Matt Capps's rough spring and morning links
Each time Matt Capps seemed poised to let his pitching announce him ready for the season and the Nationals' closer role, along came an outing like yesterday. He allowed three runs on three hits and two walks in one inning. In 10 2/3 innings, Capps has allowed 10 runs, 16 hits and seven walks. Whenever the struggles seemed to be left behind, they came back.
"I felt great," Capps said yesterday. "It was a mechanical thing. I couldn't make that adjustment when I was out there, for whatever reason. Really, the last four or five times out I feel I've gotten where I wanted to get. Today was just a mechanical thing. As far as being ready for the season, I feel like I'm there."
The Nationals play twice more in Florida and once at Nationals Park before the regular season begins April 5. Capps says he feels physically ready, but he hasn't strung together many outings in which he's been able to keep the ball out of the fat part of the strike zone.
"I think he's as prepared as he can be," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "He didn't get the ball down today. He threw the ball in the wheelhouse to some really good hitters, and they made him pay for it. His velocity has picked up. He seems to be throwing the ball very well. Major league hitters are going to make you pay if it's in that thigh to belt range.
In the dead-tree edition, you can read about the steadiness Josh Willingham brings to the Nationals. Elsewhere, Nyjer Morgan answered questions from fans. Tom Verducci is looking forward to watching the Nationals draft and Stephen Strasburg pitch. With the year's opening series four days away, you can catch up on the Phillies here.
April 1, 2010; 9:40 AM ET
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