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Washington Nationals

  1. Williams curious about new replay challenge system

    Feb 19, 2014, 5:58 PM EDT

    AP

    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…

  2. Harper: Surgically repaired knee completely healed

    Feb 19, 2014, 4:50 PM EDT

    AP

    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…

  3. Pitchers getting playing time at … shortstop?

    Feb 19, 2014, 10:05 AM EDT

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — It’s a rite of spring. Pitchers fielding practice. Better known to those around every baseball camp as PFP. There aren’t too many ways to throw new wrinkles into these drills. Cover first base on grounders to the right side. Snag comebackers, look an imaginary runner back to third base and then throw…

  4. Slow and steady for Soriano

    Feb 19, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — Plenty of ballplayers have questioned whether six full weeks of spring training really are necessary, saying they don’t need that much time to get ready for the regular season. Rafael Soriano takes that philosophy to new extremes. Soriano prefers to pitch as little as possible in spring training, believing he needs only…

  5. Zim confident at 3B, but ready for reps at 1B

    Feb 18, 2014, 6:27 PM EDT

    AP file photo

    VIERA, Fla. — Though he acquired a first baseman’s mitt over the winter and is ready to take some reps on the other side of the diamond this spring, Ryan Zimmerman is confident he can become an elite defensive third baseman again this season after a strong conclusion to 2013. “I think with the way…

  6. Harper takes full BP on first day in camp

    Feb 18, 2014, 3:56 PM EDT

    Photo courtesy Washington Nationals

    VIERA, Fla. — Bryce Harper reported to Nationals camp Tuesday along with the club’s other position players, then quickly diffused much of any concern that lingered about the state of his surgically repaired left knee. Harper participated fully during the optional afternoon workout inside Space Coast Stadium, taking a full round of batting practice and…

  7. Zimmermann: “I just want to be paid what I’m worth”

    Feb 18, 2014, 9:58 AM EDT

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — Much as he’d like to keep his mind off it, Jordan Zimmermann couldn’t help but notice the dollar figures being thrown around to fellow pitchers this winter. Adam Wainwright: $97.5 million. Homer Bailey: $100 million. Masahiro Tanaka: $155 million. And the mother of all mega-extensions for a big-league pitcher: $215 million to…

  8. Williams bonding with reconfigured coaching staff

    Feb 18, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    AP

    VIERA, Fla. — Even as a first-time manager, Matt Williams could have asked for an overhaul of the Nationals’ coaching staff. Williams, though, wanted to keep as much institutional knowledge as possible alongside in his first year as a big-league skipper, so most of Davey Johnson’s season-ended staff remains intact. That includes bench coach Randy…

  9. Observations from Monday’s workout

    Feb 17, 2014, 6:59 PM EDT

    AP

    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…

  10. New-look LaRoche ready to put 2013 behind him

    Feb 17, 2014, 3:41 PM EDT

    AP

    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…

  11. Healthy Skole tries to re-establish himself

    Feb 17, 2014, 9:56 AM EDT

    AP

    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…

  12. Williams prefers 2 lefties, 1 long man in bullpen

    Feb 17, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    AP

    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.…

  13. Williams: “Open competition” at second base

    Feb 16, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT

    AP

    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…

  14. Healthy Strasburg focused on the little things

    Feb 16, 2014, 3:49 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    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…

  15. VIDEO: Matt Williams gets started as Nats manager

    Feb 16, 2014, 12:49 PM EDT

    Photo via CSNwashington.com

    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…

  16. Roenicke excited to team with brother-in-law Desmond

    Feb 16, 2014, 9:58 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    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…

  17. Williams makes impression on first day

    Feb 15, 2014, 6:27 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    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…

  18. McLouth eager for whatever role Nats have planned

    Feb 15, 2014, 5:33 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    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…

  19. Williams: Harper “full-go” from start of camp

    Feb 15, 2014, 3:42 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    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…

  20. Workouts begin

    Feb 15, 2014, 9:24 AM EDT

    Associated Press

    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…

  21. Low-key Fister tries to blend into Nationals rotation

    Feb 14, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    Associated Press

    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…

  22. Clippard on avoiding arbitration, retiring Jeter

    Feb 14, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Associated Press

    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,…

  23. Lobaton feels at home in Nats clubhouse

    Feb 14, 2014, 1:48 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    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…

  24. Nats sign reliever Roenicke to minor-league deal

    Feb 14, 2014, 1:04 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    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…

  25. Nats have been willing to trade top pitching prospects

    Feb 14, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    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…

Archives

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Brent Harris every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

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.

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