Mar 25, 2014, 4:57 PM EST
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 EST
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 EST
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…
Mar 25, 2014, 10:50 AM EST
VIERA, Fla. — Doug Fister’s next start will come not in the Nationals’ Grapefruit League finale but in a minor-league game Thursday where club officials can better control his pitch count. Fister could have started against the Mets in Port St. Lucie in the Nationals’ final Florida exhibition game before Opening Day, but the team…
Mar 24, 2014, 9:08 PM EST
VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals released veteran catcher Chris Snyder on Monday night, a move that pared their spring training roster down to 33 players with only three days remaining in camp. Snyder, 33, signed a minor-league contract with the Nationals over the winter, hoping to compete for the backup job to Wilson Ramos and…
Mar 24, 2014, 5:15 PM EST
JUPITER, Fla. — Taylor Jordan handed the ball to Matt Williams with two outs in the bottom of the sixth and walked back to the first base dugout. And with that came the official conclusion of the evaluation phase of the Nationals’ No. 5 starter spring competition. Now comes the hardest part: Making the decision…
Mar 24, 2014, 1:43 PM EST
JUPITER, Fla. — Even though they’re already committed to carrying both Ross Detwiler and Jerry Blevins on their Opening Day roster, the Nationals still are thinking about carrying a third left-hander in their bullpen to begin the season. The decision to move Detwiler out of the rotation and into the bullpen last week seemed to…
Mar 24, 2014, 12:00 PM EST
JUPITER, Fla. — Tanner Roark made his final case to win the No. 5 starter’s job yesterday. Today, it’s Taylor Jordan who gets his chance to make one last positive impression on the Nationals before they decide who will open the season as the final member of their starting rotation. Jordan has had an up-and-down…
Mar 24, 2014, 10:43 AM EST
Updated at 12:50 p.m. JUPITER, Fla. — The Nationals reduced the competition for their final bullpen spot by one this morning, re-assigning Blake Treinen to minor-league camp. Treinen had been among the biggest revelations of the spring, a right-hander who, in the words of manager Matt Williams, throws “an easy 97″ mph. Acquired from the…
Mar 24, 2014, 7:41 AM EST
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Aaron Barrett is having the time of his life right now, pitching extremely well in his first-ever big-league camp and thrusting himself smack dab into the middle of one of the Nationals’ toughest Opening Day roster decisions. The 26-year-old reliever has absolutely no idea where he’ll be living this time…
Mar 23, 2014, 5:37 PM EST
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Having seen both Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan pitch for nearly six weeks now, Nationals manager Matt Williams admitted his opinion of either right-hander probably wasn’t to be altered much by each hurler’s final Grapefruit League start. There’s nothing wrong, however, with leaving a good impression on your manager’s mind…
Mar 23, 2014, 12:27 PM EST
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Doug Fister emerged healthy from his start yesterday against the Marlins and now is scheduled to pitch again in Thursday’s Grapefruit League finale, putting the right-hander on track to make his first start for the Nationals on April 6. Fister reported no problems with his elbow this morning, according to…
Mar 23, 2014, 11:52 AM EST
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Anthony Rendon is unavailable to play for the third straight day due to a severe chest cold, but the second baseman is expected to return well in advance of the Nationals’ March 31 season opener. Rendon hasn’t played since Thursday, when he came off the bench to replace Ryan Zimmerman…
Mar 23, 2014, 10:23 AM EST
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — It’s going to be a warm Sunday afternoon at Tradition Field, where the temperatures are supposed to climb into the upper 80s. So it’s only fitting that the battle for the final spot in the Nationals’ rotation begins to heat up today, with Tanner Roark getting perhaps his last chance…
Mar 22, 2014, 5:34 PM EST
VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals have been telling Danny Espinosa all spring they’ve been pleased with his approach at the plate, even if the results didn’t necessarily back it up. Then on Saturday afternoon, that same approach — a compact swing and an emphasis on trying to hit the ball the other way — finally…
Mar 22, 2014, 3:16 PM EST
VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals planned to be cautious with Doug Fister and limit the right-hander to three innings in his first start in 20 days. Fister, though, was so effective this afternoon against the Marlins that the Nationals decided to let him go beyond their pre-planned limits. Showing no outward ill effects of the…
Mar 22, 2014, 10:50 AM EST
VIERA, Fla. — The question pops up every spring: Who’s the Nationals’ emergency catcher? The need never actually arises, but every club wants to have a plan in place, just in case the worst-case scenario presents itself during the course of a game. And as was the case last year under Davey Johnson, Bryce Harper…
Mar 22, 2014, 9:21 AM EST
VIERA, Fla. — Doug Fister was among the most impressive players in camp for about three weeks. But then the right-hander experienced elbow inflammation after his first start of the spring and he’s spent the last 20 days working way back. Today, though, Fister returns to the mound for a Grapefruit League game, scheduled to…
Mar 21, 2014, 4:52 PM EST
JUPITER, Fla. — Forgive Gio Gonzalez if he’s just a tad bit sick of the Cardinals and Roger Dean Stadium right now. The Nationals left-hander today faced St. Louis in Jupiter for the fourth time in three seasons. He also faced the Marlins in this ballpark once during that span. And he’s scheduled to face…
Mar 21, 2014, 2:58 PM EST
Episode 5 of ‘Baseball in The District’ turned out to be quite action packed. Tim Murray of ESPN 980 and I welcomed two guests, Nationals assistant GM Doug Harris and radio voice of the Miami Marlins, Glenn Geffner. Harris talked about the Nationals’ minor league pitching depth and Geffner gave us a preview of the…
Mar 21, 2014, 1:54 PM EST
JUPITER, Fla. — With less than a week of spring training to go, Nationals manager Matt Williams still doesn’t want to name his starting second baseman, saying he wants both Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa to continue competing down to the wire. “I’m not ready to make that decision yet,” Williams said prior to today’s…
Mar 21, 2014, 10:49 AM EST
JUPITER, Fla. — Check out today’s starting lineup. You may not recognize a couple of the names. So, allow me to introduce you to Jose Lozada, a 28-year-old third baseman who hit .204 last season at Class AA Harrisburg. And allow me to introduce you to Caleb Ramsey, a 25-year-old outfielder who hit .290 last…
Mar 21, 2014, 6:00 AM EST
VIERA, Fla. — After a long and frustrating 2013, Ryan Mattheus couldn’t wait to get back on the mound for the Nationals this spring. And then after a long and frustrating spring, the right-hander really couldn’t wait to finally make his 2014 debut yesterday at Space Coast Stadium. The end result: a 1-2-3 inning of…
Mar 20, 2014, 5:45 PM EST
VIERA, Fla. — The Stephen Strasburg who took the mound Thursday afternoon and shut out the Tigers for five innings certainly looked a guy ready to take the mound on Opening Day for the Nationals. In scattering three hits and a walk, Strasburg cruised through his fourth start of the spring and lowered his Grapefruit…
Mar 20, 2014, 12:58 PM EST
VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals made six more cuts before this afternoon’s game against the Tigers, bringing even more clarity to the few remaining roster battles over the final week of spring training. Right-handers Ross Ohlendorf and Christian Garcia and catcher Jhonatan Solano were optioned to Class AAA Syracuse, with fellow reliever Manny Delcarmen and…
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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