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Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 03/ 1/2011

First impressions from spring training

By Ryan Korby

Spring Training games can be fascinating to watch or a good replacement for Lunesta, depending on what you focus on. Being one of the probably 10 fans nationwide who recorded the Nationals-Mets game on my DVR, here’s my impression on the game (I’ll try to keep perspective and remember that the games don’t count):

The position battle for left field is going to be fun to watch if the contenders continue to have games like they did today. Roger Bernadina played aggressively and also smoked his RBI single in the first inning. He was outplayed by Mike Morse, though, who hit two home runs. Now if Rick Ankiel comes out just as hot, they’ll give the front office and Jim Riggleman a lot to think about. I’m really not one to root for one guy over another. If one of those three plays lights out and takes the job, I’ll be happy because they’re helping the Nats win. I do also have an allegiance to Bernadina and Morse, because I feel like they’re more of “our guys” since they’ve been with the organization longer than Ankiel. I think this battle will also come down to information that I’m not privy to, things like actions in the clubhouse and on the practice fields that Riggleman can use to evaluate these guys, but I won’t see or pretend to be an expert about. I just hope a March slump doesn’t get a guy sent off the 25-man roster who otherwise deserves to be there. For what it’s worth, the Mets announcers on SNY seem to think Bernadina will be the starter, but I’ll trust the Nats press right now and their idea that nothing is close to decided.

It’s one game, but the Nationals looked more ready to play than the Mets did Monday. There weren’t any of the horrible mental lapses for the Nats that seemed to plague the Mets. Now, Washington’s players could come out tomorrow and act like Charlie Sheen (in Major League and real life), but for now it looks like the guys have come to play.

I love seeing the old and new faces trying to latch on with the team. By watching these early spring training games you get to hear the story of Kevin Barker’s career path or find out that former Nat Mike O’Connor is trying to earn a spot on the Mets (he pitched a scoreless 8th).

Bryce Harper struck out twice. Remember, it’s only one game.

I don’t mean to rain on anybody’s parade, but with a couple of clouds in the sky Ian Desmond goes 0 for 3 instead of 2 for 3 with a triple and a double. Both extra base hits look like they were aided by the sun getting in the outfielders’ eyes.

By Ryan Korby  | March 1, 2011; 11:10 AM ET
Categories:  Nationals, Ryan Korby  | Tags:  Nationals, Ryan Korby  
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