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, 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, 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…
Mar 17, 2014, 12:37 PM EDT
It’s snowing in D.C., and it’s raining down in Florida, putting today’s game in Lakeland at least somewhat in jeopardy. If they do get started, it’ll be Tanner Roark on the mound for the Nationals, going up against a Tigers lineup that today includes Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera. Several Nats regulars made the trip.…
Mar 17, 2014, 10:41 AM EDT
The Nationals made another round of cuts Monday morning, removing six more players from their big-league camp roster, including outfielders Steven Souza Jr. and Brian Goodwin and left-hander Sammy Solis. Souza and fellow outfielder Eury Perez were optioned to Class AAA Syracuse, with Solis optioned to Class AA Harrisburg. Goodwin, infielder Mike Fontenot and catcher…
Mar 17, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
It lasted all of two innings, and during that time only one baseball was hit in his general direction, but Ryan Zimmerman’s brief stint at first base Sunday during the Nationals’ 2-1 exhibition loss to the Tigers in Viera was significant if for no other reason than the fact it happened at all. For several…
Mar 14, 2014, 9:52 PM EDT
Nationals owner Mark Lerner joined Comcast SportsNet’s broadcast of the Wizards and Magic game on Friday night to talk with Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier about the new season. He discussed everything from World Series expectations to whether the Nats will get an All-Star Game in the near future. He was also asked for the…
Mar 14, 2014, 12:03 PM EDT
While we await word on Doug Fister’s bullpen session in Viera — more specifically, whether or not the right-hander is now ready to pitch in a game again — one teammate who’s fate might well hang in the balance takes the mound in Lakeland. Taylor Jordan, competing for the fifth spot in the Opening Day…
Mar 13, 2014, 12:37 PM EDT
We’ve reached that point in the spring where several players are dealing with minor tweaks and other ailments. They say these are the kinds of things they’d play through during the regular season, but on March 13 they figure it’s not worth the risk. So, the Nationals for the moment are without Ryan Zimmerman (sore…
Mar 13, 2014, 9:31 AM EDT
The Nationals made another round of cuts this morning, reducing their big-league roster by six. Left-hander Matt Purke and outfielder Michael Taylor each were optioned to Class AA Harrisburg. Pitchers Josh Roenicke, Danny Rosenbaum, Clay Hensley and Daniel Stange — none of them members of the 40-man roster — were reassigned to minor-league camp. Purke…
Mar 13, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
There are now only two weeks remaining until the Nationals break camp in Viera and head north, and a mere 18 days until the season opens at Citi Field. Suffice it to say, baseball season is nearly upon us. Which means it’s time for the return of “The Baseball Show” on Comcast SportsNet. Yes, we’re…
Mar 12, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT
It’s another split-squad day for the Nationals, with both games on the road this afternoon. In Kissimmee, Tanner Roark takes the mound to face the Astros, with mostly backups (except for Ian Desmond) behind him in the field. Most notable about this game: It’s the first time the Nats are playing a game with instant…
Mar 12, 2014, 10:59 AM EDT
The Nationals trimmed their spring training roster by two more names this morning, sending down a pair of promising pitching prospects. Left-hander Felipe Rivero was optioned to Class AA Harrisburg, while right-hander A.J. Cole (who isn’t on the club’s 40-man roster yet) was re-assigned to minor-league camp. Both young pitchers impressed in their first big-league…
Mar 12, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
The Nationals have another round of split-squad games this afternoon, after which they will have completed exactly one-half of the Grapefruit League schedule (15 games down, 15 to go). With that in mind, this seems like as good a time as any to highlight the best, the worst and the unsightliest performances of the spring…
Mar 11, 2014, 5:26 PM EDT
Doug Fister threw off flat ground this morning and reported no problems with his injured elbow, leaving the Nationals hopeful the right-hander will be able to open the season without missing any time. “Threw fine, feels good,” manager Matt Williams told reporters in Viera following the Nats’ 3-2 exhibition win over the Yankees. “We’ll progress…
Mar 11, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
It’s been an awfully quiet spring so far for Jordan Zimmermann, and that’s a good thing. The right-hander has simply gone about his business and begun the process of building up his arm with no disruption and no struggles (he has yet to allow a run in five innings). Today, Zimmermann makes his third start,…
Mar 11, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
If the Nationals hold any edge over the Braves entering the season, it’s most likely the dominant starting rotation they intend to send to the mound every night for 162 games. Not much distinguishes these talented ballclubs from each other, but the Nats clearly entered the spring with a more fearsome starting five than Atlanta…
Mar 10, 2014, 3:13 PM EDT
They’ll play under the lights tonight at Space Coast Stadium, where the Nationals host the Astros in a rare, spring training evening game. Gio Gonzalez is on the mound for the Nats, making his second Grapefruit League start after tossing two scoreless innings against the Mets on Wednesday. We tend to focus on the pitchers…
Mar 10, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
A manager constructs a spring training lineup with plenty of objectives in mind. First and foremost, he wants to make sure his best players get as many at-bats as possible as quickly as possible before they take a seat after four or five innings. But a manager also uses exhibition play to try some things…
NL EAST STANDINGS
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 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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