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  1. Catchers get crash course on new rules

    Feb 27, 2014, 1:24 PM EST

    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…

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

    Feb 27, 2014, 10:30 AM EST

    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.…

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

    Feb 27, 2014, 6:00 AM EST

    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…

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

    Feb 26, 2014, 5:20 PM EST

    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…

  5. Could Zimmermann get Opening Day nod over Strasburg?

    Feb 26, 2014, 3:30 PM EST

    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…

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

    Feb 26, 2014, 1:16 PM EST

    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…

  7. VIDEO: Denard Span one-on-one

    Feb 26, 2014, 11:45 AM EST

    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…

  8. Garcia thrilled to be healthy at long last

    Feb 26, 2014, 10:02 AM EST

    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…

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

    Feb 26, 2014, 6:00 AM EST

    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…

  10. Giolito healthy, bulked up for first full season

    Feb 25, 2014, 4:00 PM EST

    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…

  11. Zimmerman gets first work at first base

    Feb 25, 2014, 1:48 PM EST

    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…

  12. Mattheus day-to-day with rib inflammation

    Feb 25, 2014, 9:30 AM EST

    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…

  13. Pitchers find entertaining way to work on hitting

    Feb 25, 2014, 6:00 AM EST

    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.…

  14. Harper will remain in left field for now

    Feb 24, 2014, 4:00 PM EST

    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…

  15. Clippard returns from back injury, throws in bullpen

    Feb 24, 2014, 1:50 PM EST

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — Tyler Clippard threw off a bullpen mound today, showing no ill effects of a minor back injury that had sidelined him nearly a week ago. “All normal,” the Nationals reliever said. “I mean, I need to iron out some pitching stuff. But physically, I feel good.” Clippard had been restricted since tweaking…

  16. VIDEO: Ian Desmond on long road with the Nationals

    Feb 24, 2014, 11:28 AM EST

    DesmondNIss

    Yesterday Mark wrote a feature on shortstop Ian Desmond, how the 28-year-old has come a long way in the Nationals’ organization. It took him years to become an elite player at his position after many had written him off as a prospect. Today we have some of Mark’s one-on-one interview with Desmond that aired in…

  17. Mattheus awaiting MRI on upper chest

    Feb 24, 2014, 9:52 AM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — Ryan Mattheus will undergo an MRI on his upper chest later today, a test the Nationals reliever hopes reveals only a minor injury that would allow him to resume throwing in a matter of days. Mattheus hasn’t pitched since Tuesday, when he first felt a pull in his upper right chest while…

  18. Detwiler glad to be facing live hitters again

    Feb 24, 2014, 6:00 AM EST

    AP

    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…

  19. Prospects describe what it’s like to face Strasburg

    Feb 23, 2014, 4:11 PM EST

    AP

    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…

  20. Venezuelan players worried about families’ safety

    Feb 23, 2014, 3:01 PM EST

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    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…

  21. Podcast: Baseball in The District – Episode 1

    Feb 23, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    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…

  22. VIDEO: Ryan Zimmerman recalls a frustrating year

    Feb 23, 2014, 12:10 PM EST

    ZimmermanssNI

    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…

  23. Desmond reflects on 10 years in organization

    Feb 23, 2014, 10:00 AM EST

    AP

    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…

  24. Williams schooled on new instant replay rules

    Feb 22, 2014, 5:00 PM EST

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    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…

  25. Fister, Solis stand out in first live BP session

    Feb 22, 2014, 3:51 PM EST

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    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…

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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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