Results tagged ‘ Spring Training ’

Spring Training Preview: Outfielders

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SPRING TRAINING PREVIEW – OUTFIELDERS

This spring, 63 players — each member of the Nationals’ 40-man roster, plus 23 additional non-roster invitees — will vie for the 25 spots on Dusty Baker’s Opening Day ball club. Over the course of this week, we are introducing these players in their position groups, concluding today with the outfielders.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

March 5 – Starting Pitchers

March 6 – Relief Pitchers

March 7 – Catchers

March 8 – Infielders

March 9 – Outfielders

MATT den DEKKER

2015 Season Totals: .253/.315/.485, 117 wRC+, 8.2% BB rate, 18.2% K rate, 0.4 fWAR

Acquired late last spring from the New York Mets’ organization, den Dekker split time between Triple-A Syracuse and Washington during the first four months of the 2015 season. The left-handed hitting outfielder turned it on late in the year, slashing .302/.368/.616 in 86 August at-bats for the Chiefs and then exceeded those numbers by hitting .320/.370/.620 in 50 at-bats with the Nationals. The 28-year-old has power and can play all three outfield positions.

BRIAN GOODWIN

2015 Season Totals: N/A

Goodwin, a fleet-footed defender, has the ability to play center field, swipe bases and hit for power from the left side of the plate. He recorded a career-high 46 RBI in 114 games for Double-A Harrisburg after returning from a left shoulder injury that plagued him during the 2014 season. Following the season, he excelled in the Venezuelan Winter League, hitting .316 (42-for-133) with eight doubles, three home runs, 18 RBI, 19 walks, five stolen bases and 21 runs scored in 35 games for Bravos de Margarita.

BRYCE HARPER

2015 Season Totals: .330/.460/.649, 197 wRC+, 19.0% BB rate, 20.0% K rate, 9.5 fWAR

Few players in baseball history have matched Harper’s achievements at such a young age. With a dominant display of plate discipline and power in 2015, Harper hit an incredible .330/.460/.649, led the National League in home runs (42), runs scored (118) and OPS (1.109) and also tallied 124 walks. His historic age-22 campaign earned him National League MVP honors, as he garnered all 30 first-place votes to become the youngest player ever to win the award unanimously.

BEN REVERE

2015 Season Totals: .306/.342/.377, 98 wRC+, 5.0% BB rate, 10.1% K rate, 1.9 fWAR

Revere, acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in January, brings contact and speed to the top of the Nationals’ batting order. The 5-foot-9 left-handed hitter stole 49 bases and tied Denard Span with an NL-leading 184 hits in 2014, and then matched that season’s .306 batting average with another .306 campaign in 2015. Revere is of the game’s toughest men to strike out, fanning in less than 10 percent of his plate appearances with Minnesota, Philadelphia and Toronto.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

MICHAEL A. TAYLOR

2015 Season Totals: .229/.282/.358, 69 wRC+, 6.8% BB rate, 30.9% K rate, 1.0 fWAR

Pressed into action in 2015 following offseason surgeries performed on Jayson Werth and Denard Span, Taylor held his own in his first full big league season with the Nationals. The 24-year-old blasted 14 home runs, drove in 63 runs, stole 16 bases and finished ninth among all qualified Major League outfielders with a 12.4 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating). Despite hitting just .229 on the season, Taylor came up big in the clutch, hitting .317/.397/.500 with runners in scoring position.

JAYSON WERTH

2015 Season Totals: .221/.302/.384, 87 wRC+, 10.1% BB rate, 22.2% K rate, -0.3 fWAR

Werth was just beginning to heat up at the plate before a pitch injured his left wrist on May 15, costing him 60 games during the middle of the year. The 36-year-old slugger recovered in time to put together a solid month from August 18–September 18, batting .303/.397/.598 with 10 doubles, eight homers, 20 RBI and 25 runs scored in 30 games over that span. Werth looks to return to his 2013-14 form, when he compiled a 144 OPS+ and registered 9.7 WAR according to FanGraphs.com.

 

NON-ROSTER INVITEES

TONY CAMPANA…Speedy lefty owns an 88 percent stolen base success rate in four MLB seasons.

CHRIS HEISEY…Former Reds outfielder is reunited with Nationals Manager Dusty Baker in Viera.

REED JOHNSON…Back in 2016, Johnson played in 17 games for the Nationals a season ago.

LOGAN SCHAFER…Former Milwaukee product played 49 games in center field for the Brewers in 2015.

 

Spring Training Preview: Infielders

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SPRING TRAINING PREVIEW – INFIELDERS

This spring, 63 players — each member of the Nationals’ 40-man roster, plus 23 additional non-roster invitees — will vie for the 25 spots on Dusty Baker’s Opening Day ball club. Over the course of this week, we are introducing these players in their position groups, continuing today with the infielders.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

March 5 – Starting Pitchers

March 6 – Relief Pitchers

March 7 – Catchers

March 8 – Infielders

March 9 – Outfielders

CHRIS BOSTICK

2015 Season Totals: N/A

A speedy, versatile defender, Bostick was added to Washington’s 40-man roster following the 2015 season. After being acquired from the Texas Rangers along with right-handed pitcher Abel de Los Santos on December 11, 2014, Bostick led Nationals Minor Leaguers with a career-high 31 stolen bases while hitting .258 with 22 doubles, eight triples, 12 home runs, 58 RBI, 31 walks and 57 runs scored between High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg.

WILMER DIFO

2015 Season Totals: .182/.182/.182, -9 wRC+, 0.0% BB rate, 18.2% K rate, -0.1 fWAR

Difo, a switch-hitting middle infielder with speed, enters 2016 rated as the No. 6 prospect in Washington’s system, per Baseball America. He was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg on May 19, making his MLB debut and notching his first MLB hit that night vs. the New York Yankees. Difo hit .286 with 39 extra-base hits, 30 stolen bases and 61 runs scored in 106 games between Single-A Potomac and Harrisburg.

STEPHEN DREW

2015 Season Totals: .201/.271/.381, 76 wRC+, 8.6% BB rate, 16.6% K rate, 0.2 fWAR

A veteran left-handed bat with the ability to play shortstop, second base and third base, Drew signed a one-year deal with Washington on January 6, 2016. He clubbed 17 home runs in his first full season with the New York Yankees in 2015, tied for third among MLB second basemen. It was his largest power output since 2008, when he hit 21 home runs with Arizona. Drew appeared in 123 games (94 starts) at second base, 15 games (10 starts) at shortstop and four games (one start) at third base.

DANNY ESPINOSA

2015 Season Totals: .240/.311/.409, 94 wRC+, 8.0% BB rate, 25.7% K rate, 2.3 fWAR

One of Major League Baseball’s best and most versatile infielders, Espinosa will likely see an increased role at shortstop in 2016. A season ago, he clubbed 13 home runs, his most since 2012, and slugged .409, his highest figure since 2011. If qualified, he would have ranked first in UZR/150 (18.4) and third in defensive runs saved among MLB second basemen (10). He earned starts at second base (74), third base (9), shortstop (5), first base (5) and left field (2) during the 2015 season.

TYLER MOORE

2015 Season Totals: .203/.250/.364, 61 wRC+, 5.5% BB rate, 22.5% K rate, -0.9 fWAR

A power hitter who adds defensive versatility to Washington’s roster, Moore saw action at first base (39 games/23 starts), left field (20 games/13 starts), and right field (one game) and as a pitcher (one game/0.2 IP). He posted career highs in games played (97), at bats (187) and doubles (12) in 2015 while ranking second on the club with five hits as a pinch hitter. He became the second Nationals position player to pitch in a game, and the first at Nationals Park, August 5 vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks.

DANIEL MURPHY

2015 Season Totals: .281/.322/.449, 110 wRC+, 5.8% BB rate, 7.1% K rate, 2.5 fWAR

A 2015 postseason hero with the New York Mets, Murphy signed a three-year deal with the Nationals on January 6, 2016. He garnered NLCS MVP honors after clubbing four home runs during New York’s four-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs, also becoming the first player in MLB history to hit a home run in six consecutive postseason games. He hit a career-high 14 home runs in 2015, adding 38 doubles and 73 RBI. He proved to be the toughest batter to strike out in MLB, fanning once every 14.2 plate appearances.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

ANTHONY RENDON

2015 Season Totals: .264/.344/.363, 97 wRC+, 10.1% BB rate, 19.7% K rate, 0.9 fWAR

A versatile infielder and one of the top young hitters in Major League Baseball, Rendon looks to bounce back from an injury-plagued 2015 campaign. After suffering a sprained MCL in his left knee in Spring Training, Rendon made his 2015 debut on June 14 before returning to the DL on June 25 with a left quad strain. His best stretch of the season came from August 22–September 17, when he hit .356 (37-for-104) with four doubles, four home runs, 16 runs batted in, 12 walks and 25 runs scored.

CLINT ROBINSON

2015 Season Totals: .272/.358/.424, 115 wRC+, 10.5% BB rate, 14.8% K rate, 0.4 fWAR

Robinson joined the Nationals on a Minor League deal with an invite to 2015 Spring Training, and would end up making his first Opening Day roster. In his first full MLB season, Robinson ranked among NL rookies in on-base percentage (3rd, .358), walks (3rd, 37) and slugging percentage (10th, .424). Robinson finished strong, hitting .284 with three homers, nine RBI and 10 walks in 27 September games. On May 12 at Arizona (1.0 IP, H, SO), Robinson became the first-ever Nationals position player to pitch in a game.

TREA TURNER

2015 Season Totals: .225/.295/.325, 72 wRC+, 9.1% BB rate, 27.3% K rate, 0.1 fWAR

The No. 2 prospect in Washington’s system per Baseball America, Turner was acquired from the San Diego Padres on June 14 to complete an offseason trade between the teams. He had his contract selected from Triple-A Syracuse on August 21 and made his Major League debut that night vs. the Milwaukee Brewers, entering the game as a defensive replacement. In 116 Minor League games in 2015, Turner hit .322 with 24 doubles, seven triples, eight homers, 54 RBI, 29 stolen bases and 68 runs scored.

RYAN ZIMMERMANSPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

2015 Season Totals: .249/.308/.465, 107 wRC+, 8.5% BB rate, 20.3% K rate, 0.6 fWAR

A former Gold Glove third baseman, Zimmerman made the transition across the diamond to first base in an injury-shortened 2015 campaign. He hit .249 with 25 doubles, 16 home runs, 73 RBI, 33 walks and 43 runs scored in 95 games, including .311/.372/.652 after returning from plantar fasciitis in his left foot on July 28. He clubbed his 200th career home run during an 11-game span from August 23–September 2, in which he collected 23 RBI — the most over 11 games in franchise history (Nationals/Expos).

 

 

NON-ROSTER INVITEES

JASON MARTINSON2010 fifth-round pick enters his first training camp on the Major League side.

BRENDAN RYANDefensive wizard and veteran of nine big league seasons competing for a utility role.

SCOTT SIZEMOREVirginia Beach native and VCU alum got off to a fast start in Grapefruit League play.

MATT SKOLENationals 2012 Minor League Player of the Year hit 20 homers in the Minors in 2015.

 

Spring Training Preview: Catchers

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SPRING TRAINING PREVIEW – CATCHERS

This spring, 63 players — each member of the Nationals’ 40-man roster, plus 23 additional non-roster invitees — will vie for the 25 spots on Dusty Baker’s Opening Day ball club. Over the course of this week, we are introducing these players in their position groups, continuing today with catchers.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

March 5 – Starting Pitchers

March 6 – Relief Pitchers

March 7 – Catchers

March 8 – Infielders

March 9 – Outfielders

SPENCER KIEBOOM

2015 Season Totals: N/A

Kieboom earned a non-roster invite to 2015 Spring Training and was added to Washington’s 40-man roster following the 2016 season. He boasts above-average defensive skills, having thrown out 41 percent (77-of-189) of would-be base stealers during his Minor League career. This past season, Kieboom hit .248 with 16 doubles, two home runs, 26 RBI and 30 runs scored in 71 games for Single-A Potomac en route to being named a Carolina League All-Star.

JOSE LOBATON

2015 Season Totals: .199/.279/.294, 57 wRC+, 9.7% BB rate, 25.8% K rate, -0.3 fWAR

Lobaton, acquired along with left-handed reliever Felipe Rivero and Minor League outfielder Drew Vettleson prior to the 2014 season, enters his third year as the Nats’ primary backup catcher. Known for his glovework behind the plate, Lobaton ranked 16th out of 117 catchers in pitch framing according to Matthew Carruth’s StatCorner. The 31-year-old switch-hitter contributed to the Nats’ wildest win of the 2015 season, going 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in a 13-12 win over Atlanta on April 28.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

WILSON RAMOS

2015 Season Totals: .229/.258/.358, 63 wRC+, 4.2% BB rate, 20.0% K rate, 0.4 fWAR

Ramos, a 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove Award finalist, enters his sixth full season as the Nationals’ primary backstop after playing a career-high 128 games played a season ago. “The Buffalo” also notched career bests in hits (109), runs batted in (68) and sacrifice flies (8), while coming within one of his top individual mark with 15 home runs. Behind the plate, the strong-armed 28-year-old tallied 77 assists and threw out 24-of-54 would-be basestealers, a 44 percent clip — 16 percent above the league average.

PEDRO SEVERINO

2015 Season Totals: .250/.250/.500, 97 wRC+, 0.0% BB rate, 25.0% K rate, 0.0 fWAR

A young, athletic catcher, Severino made his MLB debut in 2015. He was tabbed the “Best Defensive Catcher” in Washington’s system per Baseball America. He opened the season with Double-A Harrisburg and eventually made his MLB debut September 20 vs. Miami after having his contract selected on September 1. Severino hit .246 with 13 doubles, five homers, 34 RBI and 33 runs scored in 91 games with the Senators while being named an Eastern League midseason and postseason All-Star.

 

NON-ROSTER INVITEES

BRIAN JEROLOMAN…10-year Minor League veteran spent 2015 in Double-A Harrisburg.

JHONATAN SOLANO…Former Nationals backstop hit .314 for the 2012 NL East Division champs.

 

Spring Training Preview: Starting Pitchers

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This spring, 63 players — each member of the Nationals’ 40-man roster, plus 23 additional non-roster invitees — will vie for the 25 spots on Dusty Baker’s Opening Day ball club. Over the next week, we will introduce these players in their position groups, beginning today with starting pitchers.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

March 5 – Starting Pitchers

March 6 – Relief Pitchers

March 7 – Catchers

March 8 – Infielders

March 9 – Outfielders

A.J. COLE

2015 Season Totals: 5.79 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 8.68 K/9, 0.96 BB/9, .394 BABIP, 0.1 fWAR

A highly-regarded right-handed pitching prospect, Cole saw his first Major League action in 2015. He opened the season with Triple-A Syracuse before being recalled to Washington on April 28 to make his MLB debut that night against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Cole later rejoined the Nationals in mid-May and made two relief appearances, converting his first save May 15 at San Diego. The Winter Springs, Fla. native went 5-6 with a 3.15 ERA in 21 games (19 starts) for Syracuse.

GIO GONZALEZ

2015 Season Totals: 3.79 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 8.66 K/9, 3.54 BB/9, .341 BABIP, 3.7 fWAR

Entering his fifth season in Washington, Gonzalez will look to improve upon his stellar 53-34 record as a member of the Nationals’ organization. The affable southpaw induced a career-high 53.8 percent ground ball rate in 2015, but was also stung by a .341 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). A correction to previous levels could be a key indicator for Gonzalez’s success in 2016, as his previous Nationals high was just .294 prior to last season.

TAYLOR JORDAN

2015 Season Totals: 5.29 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 5.82 K/9, 3.18 BB/9, .333 BABIP, 0.3 fWAR

Jordan, a local product out of Merritt Island High School and Brevard County Community College, enters the 2016 season looking to catch the eye of new manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Mike Maddux. The 6-foot-5 sinkerball specialist appeared in nine games (six starts) for the Nationals over the past two seasons, after earning nine starts and posting a 3.66 ERA over 51.2 innings in 2013. Jordan put together 19 solid outings at the Triple-A level a season ago, contributing a 2.95 ERA.

TANNER ROARK

2015 Season Totals: 4.38 ERA, 4.70 FIP, 5.68 K/9, 2.11 BB/9, .292 BABIP, -0.2 fWAR

One of the game’s biggest success stories in 2013 and 2014 when he compiled a 22-11 record with a 2.57 ERA, Roark will battle in Spring Training to return to the Nationals’ starting rotation on a full-time basis. The 29-year-old appeared in 40 games in 2015 (12 starts), picking up his first career save with a scoreless ninth inning on May 4 against the Miami Marlins. Roark had his best stretch of the season from July 25 to August 11, holding his opponents scoreless with a .103 batting average over six games.

JOE ROSS

2015 Season Totals: 3.64 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 8.10 K/9, 2.47 BB/9, .265 BABIP, 1.4 fWAR

Ross burst onto the scene for the Nationals in early June, making the leap from Double-A Harrisburg to the big leagues and holding his own at the highest level. Still just 22 years of age, the big right-hander posted historic numbers in his first seven starts, recording 47 strikeouts against just four walks in 45 innings pitched. Ross finished his rookie campaign with a 5-5 record and a 3.64 ERA over 16 games in Washington (13 starts), plus 2-2 with a 2.81 ERA in Double-A and 3-1 with a 2.19 ERA in Triple-A.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALSMAX SCHERZER

2015 Season Totals: 2.79 ERA, 2.77 FIP, 10.86 K/9, 1.34 BB/9, .268 BABIP, 6.4 fWAR

No hurler had ever authored two no-hit performances as dominant as the pair Scherzer turned in this past season, as the right-hander etched his name in the history books. Between his performances on June 20 against the Pittsburgh Pirates and October 3 against the New York Mets, Scherzer fired 18 no-hit innings, walked no opposing hitters and struck out 27. For the year, the first-year National compiled an 8.12 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the fifth-best mark in MLB history for a pitcher with 200 strikeouts.

STEPHEN STRASBURG

2015 Season Totals: 3.46 ERA, 2.81 FIP, 10.96 K/9, 1.84 BB/9, .311 BABIP, 3.4 fWAR

Strasburg recovered from early ankle and back ailments to deliver one of baseball’s best second-half performances, building momentum toward the 2016 campaign. Over his last 13 starts, Strasburg compiled an 8-2 record with a 1.76 ERA, held opponents to a .175 batting average and recorded a 112-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 82 innings. He enters the season just two strikeouts shy of Jordan Zimmermann’s team record and just 99 punchouts from the 1,000 mark for his career.

 

NON-ROSTER INVITEES

BRONSON ARROYO… 39-year-old veteran right-hander has 145 victories and a World Series ring.

PAULO ESPINO… Panamanian righty posted a 3.21 ERA in 117.2 IP for Triple-A Syracuse in 2015.

LUCAS GIOLITO… Nats’ consensus top prospect split time between Single-A and Double-A last season.

TAYLOR HILL… Made 22 starts for Triple-A Syracuse and added six relief appearances in Washington.

AARON LAFFEY… Southpaw has pitched in the Major Leagues for CLE, SEA, NYY, TOR, NYM and COL.

AUSTIN VOTH… 23-year-old righty with a 2.70 career ERA in three Minor League seasons.

 

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

Recapping the first two days of Spring Training

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by Amanda Comak

The first two days of Spring Training 2014 have gone off without a hitch. And as more and more position players roll into camp, the pitchers and catchers continue on their head start toward the season. Here are a few snaps from the first two days of workouts here in Viera, Fla., along with some live video below.

Ross Detwiler, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann all worked in the bullpen during Sunday morning’s first session:

Craig Stammen, Gabriel Alfaro and Blake Treinen followed in the second group:

Tyler Clippard, Jerry Blevins and Drew Storen rolled in with the third group:

Back at Space Coast Stadium, where a few of the early-reporting position players worked out, Nate McLouth, Matt Skole and Anthony Rendon took a little batting practice:

Manager Matt Williams even got in on the fun, hitting grounders to the infielders and, as seen here, throwing some batting practice of his own to Jamey Carroll:

Thank You From The Lerner Family

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Dear Nationals Fans:

Thank you for making our home yours, for bringing NATITUDE to Nationals Park day in and day out, for making this our third straight year of increased attendance, and for establishing the Nation’s Capital as one of the greatest baseball cities in America.

On the field, we saw many first-rate performances this year and expect to spend the offseason getting even better. We are very excited about our new manager Matt Williams. Not only does he bring an impressive wealth of knowledge and on-field experience to the Nationals dugout, but we think he is the right leader for a team that’s ready to compete for a World Series championship. Matt will partner with President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo in the offseason to make sure our squad is ready for the 2014 campaign. While Mike and his scouts may fine-tune the roster in the next few months, we believe we are already very close to competing for a World Series title as we stand today.

In 2013, the Nationals young pitching staff tossed more innings, produced one of the National League’s winningest pitchers in Jordan Zimmermann, and continued to demonstrate that with starters Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Zimmermann, our pitching corps represents one of the most formidable in the game. Veteran Jayson Werth returned midseason from a hamstring injury to become one of the most dominant hitters in baseball. Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche continued to show leadership, both on the field and in the clubhouse. Denard Span had an amazing 29-game hitting streak and an error-free year in the field. And young players like Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon made significant statements, in the field and at the plate, that they can be mainstays in the Major Leagues for years to come.

And Nats fans were there to see it all. Our April opener drew the largest regular season crowd in Nationals Park history, while our average attendance improved from even last season’s playoff year, and our broadcast and radio ratings were the highest yet. We are truly seeing our hometown become an ardent baseball city.

In the community, the team and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation were proud to help open the doors for the long-awaited Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex at Children’s National Medical Center, and we anticipate hosting our first student athletes on the fields at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy next Spring. We expect both of these initiatives to have a significant and positive impact on our community for generations to come.

The entire Nationals family is inspired by the intense passion for Major League Baseball and the team that’s growing in the capital area. We believe NATITUDE has made our town an even better community. We look forward to an exciting offseason, and plan to introduce everyone to Matt Williams and show off our talented roster at NatsFest in January. Spring Training won’t be far behind.

Thank you for your support – we believe Opening Day 2014 will be the grandest ever. You won’t want to miss it.

Sincerely,

Theodore N. Lerner Mark D. Lerner Edward L. Cohen Robert K. Tanenbaum
Annette M. Lerner Judy Lenkin Lerner Debra Lerner Cohen Marla Lerner Tanenbaum

The Routine of the Road

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Baseball players are creatures of habit. They have to be, by necessity. Success in this sport is defined by consistency, by the ability to produce at a high level continuously over the ups and downs of a six-month grind.

So one can imagine that it might take a while for players to get into their groove upon the beginning of a new campaign. Spring Training is easy – every day is almost the same – a morning workout, usually a mid-day game, and the evening off, with the same bed to sleep in for six weeks. The regular season brings something else entirely.

From the beginning of April until whenever the season comes to an end, the team jets north and south, east and west, zigzagging the country every few days. Most road trips – of which the Nationals will take a dozen during the regular season – include at least two different stops, meaning a new city, a new opponent for which to prepare, a new ballpark, and a new hotel bed.

Santangelo is used to the rigors of the road from his playing days.

Santangelo is used to the rigors of the road from his playing days.

It’s no wonder it can take a while for players to settle in.

“It usually took me the whole month of April,” recalled Nationals television color man F.P. Santangelo, who played parts of seven big league seasons with the Expos, Giants, Dodgers and Athletics.

For the Nationals, the month of April includes the recently concluded trip to Cincinnati, an upcoming week split between Miami and New York, and a trip to Atlanta and Pittsburgh that rolls into early May. While that is a fair amount of travel, Santangelo pointed out that the Nats lucked out in one regard.

“At least they only have one Opening Day,” he explained, referencing the April 1 opener in D.C. “Sometimes we’d have two or three. You’d have to stand out on the line for a half-hour for introductions. It would take you totally out of your routine.”

Quite often, teams will play in both their own home opener as well as one or more on the road, as Washington did last year in Chicago. The Nationals were spared the extra pomp and circumstance by a quirk in the schedule this year that saw them play three at home, travel to Cincinnati for three, then return again to D.C.

Now behind the mic, Santangelo is still subject to the same schedule as the players. Having played through it during his career, he knows not to invest too much into the highs (like a three-game, opening sweep of the Marlins) or the lows (such as a 15-0 loss to the Reds on Friday) this early in the season.

That’s the beauty of the game – while each individual result stands on its own, the teams that can get into the habit of winning for the long stretches are the ones that get to keep playing in October.

The Lighter Side of Spring

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Most of the time, fans see the intense, serious, NATITUDE-driven photo work we do with our players during Spring Training. So with the pomp and circumstance of Opening Day in the books, relax and enjoy the latest in our digital features, the lighter side behind the scenes with many of your favorite Nationals players.

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Back to the Grind

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After competing in a postseason type of atmosphere at the World Baseball Classic the last couple of weeks, Nationals pitchers Ross Detwiler and Gio Gonzalez returned to the much more low-key confines of Viera, rejoining their teammates in Spring Training this week. Detwiler made his first spring start since the tournament on Sunday, bringing a sharp changeup, as well as his trademark, self-deprecating wit along with him to Lakeland as he squared off with the Tigers.

Despite the change in venue, Detwiler used the same approach for this outing as he did for his shining WBC moment, in which he shut down Team Italy over four scoreless frames to help Team USA advance to the second round.

“I don’t think it was that different,” said the southpaw of the two environments. “I had the same mentality to just go out there, throw strikes and get ahead.”

Detwiler looked like his old self in his return to the Nationals rotation Sunday.

Detwiler looked like his old self in his return to the Nationals rotation Sunday.

Limited to 56 pitches over four innings, the lefty allowed just three hits and a walk, surrendering a single run on a towering home run to Detroit outfielder Torii Hunter in the first inning.

“My first outing in Spring Training I faced the Braves and their Opening Day lineup,” he explained, noting that he has run into a tough string of opponents already in spring. “You don’t want to take any less intensity out there or they’re going to hit a ball right back at you. Or over the tiki hut in left.”

Detwiler went on to throw 15 more pitches in the bullpen, as he stretches himself out for his first start of the season, likely in Cincinnati – a well-known hitter’s haven – on the team’s first road trip. Good thing he’s getting his practice in now in tough pitching environments.

“That’s a ridiculous lineup,” he said of the Tigers, who rolled out nearly all of their starters on Sunday. “You’ve got to focus on keeping the ball down, or you’re going to have to throw with an L-screen out there.”

For those unfamiliar with the term, an L-screen is the protective barrier from behind which coaches throw batting practice to the players. Hopefully he won’t need any such equipment should he run into them again when the two teams meet during the regular season, May 7-8 in D.C.

“I’m going to throw to the American League the same way I throw to the National League, I just won’t have to hit in half the games,” he explained, as the only difference in his approach. After a pause, he quipped, “That’s a good thing.”

While Detwiler was out facing the defending American League Champions, Gonzalez took his day off to head to Disney World. He threw on the Minor League side on Monday as he works his way back into the rotation.

With Detwiler and Gonzalez’s return, and with the starters scheduled to play more innings both at home and on the road this week, it was time on Monday morning to make the next round of cuts in camp. The Nationals optioned right-handed pitchers Erik Davis, Yunesky Maya and Ryan Perry, catcher Jhonatan Solano, infielder Chris Marrero and outfielder Corey Brown to Syracuse and reassigned right-handed pitcher Ross Ohlendorf and infielder Zach Walters to Minor League camp. The Spring Training roster now stands at 34 players heading into play against the Tigers once again on Monday.

Nationals Lineup:

1. Span CF

2. Werth RF

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Ramos C

9. Zimmermann RHP

Results:

2/23 @ New York (NL) – L, 5-3

2/24 vs. Miami – T, 2-2

2/25 @ New York (NL) – W, 6-4

2/26 @ Atlanta – L, 9-5

2/27 vs. Miami – L, 5-1

2/28 vs. New York (NL) – T, 4-4

3/1 @ Atlanta – W, 6-5

3/2 @ St. Louis – W, 6-2

3/3 vs. St. Louis – W, 7-6

3/5 vs. Houston – W, 7-1

3/6 @ Philadelphia – L, 6-3

3/7 @ Houston – L, 4-2

3/8 vs. Cardinals – L, 16-10

3/9 vs. Marlins – W, 8-7

3/10 @ Detroit – L, 2-1

3/11 vs. Atlanta – L, 7-2

3/13 SS vs. New York (NL) – W, 8-5

3/13 SS @ Houston – W, 9-7

3/14 vs. Houston – W, 6-3

3/15 @ St. Louis – L, 5-1

3/16 vs. Houston – L, 4-2

3/17 @ Detroit – W, 12-10

Overall Record: 10-10-2

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