Feb 26, 2014, 6:00 AM EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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…
Feb 22, 2014, 3:51 PM EST
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…
Feb 22, 2014, 9:40 AM EST
VIERA, Fla. — It’s a gray, muggy, lazy morning here, with the threat of rain looming at any moment. After more than a week of gorgeous weather to open camp, things have taken a turn for the worse. Assuming Mother Nature cooperates, the Nationals will be taking the practice fields outside Space Coast Stadium in…
Feb 21, 2014, 6:00 PM EST
VIERA, Fla. — For all the discussion of Matt Williams’ lineup decisions — whether Bryce Harper hits third or fifth, whether Jayson Werth hits second or fourth, etc. — the one spot in the Nationals batting order that isn’t up for grabs might also be the spot with the most question marks. Denard Span will…
Feb 21, 2014, 4:02 PM EST
VIERA, Fla. — Tyler Moore played first base at Mississippi State. He played first base as he ascended through the Nationals’ farm system. And then, once he arrived in the big leagues two years ago, the young slugger found himself in a most uncomfortable position: left field. With Adam LaRoche enjoying a Silver Slugger/Gold Glove…
Feb 21, 2014, 9:40 AM EST
VIERA, Fla. — Obviously, you can tell a lot about a pitcher when you watch him throw off a bullpen mound. But you can also learn a lot about a guy when you watch how he performs far more mundane tasks in spring training, like fielding practice. Watching the entire Nationals infield together for the…
Feb 21, 2014, 6:00 AM EST
VIERA, Fla. — Perhaps no club in the majors had loftier expectations entering 2013 than the Nationals. Certainly no club struggled with living up to those expectations like the Nats did. One year later, the expectations remain sky-high. They just hope they’re better-equipped to handle them. “I think expectations are good,” first-year manager Matt Williams…
Feb 20, 2014, 4:53 PM EST
VIERA, Fla. — Read into it as much or as little as you like, but it didn’t go unnoticed Thursday that Danny Espinosa spent more time at shortstop than second base during the Nationals’ first full-squad workout of the spring. Matt Williams has said Espinosa is in an “open competition” with Anthony Rendon for the…
Feb 20, 2014, 3:44 PM EST
VIERA, Fla. — Though the Nationals have no major injuries throwing a wrench into the early days of spring training, two pitchers are dealing with minor issues that have altered their workout regimens: Tyler Clippard and Ross Ohlendorf. Clippard has not fully participated in drills the last two days after tweaking his back. The reliever…
Feb 20, 2014, 9:56 AM EST
VIERA, Fla. — Among Matt Williams’ tougher decisions this spring involves the construction of his starting lineup, and there are no shortage of options for the rookie manager to consider. The Nationals are somewhat unique in that two of their best offensive players (Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth) are versatile enough to hit anywhere from…
Feb 20, 2014, 6:00 AM EST
VIERA, Fla. — Pitchers have thrown off the bullpen mounds, learned how to field comebackers and properly bunt. Catchers have taken batting practice, perfected the art of snagging pop-ups and run through countless conditioning drills. Today, though, the real spring training begins. Nationals position players will take the field alongside the pitchers and catchers who…
Feb 19, 2014, 5:58 PM EST
VIERA, Fla. — Though final details have yet to be revealed by Major League Baseball, Matt Williams is curious to see how the sport’s new replay system will be utilized, with the Nationals manager expecting to be able to consult via phone with another team employee who will watch games on television and help decide…
Feb 19, 2014, 4:50 PM EST
VIERA, Fla. — Having participated in a full workout, taken a full round of batting practice and undergone the club’s annual physical, Bryce Harper is convinced his surgically repaired knee has completely healed and won’t present any further issue as he prepares for the the start of the season. “There’s nothing wrong with it,” he…
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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