pitches, way too many pitching changes and way too many unsightly moments to commit to memory.…

  2. Zimmermann efficient vs. Braves in spring debut

    Mar 1, 2014, 5:28 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — Pity anyone who was late to arrive, or stuck in the concessions line, at Space Coast Stadium on Saturday afternoon. They might well have missed Jordan Zimmermann’s outing altogether. Zimmermann wasted no time turning in his two innings of work, facing the minimum six Braves batters and needing only 20 pitches to…

  3. Espinosa on playing shorstop, cutting down on swing

    Mar 1, 2014, 12:04 PM EDT

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — For a guy who has been told he’s competing for the starting job at second base, Danny Espinosa has spent an awful lot of time at shortstop this spring. When Nationals infielders take their positions for defensive drills, Espinosa has been joining Ian Desmond at short, shifting to second only for the…

  4. Nats vs. Braves — 3/1/14

    Mar 1, 2014, 10:38 AM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    VIERA, Fla. — It’s another beautiful day for baseball, and Space Coast Stadium is ready to host its first game of the spring. (I’m sure all of you suffering through the cold back in D.C. really enjoy reading that right now.) The Nationals face the Braves today for the first of at least 24 times…

  5. Observations from Nats’ 5-4 win over Mets

    Feb 28, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Spring training records mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. Matt Williams knows this. So more than the fact his Nationals rallied late to beat the Mets, 5-4, in Friday’s Grapefruit League opener at Tradition Field, the rookie manager was excited about the way his team played. The Nats made several nice plays…

  6. Jordan makes strong first statement to open spring

    Feb 28, 2014, 5:03 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — It would have been easy for Taylor Jordan to take the mound Friday at Tradition Field, knowing he had the first opportunity of any pitcher battling for a spot on the Nationals roster this spring, and get caught up more in trying to impress decision-makers than simply pitch well. The…

  7. VIDEO: Ryan Zimmerman one-on-one on SportsTalk Live

    Feb 28, 2014, 1:56 PM EDT

    ZimmermanNIss

    Ryan Zimmerman joined Brian Mitchell on CSN’s SportsTalk Live for a one-on-one interview this week, discussing a variety of topics as the Nationals move through spring training. Zimmerman talked about spending time at first base this season, his first impressions of manager Matt Williams, as well as who pulls the best pranks on the Nats.…

  8. Space Coast Stadium secure after Viera gunman scare

    Feb 28, 2014, 12:05 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Space Coast Stadium is secure and all Nationals employees are safe after a situation involving a gunman at the Viera courthouse just down the street from the club’s spring training home. The incident was reported around 10 a.m. when a man with a gun was seen outside the Moore Justice…

  9. Nats vs. Mets — 2/28/14

    Feb 28, 2014, 10:44 AM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Hey, look at that: It’s a real baseball field! And there will be real baseball played on it this afternoon! OK, so it’s real exhibition baseball, but that’s a whole lot better than no baseball at all, so why not get excited for the Nationals’ Grapefruit League opener against the…

  10. Ready for games to begin

    Feb 28, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — It’s not uncommon for big-league managers to drive themselves to road games in the Grapefruit League, and certainly previous managers of the Nationals traveled on their own. Matt Williams, though, made it clear yesterday he’ll be joining his players for the hour-plus ride this morning from Viera to Port St. Lucie for…

  11. Workout portion of spring wraps up

    Feb 27, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — They’d thrown bullpen sessions. They’d worked on their bunting and defensive positioning. Lord knows, they’d taken more than their share of grounders. So on the 13th day of spring training, Matt Williams decided to let his Nationals enjoy a rare, easy morning to wrap up the first leg of camp. Players took…

  12. Catchers get crash course on new rules

    Feb 27, 2014, 1:24 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — Wilson Ramos, like all major-league catchers, learned at a young age the proper way to block the plate. Where to position himself for a throw coming his way. How to plant his left foot in a spot that gives the runner no clear path. And, yes, how to absorb the impact of…

  13. VIDEO: Matt Williams mic’d up at Nats spring training

    Feb 27, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    williamsNIss3

    We have a pretty cool video to share with you today from Nationals spring training. As part of our video coverage in Viera, Fla., the Nats were nice enough to give us some inside access with new manager Matt Williams. In this feature you will see Williams mic’d up as he conducts spring training drills.…

  14. Strasburg, Storen face “A” team in final live BPs

    Feb 27, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — We’ve officially reached the inevitable point in spring training when everyone just desperately wants the games to start already. There’s still one more day before that happens, but the Nationals will begin the transition this morning when they conduct a lighter-than-usual workout inside Space Coast Stadium, treating it as more of a…

  15. Nats agree to terms with all 17 pre-arbitration players

    Feb 26, 2014, 5:20 PM EDT

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals agreed to contract terms with all 17 of their pre-arbitration players on Wednesday, finalizing the entire roster’s 2014 salaries with little disagreement. Those players, who all have fewer than three years of big-league service time and thus aren’t yet eligible for arbitration, have no official say in their salary figures…

  16. Could Zimmermann get Opening Day nod over Strasburg?

    Feb 26, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — You always have to be careful not to read too much into what happens in spring training, especially when the calendar shows it’s still February, so read the following with a bushel full of grains of salt… Jordan Zimmermann is currently on a five-day schedule that would line him up to start…

  17. Podcast: Baseball in The District – Aaron Fitt talks Nats prospects

    Feb 26, 2014, 1:16 PM EDT

    63b9c-natspark081508

    In the latest episode of ‘Baseball in The District,’ Tim Murray of ESPN 980 and I were joined by Aaron Fitt of Baseball America. Fitt is an expert on college baseball and MLB farm systems. Fitt talked extensively about Lucas Giolito and what we should expect from him this season, as well as his own…

  18. VIDEO: Denard Span one-on-one

    Feb 26, 2014, 11:45 AM EDT

    SpanNI_2-26

    Denard Span’s 2013 season with the Nationals was a tale of two very different halves. Before the All-Star break Span hit just .263 and found himself pushed to the back of Davey Johnson’s lineup. But in the second half of the season Span hit .302 and posted a .750 OPS. He also recorded the longest…

  19. Garcia thrilled to be healthy at long last

    Feb 26, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — Christian Garcia was asked the last time he was healthy for spring training, and the Nationals reliever immediately knew the answer: 2012. “That’s the only spring training that I’ve never gotten hurt,” he said. Talk about a rough road to travel. Garcia has experienced it all during his nine professional seasons. He…

  20. Jordan will start Friday’s exhibition opener vs. Mets

    Feb 26, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — Taylor Jordan, among those competing for the final spot in the Nationals’ Opening Day rotation, will start their first exhibition game of the season. Manager Matt Williams has tabbed the 25-year-old as his starter for Friday’s game against the Mets in Port St. Lucie. There’s no hidden message to be revealed in…

  21. Giolito healthy, bulked up for first full season

    Feb 25, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — Say hello to Lucas Giolito, shake his hand and listen to him speak confidently about his pitching career, and it’s easy to forget you’re talking to a 19-year-old. Here stands a 6-foot-6, 255-pound right-hander who throws a 100 mph fastball, along with an impressive offspeed arsenal, and grew up in a family…

  22. Zimmerman gets first work at first base

    Feb 25, 2014, 1:48 PM EDT

    AP

    Updated at 2:55 p.m. VIERA, Fla. — Ryan Zimmerman went through his first-ever defensive drill at first base Tuesday morning, learning how to pick throws in the dirt as the former Gold Glove third baseman begins the slow process of familiarizing himself with a new position. “It felt good,” he said. “Pretty easy.” There wasn’t…

  23. Mattheus day-to-day with rib inflammation

    Feb 25, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — An MRI on Ryan Mattheus’ upper right chest revealed inflammation of the cartilage connected to a rib, a relatively minor injury that should keep the Nationals reliever sidelined only a few more days. Mattheus officially was diagnosed with costochondritis, a condition common to many people who injure themselves coughing but rare for…

  24. Pitchers find entertaining way to work on hitting

    Feb 25, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — Workouts can get a bit mundane at this juncture of spring training, with players long since having reported to camp but several days still remaining until the Grapefruit League gets underway. Fortunately, Matt Williams scheduled a couple of new and interesting drills for Monday’s workout, keeping everyone from being bored to death.…

  25. Harper will remain in left field for now

    Feb 24, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — Despite his relative lack of experience, Bryce Harper has already seen considerable playing time at all three outfield spots with the Nationals. In 253 total games since reaching the majors in 2012, he has spent 39 percent of his time in left field, 36 percent of his time in center field and…

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 80 15.5
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Monday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (3) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 68 3.0
y-ST. LOUIS 88 69 4.0
-------------------------
PITTSBURGH 85 71 --
SAN FRANCISCO 85 71 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 5.0
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
(End of regular season)
MON: OFF
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

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. Click here for past audio clips.

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