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  1. Espinosa works more at SS than 2B on first day

    Feb 20, 2014, 4:53 PM EST

    AP

    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…

  2. Clippard, Ohlendorf dealing with minor tweaks

    Feb 20, 2014, 3:44 PM EST

    AP

    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…

  3. VIDEO: Zimmermann not worried about a new contract

    Feb 20, 2014, 12:36 PM EST

    USA Today Sports Images

    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…

  4. Williams considers lineup with Harper batting fifth

    Feb 20, 2014, 9:56 AM EST

    AP

    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…

  5. Full-squad workouts begin today

    Feb 20, 2014, 6:00 AM EST

    USA Today Sports Images

    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…

  6. Williams curious about new replay challenge system

    Feb 19, 2014, 5:58 PM EST

    AP

    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…

  7. Harper: Surgically repaired knee completely healed

    Feb 19, 2014, 4:50 PM EST

    AP

    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…

  8. VIDEO: Gio Gonzalez on CSN’s SportsTalk Live

    Feb 19, 2014, 1:31 PM EST

    GioGonzalezss

    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…

  9. VIDEO: Nats bullpen enters 2014 looking for better results

    Feb 19, 2014, 11:18 AM EST

    StorenssNI

    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…

  10. Pitchers getting playing time at … shortstop?

    Feb 19, 2014, 10:05 AM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — It’s a rite of spring. Pitchers fielding practice. Better known to those around every baseball camp as PFP. There aren’t too many ways to throw new wrinkles into these drills. Cover first base on grounders to the right side. Snag comebackers, look an imaginary runner back to third base and then throw…

  11. Slow and steady for Soriano

    Feb 19, 2014, 6:00 AM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — Plenty of ballplayers have questioned whether six full weeks of spring training really are necessary, saying they don’t need that much time to get ready for the regular season. Rafael Soriano takes that philosophy to new extremes. Soriano prefers to pitch as little as possible in spring training, believing he needs only…

  12. Zim confident at 3B, but ready for reps at 1B

    Feb 18, 2014, 6:27 PM EST

    AP file photo

    VIERA, Fla. — Though he acquired a first baseman’s mitt over the winter and is ready to take some reps on the other side of the diamond this spring, Ryan Zimmerman is confident he can become an elite defensive third baseman again this season after a strong conclusion to 2013. “I think with the way…

  13. Harper takes full BP on first day in camp

    Feb 18, 2014, 3:56 PM EST

    Photo courtesy Washington Nationals

    VIERA, Fla. — Bryce Harper reported to Nationals camp Tuesday along with the club’s other position players, then quickly diffused much of any concern that lingered about the state of his surgically repaired left knee. Harper participated fully during the optional afternoon workout inside Space Coast Stadium, taking a full round of batting practice and…

  14. VIDEO: Doug Fister says Nationals have ‘huge upside’

    Feb 18, 2014, 11:25 AM EST

    FisterSS_NI

    Doug Fister sat down with Mark at Nationals spring training yesterday in Viera, Fla. to talk about his early impressions of the team. He’s been with the Nats just a few days, but is liking what he sees both from the players and manager Matt Williams. Fister has played on some great teams in the…

  15. Zimmermann: “I just want to be paid what I’m worth”

    Feb 18, 2014, 9:58 AM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — Much as he’d like to keep his mind off it, Jordan Zimmermann couldn’t help but notice the dollar figures being thrown around to fellow pitchers this winter. Adam Wainwright: $97.5 million. Homer Bailey: $100 million. Masahiro Tanaka: $155 million. And the mother of all mega-extensions for a big-league pitcher: $215 million to…

  16. Williams bonding with reconfigured coaching staff

    Feb 18, 2014, 6:00 AM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — Even as a first-time manager, Matt Williams could have asked for an overhaul of the Nationals’ coaching staff. Williams, though, wanted to keep as much institutional knowledge as possible alongside in his first year as a big-league skipper, so most of Davey Johnson’s season-ended staff remains intact. That includes bench coach Randy…

  17. Observations from Monday’s workout

    Feb 17, 2014, 6:59 PM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — This morning’s session on the practice fields outside Space Coast Stadium saw a bevy of pitchers throw off the bullpen mounds for the second time in camp. Among the participants was Doug Fister, who already is showing the Nationals exactly what made him so attractive in this winter’s trade: His ability to…

  18. New-look LaRoche ready to put 2013 behind him

    Feb 17, 2014, 3:41 PM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — On the heels of a hugely disappointing season, Adam LaRoche has plenty of reason to approach the upcoming year as a fresh start. In his case, that apparently also includes a thick, lustrous beard that might make his pals from Duck Dynasty jealous. “I just didn’t shave it for a while,” LaRoche…

  19. VIDEO: Strasburg tuning out hype, criticism for Nats

    Feb 17, 2014, 12:51 PM EST

    Strasburg_ssNI

    Stephen Strasburg has learned a thing or two over the past several years when it comes to attention from media and fans. He entered the league with as much hype as any pitcher in recent memory, and he played on the Nationals last season who began the year as a World Series favorite. Strasburg is…

  20. VIDEO: Doug Fister settling in with Nationals

    Feb 17, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    Fister_ss_NI

    In his first spring training with the Nationals, Doug Fister is adjusting to new teammates and new surroundings. Camp is still just getting started, but Fister says he’s already feeling comfortable as a member of the Washington Nationals. In this video he talks about the reception he’s been given in Viera, Fla. by players, coaches…

  21. Healthy Skole tries to re-establish himself

    Feb 17, 2014, 9:56 AM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — Matt Skole doesn’t figure into the Nationals’ immediate plans, and his stint in big-league camp this spring likely won’t last long. Many in the organization, though, see big things from the young slugger down the road, perhaps as soon as later this summer. Skole, the Nationals’ minor league player of the year…

  22. Williams prefers 2 lefties, 1 long man in bullpen

    Feb 17, 2014, 6:00 AM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — Though there always are outside factors that affect the decision come the final week of spring training, Matt Williams does know at the outset what his ideal bullpen configuration would look like. The Nationals’ new manager said Sunday he’d prefer to carry two left-handers in his pen, but only one long reliever.…

  23. Williams: “Open competition” at second base

    Feb 16, 2014, 5:47 PM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — Danny Espinosa wanted a chance to win back the starting second base job he lost last year, and the Nationals will give him that opportunity. Manager Matt Williams said there will be an “open competition” between Espinosa and Anthony Rendon this spring, with no preconceived notions going into a battle that could…

  24. Healthy Strasburg focused on the little things

    Feb 16, 2014, 3:49 PM EST

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — His right elbow fully healed after October surgery to remove bone chips, Stephen Strasburg took the bullpen mound outside Space Coast Stadium on Sunday for his first formal throwing session of the spring. What struck observers more than the fact Strasburg’s arm looked 100 percent healthy was the fact he spent much…

  25. VIDEO: Matt Williams gets started as Nats manager

    Feb 16, 2014, 12:49 PM EST

    Photo via CSNwashington.com

    Matt Williams is moving through his first spring training as Nationals manager with position battles and training programs just getting started. He has a lot to figure out over the next few weeks, but first he had to get through his first official day on the job. Mark has this report from Viera, Fla. on…

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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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