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Nationals Journal: February 13, 2011 - February 19, 2011

Cla Meredith relieved after clean tests

Reliever Cla Meredith, the first Nationals' injury victim of the spring, felt relief today when the results from an MRI and an X-ray of his right elbow came back clean. Yesterday, Meredith cut short a bullpen session after he felt...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 19, 2011; 1:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Chien-Ming Wang shows 'real positive' improvement

On Thursday, Chien-Ming Wang threw bullpen session that validated the most pessimistic view of his current state. His pitches were relatively slow. His ball didn't move much. While he threw beside five teammates, he stood out for the wrong...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 19, 2011; 1:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Cla Meredith underwent an MRI

Reliever Cla Meredith, who cut short his bullpen session short yesterday with discomfort in his right elbow, is waiting to receive results from an MRI exam taken yesterday. Meredith, 28, underwent surgery this offseason to remove bone chips from his...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 19, 2011; 9:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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A small update on Henry Rodriguez and Elvin Ramirez

I received an explanation for what's going on with the visas for Elvin Ramirez and Henry Rodriguez, the two rocket-armed relievers who have yet to arrive in Viera because of delays. Ramirez, acquired of the Mets' roster in December's Rule...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 19, 2011; 7:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Is Michael Morse the next Jayson Werth?

When the Nationals signed Jayson Werth this December, Michael Morse knew immediately he would lose uniform No. 28. He didn't mind. Morse chose 28 in the first place because of Werth, his new teammate and the player he tries to...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 18, 2011; 3:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Henry Rodriguez, Elvin Ramirez still delayed

Position players continue to pour into Viera early for spring training, but relievers Henry Rodriguez and Elvin Ramirez remain stuck abroad because of visa delays, General Manager Mike Rizzo said, and it's unclear when, exactly, they might arrive. Catcher Carlos...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 18, 2011; 2:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Cla Meredith suffers an apparent setback

Unfortunately, it seems the first injury issue of Nationals camp struck today. Cla Meredith, a side-arming, right-handed reliever trying to make the team on a minor league contract, had to cut short his bullpen session today with an apparent arm...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 18, 2011; 1:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Long Toss: Flores or Ramos the future at catcher?

As Adam Kilgore told us earlier today, Jesus Flores and Wilson Ramos will be competing this spring to earn the right to back up Ivan Rodriguez as the Nationals' catcher. Whom do you see as the catcher of the future...

By Washington Post sports editors  | February 18, 2011; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Wilson Ramos  
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Ivan Rodriguez will be the Nationals starting catcher

Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman declared Ivan Rodriguez the team's starting catcher to begin the season, creating a competition for the backup position between the Nationals' two young catchers, Jesus Flores and Wilson Ramos. "My thought is that Pudge is...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 18, 2011; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Sheinin on First Things First

Live from spring training, baseball writer Dave Sheinin will co-host Tracee Hamilton's First Things First online chat today at 9:30 a.m. Join the conversation by clicking here....

By Washington Post editors  | February 18, 2011; 9:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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For Stephen Strasburg, work replaces worry

The first overall pick of the 2009 draft prefers to reveal as little about himself as he can, but one capital-T Truth from his time in the public eye has become evident. Stephen Strasburg is about work. He faces...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 18, 2011; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Albert Pujols, Washington National? Some thoughts

Tyler Kepner, the esteemed national baseball writer for the New York Times, wrote an interesting post on the newspaper's Bats blog. He engages in some educated speculation that the Nationals would be a sensible fit for Albert Pujols should he...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 17, 2011; 7:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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With Chien-Ming Wang, the Nationals probably won't get their wish

More than a dozen Nationals pitchers threw bullpen sessions today, Chien-Ming Wang among them. Wang will be watched closely this spring as he tries to pitch in the majors for the first time since July 2009. Today, he looked to...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 17, 2011; 5:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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When Stephen Strasburg (almost) met Bryce Harper

Stephen Strasburg has not yet had a chance to speak with Bryce Harper, the player who will find himself in roughly the same space Strasburg occupied a year ago, a supreme talent and sport-wide fascination. Harper is due to arrive...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 17, 2011; 4:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Stephen Strasburg on throwing again

Stephen Strasburg met with the media this afternoon following his workout. I'm going to get cracking to keep my editors happy, but here are some quick hits: >>>While Strasburg made his spring training debut today, he actually threw for the...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 17, 2011; 3:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Nationals pitchers, including Stephen Strasburg, get their first work in

The Nationals' pitchers and catchers have completed their first full workout of the spring. Several pitchers threw bullpen sessions, including Chien-Ming Wang, and the low level of intensity of his session shows why he believes he'll probably have to start...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 17, 2011; 12:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Long toss: Are you a believer?

This morning's blog post about Livan Hernandez sparked an interesting debate. Based on statistics, some readers are discouraged by the fact that Hernandez will probably be the opening day starter. Others are charmed by Livo's "magic." Adam Kilgore wrote: There...

By Washington Post editors  | February 17, 2011; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Livan Hernandez  
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Pitchers and catchers set to work out today

There was a different look and feel to the Nationals' clubhouse this morning. First of all, it was jam-packed. There was less milling about in mesh shorts and random T-shirts and more players standing at or close by their locker...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 17, 2011; 9:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Can Livan Hernandez do it again?

It's easy to forget now, after he established himself as a focal part of their team, but Livan Hernandez was not officially part of the Nationals' opening day roster last year. Yesterday, he hoped President Obama would throw out the...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 17, 2011; 7:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Morning brushback  
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Ivan Rodriguez is happy to help Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores, but he says he can still play, too

Ivan Rodriguez has had a Hall of Fame-caliber career, so the circumstance in which he finds himself now is foreign. He arrived today at Nationals spring training in the middle of a crowded catching situation, fending off players who are...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 16, 2011; 2:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Ivan Rodriguez  
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Roger Bernadina is jacked

Roger Bernadina arrived today, and he is probably the leader in clubhouse for Best Shape of His Lifeiest player here. He looked more like a strong safety than a left fielder. Bernadina took some batting practice with coaches the...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 16, 2011; 12:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Long toss: Can Nyjer Morgan bounce back?

Yesterday, Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman stressed the importance of hitters at the top of the lineup getting on base with greater frequency. "Ryan Zimmerman has been such a consistent guy for us," he said. "It's a little deflating if he...

By Washington Post editors  | February 16, 2011; 11:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Visa issues delay three arrivals

Every Nationals pitcher and catcher reported yesterday, the official opening of spring training, aside from relievers Henry Rodriguez and Elvin Ramirez and catcher Carlos Maldonado. Those three experienced visa delays, and they should arrive sometime soon. At the moment, Nationals...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 16, 2011; 9:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Right-hander Luis Atilano removed from 40-man roster

In order to reduce their roster to the 40-man limit, the Nationals designated right-handed starter Luis Atilano for assignment. The Nationals will have 10 days to either trade him, release him or send him to the minor leagues. Atilano, 25,...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 16, 2011; 9:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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History says Ian Desmond will cut down on errors in 2011

In his first full season, Ian Desmond learned a lot about how to take care of his body over the course of 162-game grind. You can read about how he applied that lesson to his unique offseason preparation, and about...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 16, 2011; 7:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Morning brushback  
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Jim Riggleman wants the top of the Nationals order on the offensive

While the Nationals focused their offseason roster overhaul on defense more than any other component, their offense must also improve for them to climb out of last place. They scored 655 runs last year, which ranked 25th in the majors....

By Adam Kilgore  | February 15, 2011; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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For Nationals starters, its Livan Hernandez and the rest

At this time last spring, all 30 teams had decided Livan Hernandez was not worth a major league contract. He was still waiting by the phone in late February, when the Nationals decided to take a shot. Hernandez agreed...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 15, 2011; 3:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Ryan Zimmerman clears the air on Adam Dunn, talks Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper

Ryan Zimmerman, one of several Nationals position players who arrived early to Viera, chatted with reporters today for the first time this spring. Right away, he attempted to clarify his stance on the Nationals' allowing Adam Dunn, who signed with...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 15, 2011; 2:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Long toss: Too many catchers

In today's newspaper, Adam Kilgore reported on catcher Jesus Flores's long road back from a shoulder injury. Flores' healthy return poses a happy dilemma for the Nationals. Last month, Kilgore blogged: By midseason, the Nationals could be best served to...

By Washington Post editors  | February 15, 2011; 12:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Drew Storen's excellent uniform adventure

Drew Storen changed his number this year, which is common for a player who, in his second year, gets to ditch his team-issued, sky-high digits for a more conventional number. What's uncommon is that Storen has changed his uniform number...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 15, 2011; 10:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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As pitchers and catchers report, five pitchers to watch

As you read this Tuesday morning, Nationals pitchers and catchers will be officially reporting at Space Coast Stadium. This spring will tell us more about some of those pitchers than others, and it's those question marks - the flamethrowers, the...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 15, 2011; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Morning brushback  
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With a fresh outlook, Nyjer Morgan feels ready for 2011

Nyjer Morgan knows now why his 2010 season, as he said, "wasn't a Nyjer Morgan year." His preparation last winter was hindered by his injured wrist, which he said, looking back, had not fully healed by the time he reported...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 14, 2011; 4:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
 
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Jesus Flores is back

It was easy to pick out the happiest member of the Nationals working out today in Viera. This time last year, Jesus Flores could not throw the ball back to the pitcher, and his spring would turn into nothing...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 14, 2011; 2:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Chien-Ming Wang expects to start 2011 on the disabled list

Starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang, still in the final stages of recovering from major shoulder surgery that has held him out for since mid-2009, will likely begin the regular on the disabled list in order to log innings in the minor...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 14, 2011; 1:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Jayson Werth, bearded, arrives in Viera

Jayson Werth arrived in the Nationals clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium this morning and answered one of the more pressing questions of spring training: Yes, he grew his beard back following his shorn showing at his introductory press conference. "I'm...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 14, 2011; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Long toss: What are your top story lines?

Yesterday Adam Kilgore listed five things to watch for in spring training. In short they were: -- Jayson Werth becomes a National. -- Bryce Harper's first spring training. -- Mike Rizzo's defense debuts. -- Can Nyjer Morgan seize center field?...

By Washington Post editors  | February 14, 2011; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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A welcome to Viera, and five things to watch for there

I arrived in Florida today, for the start of the Nationals' spring training in Viera. It's already been an eventful day. The drive from the Orlando airport to the Residence Inn that I'm calling home included a stretch Navigator...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 13, 2011; 12:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
 
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