Feb 28, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Spring training records mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. Matt Williams knows this. So more than the fact his Nationals rallied late to beat the Mets, 5-4, in Friday’s Grapefruit League opener at Tradition Field, the rookie manager was excited about the way his team played. The Nats made several nice plays…
Feb 28, 2014, 5:03 PM EDT
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — It would have been easy for Taylor Jordan to take the mound Friday at Tradition Field, knowing he had the first opportunity of any pitcher battling for a spot on the Nationals roster this spring, and get caught up more in trying to impress decision-makers than simply pitch well. The…
Feb 28, 2014, 12:05 PM EDT
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Space Coast Stadium is secure and all Nationals employees are safe after a situation involving a gunman at the Viera courthouse just down the street from the club’s spring training home. The incident was reported around 10 a.m. when a man with a gun was seen outside the Moore Justice…
Feb 28, 2014, 10:44 AM EDT
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Hey, look at that: It’s a real baseball field! And there will be real baseball played on it this afternoon! OK, so it’s real exhibition baseball, but that’s a whole lot better than no baseball at all, so why not get excited for the Nationals’ Grapefruit League opener against the…
Feb 28, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — It’s not uncommon for big-league managers to drive themselves to road games in the Grapefruit League, and certainly previous managers of the Nationals traveled on their own. Matt Williams, though, made it clear yesterday he’ll be joining his players for the hour-plus ride this morning from Viera to Port St. Lucie for…
Feb 27, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — They’d thrown bullpen sessions. They’d worked on their bunting and defensive positioning. Lord knows, they’d taken more than their share of grounders. So on the 13th day of spring training, Matt Williams decided to let his Nationals enjoy a rare, easy morning to wrap up the first leg of camp. Players took…
Feb 27, 2014, 1:24 PM EDT
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…
Feb 27, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
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…
Feb 26, 2014, 5:20 PM EDT
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…
Feb 26, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT
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…
Feb 26, 2014, 11:45 AM EDT
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…
Feb 26, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT
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…
Feb 26, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
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…
Feb 25, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
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…
Feb 25, 2014, 1:48 PM EDT
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…
Feb 25, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
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…
Feb 25, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
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.…
Feb 24, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
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…
Feb 24, 2014, 1:50 PM EDT
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…
Feb 24, 2014, 9:52 AM EDT
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…
Feb 24, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
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…
Feb 23, 2014, 4:11 PM EDT
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…
Feb 23, 2014, 3:01 PM EDT
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…
Feb 23, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
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…
Feb 22, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
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…
NL EAST STANDINGS
TUE: Nats at Rockies, 8:40 p.m.
WED: Nats at Rockies, 3:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Full season schedule
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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