Feb 17, 2014, 6:59 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — This morning’s session on the practice fields outside Space Coast Stadium saw a bevy of pitchers throw off the bullpen mounds for the second time in camp. Among the participants was Doug Fister, who already is showing the Nationals exactly what made him so attractive in this winter’s trade: His ability to…
Feb 17, 2014, 3:41 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — On the heels of a hugely disappointing season, Adam LaRoche has plenty of reason to approach the upcoming year as a fresh start. In his case, that apparently also includes a thick, lustrous beard that might make his pals from Duck Dynasty jealous. “I just didn’t shave it for a while,” LaRoche…
Feb 17, 2014, 9:56 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Matt Skole doesn’t figure into the Nationals’ immediate plans, and his stint in big-league camp this spring likely won’t last long. Many in the organization, though, see big things from the young slugger down the road, perhaps as soon as later this summer. Skole, the Nationals’ minor league player of the year…
Feb 17, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Though there always are outside factors that affect the decision come the final week of spring training, Matt Williams does know at the outset what his ideal bullpen configuration would look like. The Nationals’ new manager said Sunday he’d prefer to carry two left-handers in his pen, but only one long reliever.…
Feb 16, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Danny Espinosa wanted a chance to win back the starting second base job he lost last year, and the Nationals will give him that opportunity. Manager Matt Williams said there will be an “open competition” between Espinosa and Anthony Rendon this spring, with no preconceived notions going into a battle that could…
Feb 16, 2014, 3:49 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — His right elbow fully healed after October surgery to remove bone chips, Stephen Strasburg took the bullpen mound outside Space Coast Stadium on Sunday for his first formal throwing session of the spring. What struck observers more than the fact Strasburg’s arm looked 100 percent healthy was the fact he spent much…
Feb 16, 2014, 12:49 PM EDT
Matt Williams is moving through his first spring training as Nationals manager with position battles and training programs just getting started. He has a lot to figure out over the next few weeks, but first he had to get through his first official day on the job. Mark has this report from Viera, Fla. on…
Feb 16, 2014, 9:58 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Josh Roenicke first met Ian Desmond in 2008, after the former had begun seriously dating the latter’s sister, Nikki. Roenicke was a minor-league reliever with the Reds. Desmond was still toiling in the Nationals’ farm system. Little could either know they’d not only find themselves in the majors six years later, but…
Feb 15, 2014, 6:27 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Matt Williams has been coming to spring training for more than two decades, so you’d think he’d know the drill by now and wouldn’t be surprised by anything thrown his way. This, however, was different. Williams stepped onto the practice fields outside Space Coast Stadium on Saturday morning not as a power-hitting…
Feb 15, 2014, 5:33 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Nate McLouth had opportunities this winter to go somewhere he’d be assured of consistent playing time. Instead, the veteran chose to sign a two-year contract with a Nationals club that already boasts three well-established starting outfielders. “There were other options,” he said. “But I know that I liked this situation. It was…
Feb 15, 2014, 3:42 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Bryce Harper hasn’t reported to spring training yet, but the Nationals star outfielder will be cleared for full participation once he does, according to new manager Matt Williams. “As far as I know, he is full-go for spring training,” Williams said Saturday following the club’s first workout for pitchers and catchers. “We’re…
Feb 15, 2014, 9:24 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Yes, there’s a much more significant sporting event taking place in the world right now — a bunch of Nationals players were glued to the second period of USA-Russia in the clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium, Ross Detwiler and Tyler Clippard chief among them — but there’s also going to be real…
Feb 14, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Doug Fister took his usual flight from Northern California to Orlando this week, prepared to embark on another spring training in the Grapefruit League. The only difference? “It was basically: You pull out of Orlando airport and turn right instead of turn left,” he said. After spending parts of the last three…
Feb 14, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Tyler Clippard was prepared to go to arbitration with the Nationals but was much happier Monday when the two sides managed to work out a $5.875 million contract and avoid next week’s hearing altogether. “It was stressing me out,” the reliever said. “I didn’t even think I could stress out over stuff,…
Feb 14, 2014, 1:48 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Jose Lobaton sat at his hastily constructed locker inside Space Coast Stadium, his No. 59 jersey not yet hung, his nameplate thrown together in the wake of Thursday’s trade with the Rays. The 29-year-old catcher, though, looked perfectly at home in his new surroundings, aided in large part by the nearby presence…
Feb 14, 2014, 1:04 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals added another name to the competition for the final spot or two in their bullpen, this one quite familiar to one of their biggest stars. Washington signed right-hander Josh Roenicke to a minor-league contract, with an invitation to big-league camp. Roenicke, owner of a 4.17 ERA in 190 career games…
Feb 14, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole were the Nationals’ top two ranked pitching prospects entering 2012. Both were traded to Oakland in the deal that brought Gio Gonzalez to Washington. Alex Meyer likely would have been the Nationals’ second-ranked pitching prospect entering 2013, before he was traded to Minnesota for Denard Span. Robbie…
Feb 13, 2014, 4:32 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Mike Rizzo had attempted all winter to upgrade his catching depth but insisted all along he’d be comfortable entering spring training with Jhonatan Solano, Sandy Leon or Chris Snyder backing up starter Wilson Ramos. And then on the first day of camp, Rizzo pulled off a deal long suspected, acquiring Jose Lobaton…
Feb 13, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals placed reliever Erik Davis on the 60-day disabled list Thursday with a sprained right elbow, a move necessitated in part by the club’s four-player trade with the Rays. Two of the four players the Nationals acquired from Tampa Bay (catcher Jose Lobaton and left-hander Felipe Rivero) are now on the…
Feb 13, 2014, 11:56 AM EDT
Updated at 1:52 p.m. VIERA, Fla. — On the day pitchers and catchers reported for spring training, the Nationals dealt one of their hurlers for a No. 2 backstop. The Nationals traded right-hander Nate Karns to the Rays for catcher Jose Lobaton and two prospects: left-hander Felipe Rivero and outfielder Drew Vettleson. Karns, the Nationals’…
Feb 13, 2014, 9:46 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Hey, where’s all the snow? Sorry, I promise this will be the last time I compare the weather in Florida to the weather in D.C. (Fingers crossed behind my back.) Believe me, I’m very fortunate to be writing this from venerable Space Coast Stadium, my flight late last night having barely beaten…
Feb 12, 2014, 11:22 AM EDT
The Nationals’ bullpen in 2013 was a bit of a weakness. After ranking seventh in the majors (third in the NL) with a 3.23 bullpen ERA in 2012 , they dropped to 17th last season with a 3.56 mark. This offseason the Nats helped balance out the unit by trading with the Oakland Athletics for…
Feb 12, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
As the countdown to spring training reaches its final day, we’re counting down the Nationals’ five biggest storylines of camp. We conclude today with storyline No. 1: Matt Williams’ first spring as Nationals manager… Matt Williams has been stepping onto spring training fields in Arizona and Florida for nearly 30 years, but never as his…
Feb 11, 2014, 1:16 PM EDT
Entering his first spring training as manager, Matt Williams has thrown out several possibilities for each key Nats player in terms of where they will slot in the lineup. Basically, he’s going to feel it out through camp before deciding what his Opening Day lineup will look like. We know which players will be on…
Feb 11, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
As the countdown to spring training reaches its final days, we’re counting down the Nationals’ five biggest storylines of camp. We continue today with storyline No. 2: The return of Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg from offseason surgeries… Upon revealing that three of their star players (Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg and Adam LaRoche) all had…
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
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