#10DaysOfThanks: Nationals begin 10-Day tour of surprises to thank local community

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Wednesday, Teddy and Screech met fans at a McDonald’s drive-thru window to pick up their lunch.

Thursday they crashed a Chick-Fil-A with free coupons.

On Friday, they delivered Papa John’s pizza to the USO Family Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, while on Saturday they joined Abe at the base of the Capital Wheel at National Harbor, and all fans rode for free.

Back in DC on Sunday, Bill and Teddy discussed the season ahead over Hard Times Café lunch with firefighters at Engine Company 7 and the DC Metro Police Department First District Station.

Monday morning Screech paid a visit to three elementary schools in the local area: Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax, Va., Barnaby Manor in Oxon Hill, Md., and Amidon-Bowen Elementary in Southwest D.C., to autograph baseballs and hand out Nationals gear.

Tuesday afternoon, the Nationals hosted a tailgate at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va., catered by Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop and Sam Adams.

 

 

It’s all part of our 10 Days of Thanks tour. As we enter our 10th anniversary season, we want to take the time to thank those who helped us become the hometown team we are today.

Each day, between Wednesday, March 25, and Friday, April 3, Screech, Teddy, Bill, Abe and the Nationals’ promotions team are popping up around the DC Metro area. Surprises include free lunch, free breakfast, Nationals gifts and giveaways.

These surprise-and-delight moments are a huge ‘Thank you’ to all of the fans for their support, from the Nationals team, the front office and the Lerner Family.

The celebration continues this week!

Here’s where to find the Nationals promotions team over the next several days:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 10:00AM: Dulles Toll Road Plaza, Toll #1

Thursday, April 2, 2015, 9:00AM: Peet’s Coffee, 17th Street NW, Washington, DC

Friday, April 3, 2015, 11:00AM: The National Mall

Thank you, sincerely, for an amazing 10 years. We couldn’t have done it without you. Here’s to the next 10!

Nationals acquire OF Matt den Dekker from New York Mets

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by Amanda Comak

Adding depth to their outfield, the Washington Nationals acquired Matt den Dekker from the New York Mets on Monday in exchange for LHP Jerry Blevins.

den Dekker, 27, joins the Nationals after spending parts of the last two seasons with the Mets.

In 80 career Major League games, den Dekker is a career .238 hitter with a .325 on-base percentage and a .310 slugging percentage. He’s hit 12 doubles, one home run, stolen 11 bases and driven in 13 runs.

In 2014, over the course of 174 plate appearances with the Mets, den Dekker hit .250 with a .345 on-base percentage. During his time with Triple-A Las Vegas in 2014, den Dekker hit .334 with a .407 on-base percentage and a .540 slugging percentage.

A versatile player, den Dekker has experience at all three outfield positions in the Major Leagues but was primarily a center fielder during his Minor League career (446 games in center field).

A fifth-round selection of the Mets’ in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft, den Dekker is batting .256 this spring with a .373 on-base percentage and a .512 slugging percentage. He’s hit four doubles, two triples and picked up seven RBI.

Blevins, 31, was acquired by the Nationals in Dec. 2013 from the Oakland Athletics, in exchange for OF Billy Burns. During his one season in Washington, the left-hander was 2-3 with a 4.87 ERA in 64 appearances (57.1 IP).

Nationals Magazine: Opportunity Knocks

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The following is an excerpt from the Spring Training issue of Nationals Magazine. To read the full story, visit nationals.com/publications to find out how you can subscribe. The Spring Training issue of Nationals Magazine is on sale now, can be purchased online, or at Space Coast Stadium on gamedays.

by Mike Feigen

The Washington Nationals were already excited to get to Florida for Spring Training, with a loaded roster capable of making a run at an elusive World Series championship. Then they acquired the consensus top pitcher on the free agent market. Game on.

ST Cover socialBy now, as the Nationals celebrate their 10th Anniversary season, fans have surely discovered that baseball is a game that offers exuberant highs in the good times and tests one’s resolve in the down times. After a 162-game grind separates the best from the rest from April through September, 10 names are thrown into a hat and a champion is crowned. At least that’s the way it often seems in the Wild Card era.

In other words, nothing can be taken for granted. No amount of planning or preparation is guaranteed to produce the desired result. No team wins a World Series on paper. So even if President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo looked at his embarrassment of riches this offseason and saw a roster capable of earning the National League’s best record for the third time in four seasons, he wouldn’t rest.

For a team already loaded in the starting rotation, acquiring another quality arm would provide Rizzo cover for a variety of scenarios, including potential trades, free agent departures or injuries. It would also give the club yet another weapon to deploy during the regular season to try to help ensure it would find its way back into the unpredictable postseason tournament.

Max Scherzer isn’t just any pitcher, though. the 6-foot-3, 220-pound right-hander boasts a resume more complete than any other pitcher in the vaunted Nationals rotation, including an American League Cy Young Award, 91 wins, 1,321 career strikeouts in 1,239.1 innings pitched and appearances in 12 postseason games. He demonstrated durability during his five seasons in Detroit, starting no fewer than 31 games or reaching less than 187.2 innings in any single year with the Tigers.

“Whenever you can acquire a player of Max Scherzer’s ability level, character, and toughness on the mound, those opportunities are few and far between,” Rizzo said January 21 at Scherzer’s introductory press conference. “He fits all the criteria that we’re looking for in a Washington Nationals-type of player.

“He’s good between the lines, he’s a tough guy, he gets after it, he takes the ball (and) he attacks hitters. In the clubhouse (he’s a) magnificent teammate. In the community (he) does nothing but impress everybody he touches. He’s a guy who you can’t ask for more from. He’s the type of guy we’re looking for, and he’s the guy we went after very aggressively — and we strengthened a strength. Who wouldn’t want Max Scherzer on their club?”

ST Cover socialTo continue reading “Opportunity Knocks” on Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer, along with more great content from Nationals Magazine, please visit nationals.com/publications, or pick up a copy at the Main Clubhouse Team Store at Nationals Park or Space Coast Stadium, as well as inside Nationals Park on gamedays.

With bid to host MLB All-Star Game in, Nationals believe #DCisREADY

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As you may have heard, MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred will be throwing out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day, April 6. We are so honored that he will be a part of the kick-off to our 10-year anniversary season!

As excited as we are to welcome Commissioner Manfred, we’re even more excited about the opportunity to host an MLB All-Star Game!

The city submitted a strong bid to Major League Baseball, and we need your help to share with MLB that Washington, D.C. is ready to host. Washington hasn’t hosted the All-Star Game since 1969 – but as we launch our 10th anniversary season, we believe D.C. is ready!

D.C. is ready for Fan Fest.

D.C. is ready for the Home Run Derby.

DC. IS. READY.

DCisReadyStadium

Between now and Commissioner Manfred’s visit on April 6, share your enthusiasm as fans of the Washington Nationals and of this amazing city! Show MLB that there is no better place in America to host the national pastime’s All-Star Game than in the nation’s capital.

Share why you think #DCisREADY on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more! Tag @MLB. Share with your friends and family. Throughout the next few weeks we’ll be sharing why we think #DCisREADY and retweeting our favorite posts from you.

We can’t wait to see your enthusiasm for a potential All-Star Game in the nation’s capital!

Daily Wrap: Max Scherzer tabbed for Grapefruit League opener, Tony Gwynn Jr. signs & more

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by Amanda Comak

With the Grapefruit League opener now just two days away, the Washington Nationals went through a light workout day with everything wrapping up by noon on Tuesday. Wednesday will have a similar feel as the team prepares for the New York Mets to visit Space Coast Stadium on Thursday evening at 5:05 p.m. Baseball games are coming. Soon.

And that brings us to today’s news of the day…

News of the Day: Max Scherzer will start the Grapefruit League opener

Nationals Manager Matt Williams announced on Tuesday that it would indeed be the newest member of the Nationals’ rotation, Max Scherzer, who would get the ball in the first game of the Spring. He will be followed to the mound, after about two innings of work, by right-hander Tanner Roark.

But, Williams cautioned, there shouldn’t be too much read into that decision.

“There’s nothing to read into it other than [Scherzer’s] going to get the ball on Thursday and five days later, he’ll get it again,” Williams said.

“I would liken it to the leadoff hitter,” Williams added, of the distinction of being a “No. 1 starter.” “Once you get past the first inning, you have multiple leadoff hitters during the game. It’s important for those guys to get on base, too. All of our guys have the ability to go out there and compete and win games on any given day. That’s what we feel good about.”

— Additionally, the Nationals agreed to terms on a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training with outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. The team expects Gwynn to be in camp on Wednesday.

Social Media of the Day

Guess who? #Nats #ace (@thepaulkim photo)

A photo posted by @nationals on

Quote of the Day:

For me, I’m a resource and a confidant for these guys. Anything they think I can help with. If they want to talk about stuff on the field, or something off the field, whatever it may be. I’m just here for them to lean on and pass along some of the things I learned along the way.” — Nationals Life Skills Coordinator Rick Ankiel

Spring Training Broadcast Schedule

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NATSST_02112013_DMThe Washington Nationals broadcast partners, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) and 106.7 The Fan, will broadcast a total of 14 Nationals Spring Training games throughout the weeks leading up to the start of the 2015 regular season.

The Nationals 2015 Grapefruit League schedule features seven games televised by MASN and a combined 10 games airing on 106.7 The Fan, and partner station CBS Sports Radio 1580 AM.

Here’s the full broadcast schedule:

NATIONALS 2015 SPRING TRAINING BROADCAST SCHEDULE*

 

Date Opponent Time Location Broadcast
3/7 vs. STL 1:05 p.m. VIERA, FL MASN / 1580AM
3/8 @ NYY 1:05 p.m. Tampa, FL 106.7 The Fan
3/9 vs. ATL 1:05 p.m. VIERA, FL MASN
3/10 @ MIA 1:05 p.m. Jupiter, FL 1580AM
3/11 vs. DET 1:05 p.m. VIERA, FL MASN
3/16 vs. HOU 1:05 p.m. VIERA, FL MASN
3/19 vs. DET 1:05 p.m. VIERA, FL 1580 AM
3/21 vs. MIA 1:05 p.m. VIERA, FL 1580AM
3/22 @ DET 1:05 p.m. Lakeland, FL 1580AM
3/23 vs. NYY 1:05 p.m. VIERA, FL MASN / 1580AM
3/25 @STL 1:05 p.m. Jupiter, FL 1580AM
3/26 vs. NYM 5:05 p.m. VIERA, FL MASN
3/27 vs. STL 1:05 p.m. VIERA, FL 1580AM
4/4 vs. NYY 1:05 p.m. WASHINGTON, DC MASN/  106.7 The Fan

* Subject to change

Daily Wrap: Live BP wraps up, fundamentals get attention, & more

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by Kyle Brostowitz

Prior to the final live batting practice session of Spring Training, infielders and outfielders worked on a crucial part of the game: fundamentals. Team drills focused on cutoffs and relays from the outfield to second base, third base, and home plate.

The outfielders and cutoff men worked on delivering strikes to each respective base, while the other infielders and catchers focused on receiving the throw and applying a perfect tag. Pitchers are tasked with backing up the correct base. As you can imagine, not one detail is overlooked in this process, and manager Matt Williams is focused on making sure every aspect of it is done correctly.

Fundamental work continued after the workout when Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman took extra time to work on the first leg of a 3-6 double play. Zimmerman practiced his footwork at first base while Desmond got work on receiving throws from Zimmerman – something that he hasn’t had to do much over the years. Desmond explained to Zimmerman where he would like to receive the throw so he can transfer the ball as quickly as possible and deliver a strike back to first base.

News of the Day: Live batting practice concludes

Today was the final day of live batting practice sessions for the Nationals. Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez and several other pitchers took the hill for the first time and faced off against their teammates.

Williams gave a report on the day of work put in by the pitching staff:

“Gio’s velocity was really good. Curveball was good,” Williams explained. “Zim was typical Zim, in that he was down in the zone with the exception of one fastball that Clint Robinson got on the leg. Other than that, they were really good.”

Williams added that, although this was the final scheduled day of live batting practice, depending on each pitcher’s evaluation of where they were at, they could throw another live session privately if they’d like before they see game action.

Social Media of the Day:

Think warm thoughts, DC! #Nats #SpringTraining

A photo posted by @nationals on

Quote of the Day:

“Just going with a fastball in. It went a little too far in. A grazing shot, I guess. I didn’t really square him up too bad.”– Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann on accidentally hitting Clint Robinson during live batting practice.

Daily Wrap: Live BP gets underway, SportsCenter visits Nationals camp & more

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by Amanda Comak

VIERA, Fla. — It was a very busy day here at Nationals camp as Photo Day overtook the morning, and the first live batting practice session of the Spring overtook the afternoon. All the while, ESPN’s SportsCenter was broadcasting live from the Nationals’ workout with sit-down interviews with Max Scherzer, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Mike Rizzo and Drew Storen, along with Matt Williams and Ryan Zimmerman.

News of the Day: Live Batting Practice sessions commence

It’s usually about this time of the spring when bullpens and fielding drills leave everyone wanting a little bit more. And that’s when live batting practice arrives. Live BP, while still practice for everyone, does usually provide a bit more in the way of entertainment and evaluation. The pitchers are always ahead of the hitters, but it’s good for both to see one another on opposite ends once again.

The highlight on Sunday was Max Scherzer throwing his first live batting practice as a member of the Nationals.

Scherzer looked sharp, though few Nationals hitters offered at his pitches as it was their first time seeing live pitching in quite some time. He did, however, entertain.

After finishing his bullpen warm-up, Scherzer and Nationals Manager Matt Williams removed their caps and hummed the Star Spangled Banner. Then Scherzer got to work.

“It’s part of Max’s thing,” Williams said later Sunday afternoon. “He always takes that break for the national anthem when he prepares to start a game. He wanted to take the break, so we hummed it for him. (We) made him feel comfortable in that regard so he could go out and start BP.”

Images of the Day

 

Social Media of the Day

Your 2015 #Nats starting pitchers. #aces

A photo posted by @nationals on

#TonyTwoBags showed off his pro flow at photo day this morning. #Nats #SpringTraining

A photo posted by @nationals on

 

Video Highlights of the Day

 

Quote of the Day

You have to simulate it like it’s a real game. It’s all about the little things.” — Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer on humming the national anthem before live batting practice, which he says he does before every live BP session he’s thrown. 

Daily Wrap: First full squad workout, Escobar at second base & more

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by Kyle Brostowitz

Today was the day of the first full-squad workout for the 2015 Washington Nationals. Instead of rain, which was forecast throughout the Space Coast, there was excitement in the air. From bunt plays, to infield work to outfield drills to batting practice, this was the first day all 60 players in Major League camp got to work together, with their collective eyes on a single goal.

Manager Matt Williams addressed the entire group, (players, coaches, training staff, medical staff, clubhouse staff and front office staff) Thursday morning prior to the workout. He delivered a powerful message about “staying with the process” and let them know that “everything we do here has a purpose.” From there, it was time to go to work.

News of the Day:

Yunel Escobar took the field Thursday morning and instead of going to shortstop, where he’s played the majority of his career, Escobar went right to second base. This spring, the 32-year-old native of La Habana, Cuba will be given a crash course in the fundamentals of playing the position.

Escobar manned second base during the team bunt defense drills before taking full infield work with the rest of the team’s infielders, and batting practice. Following organized workouts, Escobar worked with Williams, shortstop Ian Desmond, and Defensive Coordinator/Advance Coach Mark Weidemaier, who is fluent in Spanish, on basic fundamentals of playing the position.

“What I saw is a guy who certainly has skill and that can play anywhere on the diamond if he wanted to,” Williams said. “Beyond that, what I saw was a guy who came in and asked for some extra work after practice. That’s the most important thing to me. It tells me he will take pride in playing second base and takes pride in his game in general. He wants to work at it. We made an agreement that, barring being sore or going through the ‘Spring Training soreness’ that he would like to do that on an everyday basis. That is a really good sign…If he wants to take grounders at 5 a.m., we’ll be here.”

Images of the Day:

 

Social Media of the Day:

Mr. @denardspan is #focused. #Nats #SpringTraining

A photo posted by @nationals on

 

Quote of the Day:

Depends on the guy. Depends on the manager. I’ve played for some guys who could set the tone and some who couldn’t it just depends on the guy. I would say our guy can set the tone,” – Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth on Matt Williams’ first address to the team.

Daily Wrap: The Full Squad arrives, Bryce Harper talks title & much more

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by Amanda Comak

All that’s left now is for Matt Williams to hold his first team meeting of the year and for the full Washington Nationals squad to take the field Thursday morning. Baseball will truly begin tomorrow as the Nationals will hold their first full-squad workout, provided the weather here on the Space Coast Cooperates.

The Nationals’ position players took their physicals today and came out of them well. It was great to see Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, Wilmer Difo and Yunel Escobar make their first appearances at camp this spring. And there’s so much more fun to come in the days ahead.

First, to the daily wrap…

News of the Day: Full-Squad is ready to go

The Nationals’ pitchers and catchers had a light workout Wednesday morning, with the pitchers getting the day off from bullpen sessions.

Williams met the media for his daily briefing with some good news: no issues with the position players’ physicals and the Nationals’ full-squad will be ready to go on Thursday morning. The only issue now will be whether or not the weather will cooperate with storms in the forecast.

No matter, the 2015 Nationals will be together for the first time. That’ll make it a pretty sunny day, regardless.

A few injury updates the manager shared: “We’re ready to go tomorrow,” Williams said. “Of course, Jayson (Werth, who is coming off surgery to the AC joint in his right shoulder) is limited in that regard because he’s post-surgery, so we’ll watch him. With regard to Nate (McLouth) he’s on a throwing program, so we’ll monitor that, too, but everybody is good to go.”

Images of the Day

 

Social Media of the Day

 

Quote of the Day: 

“I absolutely love this organization. I love the city that I play for. And I’m not done here. Like I said five years ago when I first signed here, I’m going to bring back a title to D.C., no matter what. I’m getting chills thinking about it. I absolutely want to do that for this organization, this town. I don’t care how long it takes me, I’m going to stick and do what I need to do to help this organization win.” — Bryce Harper 

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