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Spring Training

  1. News and notes from Tuesday’s workout

    Mar 3, 2015, 4:27 PM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals’ final two workouts of the spring before the Grapefruit League gets underway Thursday are fairly light affairs. Pitchers aren’t throwing off mounds. There are some defensive fundamental drills early on, then casual rounds of batting practice that keep everybody loose. And nobody was looser Tuesday during BP than Bryce Harper…

  2. Scherzer will start spring opener, Roark in relief

    Mar 3, 2015, 2:45 PM EST

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals’ exhibition season will kick off with the debut of the biggest acquisition of their offseason. Max Scherzer will start Thursday evening’s Grapefruit League opener against the Mets getting the nod from Matt Williams. Just don’t read much of anything into this decision, Williams cautions. “He’s ready,” the manager said of…

  3. On the cusp, Taylor patiently waits for his time

    Mar 3, 2015, 10:06 AM EST

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — It happens every spring. The scenario is always the same, only the names involved change. A promising young player looks ready to make the Opening Day roster. Except the only job available is on the bench, which would deny him from the regular playing time he’d get at Class AAA. This spring,…

  4. Nats sign Tony Gwynn Jr. to minor-league deal

    Mar 2, 2015, 9:11 PM EST

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals signed Tony Gwynn Jr. to a minor-league contract Monday night, offering the veteran outfielder and son of the Hall of Famer an invitation to big-league camp for the rest of the spring. Gwynn, 32, has 685 games of major-league experience with the Brewers, Padres, Dodgers and Phillies, owner of a…

  5. Zim getting used to working with fellow infielders

    Mar 2, 2015, 5:55 PM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — It has become a daily routine, Ryan Zimmerman getting extra, personalized work at first base. And with each passing day, the career third baseman looks more and more comfortable at his new position while the Nationals look more and more impressed with his natural ability to pick things up. “His athleticism is…

  6. Live BP wraps up with athleticism and a plunking

    Mar 2, 2015, 3:36 PM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals typically have held live batting practice drills on four consecutive days each spring, giving each pitcher in camp two opportunities to work off a mound with a batter at the plate. But a condensed scheduled this spring forced them to cut these sessions in half, putting some added emphasis on…

  7. Why the Nats don’t use more defensive shifts

    Mar 2, 2015, 10:30 AM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — There is no more prevailing trend in baseball right now than the use of more defensive shifts, a tactical maneuver that has been deployed by teams for a century but has exploded in the last couple of years. Except in Washington. Despite their use of analytics in plenty of other areas, the…

  8. Past failures drive Barrett to want ball in big spots again

    Mar 1, 2015, 6:11 PM EST

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — Aaron Barrett could be excused if, as he walked off the mound at AT&T Park on the night of Oct. 7, 2014, he wanted nothing more than to bury his head in the sand and never emerge again. Having just uncorked the wild pitch that brought the run home that ultimately won…

  9. Live BP features surprise anthem, broken bats, few hits

    Mar 1, 2015, 3:47 PM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — Max Scherzer was just about ready to get started with his first session facing live hitters as a member of the Nationals, except for one small request: He needed somebody to sing the national anthem before he could throw his first pitch. Seriously? “Yes, always,” Scherzer explained afterward. “You’ve got to simulate…

  10. Harper: “I want to be here for 20 years”

    Mar 1, 2015, 9:47 AM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — Baseball is a business, and Bryce Harper knows that. Few rosters can be held together forever, and he knows the Nationals as currently constructed may not get the chance to play as one club beyond this season. A true student of the game, though, Harper also knows a handful of franchises have…

  11. Scherzer and Strasburg learning from each other

    Feb 28, 2015, 5:14 PM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — Everywhere one guy goes, the other guy goes. If one is throwing in the bullpen, the other is right beside him. If one is fielding comebackers, the other is right behind him waiting for his turn. And when the work day is done and the golf course beckons, they remain playing partners.…

  12. Saturday workout is a washout

    Feb 28, 2015, 1:05 PM EST

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals had managed to avoid Mother Nature’s worst since opening camp last week, squeezing a couple of workouts in between storms and intense wind, but their luck ran out Saturday. Heavy and persistent rain forced the team to essentially call off its planned daily workout. Pitchers did still play catch in…

  13. VIDEO: Scherzer on why he chose the Nats

    Feb 28, 2015, 12:12 PM EST

    Comcast SportsNet

    VIERA, Fla. — Max Scherzer could have signed anywhere this winter. He chose to sign with the Nationals. Yes, the money — a staggering $210 million — was a big factor. But it wasn’t the only factor. As Scherzer explains in my 1-on-1 interview with him for Comcast SportsNet, the idea of joining a Nationals…

  14. Nats sign lefty Hill to minor-league contract

    Feb 27, 2015, 9:44 PM EST

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals added another bullpen arm to their spring training roster Friday night, signing veteran left-hander Rich Hill to a minor-league contract with an invitation to big-league camp. Hill, who turns 35 next month, is 24-22 with a 4.72 ERA in 190 career major-league appearances (70 starts) with the Cubs, Orioles, Red…

  15. Do the Nats need another lefty bench bat?

    Feb 27, 2015, 6:44 PM EST

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — There aren’t many jobs up for grabs this spring, but there is at least one interesting question for the Nationals to contemplate when assembling their Opening Day bench: How many left-handed bats do they need? The Nats’ projected lineup, as has been noted, will feature only two left-handed hitters: Denard Span and…

  16. News, notes and observations from Friday’s workout

    Feb 27, 2015, 4:22 PM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — Those of you still dealing with real winter back north won’t have any sympathy, but it was downright miserable today in Viera. The Nationals’ morning workout was conducted under gray skies that produced on-and-off rain, with temperatures in the low-50s and a strong wind howling from the north, with no tall structures…

  17. Williams sets the tone on Day 1

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:18 AM EST

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — Matt Williams likes to post a “Quote of the Day” each morning at the top of the workout schedule that hangs in the Nationals’ spring training clubhouse. Sometimes they’re inspirational sayings, sometimes they’re relayed to baseball, sometimes they’re not. The quote that was posted Thursday, on the morning of the Nationals’ first…

  18. Werth shooting for opener but will err on side of caution

    Feb 26, 2015, 7:19 PM EST

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — Jayson Werth is hoping his surgically repaired shoulder will be fully healed in time for Opening Day, but the veteran Nationals outfielder said he’s willing to spend the first week or two of the season on the disabled list if he’s not yet 100 percent healthy. “That’s kind of my goal,” Werth…

  19. Escobar “100 percent committed” to playing second base

    Feb 26, 2015, 5:02 PM EST

    Mitch Tischler / Comcast SportsNet

    VIERA, Fla. — Yunel Escobar’s first 24 hours in a Nationals uniform included a meeting with Matt Williams and Mike Rizzo, plenty of work at second base and plenty of time getting to know his teammates. The end result of all that: An upbeat veteran ready to embrace his new position and do his part…

  20. Harper’s confidence a good sign for Nats

    Feb 26, 2015, 9:49 AM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — The clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium this morning was alive for the first time this spring, with pitchers, catchers and position players all together at last, chatting and laughing in advance of the Nationals’ first full-team meeting and workout. One of the TVs happened to show footage of Bryce Harper’s epic media…

  21. A year older, Rendon ready for the long grind

    Feb 26, 2015, 6:00 AM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — So many things come so easy to Anthony Rendon on a baseball field, it’s easy to forget just how little experience he has. Even to this day, Rendon has played only 352 games as a professional ballplayer, 251 of those in the major leagues. The Nationals’ young star has been forced to…

  22. Harper oozes confidence on first day in camp

    Feb 25, 2015, 6:39 PM EST

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — Bryce Harper reported for spring training on Wednesday and wasted no time letting the world know just how confident he is in himself, the Nationals’ star-studded rotation and the roster as a whole entering fourth big-league season. Over the span of a 12 1/2-minute session with media members in the dugout at…

  23. Full roster has reported, but Werth still rehabbing

    Feb 25, 2015, 3:17 PM EST

    AP file photo

    VIERA, Fla. — All 70 players invited by the Nationals to big-league camp have reported, but at least one prominent regular won’t be able to participate entirely at Thursday’s first full-squad workout of the spring. Jayson Werth, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder January 9, will be held back from full participation for…

  24. After whirlwind rookie year, Treinen finds comfort zone

    Feb 25, 2015, 10:31 AM EST

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — Blake Treinen isn’t an overly gregarious person by nature, which only made his presence at spring training last year less noticeable. Treinen was given the last locker by the door at one end of the Nationals’ clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium, a spot typically reserved for minor leaguers who don’t figure to…

  25. Williams on 8th inning, position players and Babe Ruth

    Feb 24, 2015, 5:48 PM EST

    USA Today Sports Images

    VIERA, Fla. — Matt Williams was asked Tuesday if he’s ever going to actually perform his Babe Ruth impersonation, as promised last season when his Nationals won 10 straight games. The manager’s answer was, well, let’s just say it was convoluted. More on that in a little bit. In the meantime, here are some news,…

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COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY

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.

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