Mar 23, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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…
Mar 20, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — As far as spring training matchups go, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than this: Stephen Strasburg vs. Max Scherzer, with a bunch of regulars in both the Nationals and Tigers lineups. Strasburg, who last night was officially named the Nats’ Opening Day starter, makes his fourth appearance of the spring…
Mar 20, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals removed one more name from the mix for the final spot on their bench this morning, optioning infielder Zach Walters to Class AAA Syracuse. Walters entered camp as a long shot to crack the Opening Day roster, but the 24-year-old did everything he could to make a case for himself…
Mar 20, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Taylor Jordan knows the situation. He knows he’s now deep into a battle for the final spot in the Nationals’ Opening Day rotation, and he knows he needs to make the best possible impression every time he takes the mound over the final two weeks of spring training. But the young right-hander…
Mar 19, 2014, 9:35 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Matt Williams gave it consideration, waited as long as he could before making an announcement. In the end, though, the answer was obvious: Stephen Strasburg will start Opening Day for the Nationals again. Williams finally made that official Wednesday night, naming Strasburg his No. 1 starter for the Nationals’ season opener March…
Mar 19, 2014, 5:17 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Luis Ayala was granted his unconditional release by the Nationals today after the veteran reliever was informed he wasn’t going to make the Opening Day roster and asked for the opportunity to seek employment elsewhere. Ayala, 36, was hoping to make the club after signing a minor-league contract last month. The right-hander…
Mar 19, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Three weeks removed from his first (and only) appearance in a Grapefruit League this spring, Doug Fister is ready to face big-league hitters again. Fister, out since March 2 with elbow inflammation, is scheduled start Saturday against the Marlins, Nationals manager Matt Williams said. Fister will throw three innings or 45 pitches,…
Mar 19, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Ross Detwiler isn’t happy about the Nationals’ decision to move him to the bullpen. That much was clear as the left-hander discussed his situation this afternoon for the first time since getting the news on Monday. Detwiler, though, insists he won’t let dissatisfaction with his role affect his performance once he takes…
Mar 19, 2014, 1:32 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Ah, it’s good to be back… I just arrived in town after taking a morning flight down from D.C., and let me tell you it sure is nice to see sunshine and temperatures in the 70s. And, of course, it’ll be nice to see some baseball with my own eyes tonight, with…
Mar 19, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
We have reached the home stretch of spring training. There are nine days left before the Nationals break camp and head north for good. Which means it’s just about time to make those final roster decisions that have been looming all spring. I’m heading back to Viera myself this morning and (hopefully) will be on-site…
Mar 18, 2014, 2:02 PM EDT
On Monday Nationals manager Matt Williams made the surprise announcement that Ross Detwiler will begin the season in the team’s bullpen. Though Detwiler was pitching poorly through three spring starts, he was the favorite heading into the fifth starter competition, and was only given three outings to prove his case. So, now that Detwiler is…
Mar 18, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
Ross Detwiler, and the Nationals’ decision to put the left-hander in their season-opening bullpen, grabbed yesterday’s headlines. But what about the remaining competitors for the final spot in the Nationals’ Opening Day rotation? How does that situation now sort itself out? Manager Matt Williams told reporters in Lakeland, Fla., yesterday that the decision will come…
Mar 17, 2014, 6:03 PM EDT
Apparently content with their current catching depth, the Nationals traded veteran backstop Koyie Hill to the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday for a player to be named later or cash. MLB.com first reported the deal. Hill signed with the Nationals just over a month prior as a free agent and appeared in 10 spring games with…
Mar 17, 2014, 3:01 PM EDT
The Nationals haven’t named a No. 5 starter yet, but they have eliminated one very prominent name from the competition: Ross Detwiler. Matt Williams told reporters in Lakeland today that Detwiler will open the season in the Nationals’ bullpen, a decision the rookie manager cited as being in the club’s best interests. That leaves Tanner…
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.
- Bryce Harper benched in Nats' loss to Cardinals for 'lack of hustle'
- Anthony Rendon error costs Nationals in loss to Cardinals
- Nats activate Denard Span from 7-day DL, option Steven Souza, Jr.
- Zimmermann, Nats look for two in a row vs. Cardinals
- Drew Storen comes through in Nats' 3-1 win over Cardinals
- Nationals respond to Williams' challenge, beat Cards
- Nats strike early on Wacha, beat Cardinals 3-1
- Span to join Nats on Saturday after second rehab game
- Ramos takes first swings since breaking left hand
- Denard Span on track to return to Nats this weekend