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Nationals Journal: February 27, 2011 - March 5, 2011

Jeff Frazier takes CC Sabathia deep

Jeff Frazier grew up in New Jersey as a New York Mets fan, but seemingly everyone else he knew back home rooted for the Yankees. Which is why the 28-year-old outfielder took an extra measure of satisfaction in homering off...

By Dave Sheinin  | March 5, 2011; 5:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Bryce Harper not big on pre-game fraternization

Bryce Harper, the Nationals' heralded right field prospect, had perhaps his best game of the spring Saturday in the Nationals' 10-8 win over the New York Yankees at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. Harper went 1 for 2 at the plate...

By Dave Sheinin  | March 5, 2011; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Live blog: Nationals at Yankees, Steinbrenner Field, Tampa

End 9, 4:10: Adam Carr gets the save with a 1-2-3 ninth, wrapping up a 10-8 win for the Nationals. End 8, 3:57: Nationals lefty Sean Burnett just pitched a scoreless eighth (it's still 10-8, Nationals), and was helped when...

By Dave Sheinin  | March 5, 2011; 1:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Riggleman gives Morgan a vote of confidence

Before Saturday's game, Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman, unprompted, brought up Nyjer Morgan's performance (0 for 3, two strikeouts) the day before, saying Morgan "was pitched extremely tough yesterday." When I pressed Riggleman further on what he is seeing out of...

By Dave Sheinin  | March 5, 2011; 12:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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A quick look back, a quicker look ahead

Greetings from George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, where the Nationals play the Yankees today at 1:05 p.m., and where I have arrived early to work on some Yankees stuff while I await the Nationals' team bus from Viera. There...

By Dave Sheinin  | March 5, 2011; 8:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Live blog: Braves at Nationals, Space Coast Stadium

End 9, 3:50: That's a 6-4 loss for the Nationals. They mounted a rally in the ninth, with Danny Espinosa driving in the run with a lined single to right off lefty Jose Ortegano. But the game ended with Jerry...

By Dave Sheinin  | March 4, 2011; 12:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Long toss: What's on your mind?

As Adam noted in today's Morning Brushback, he's taking a short mid-spring training break and has handed the ball to his esteemed colleague, Dave Sheinin. What should Dave be writing about in the coming days? What questions do you have...

By Washington Post Sports  | March 4, 2011; 12:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Wang cuts short intrasquad outing because of shoulder tightness

Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang felt his surgically repaired shoulder tighten up between innings of an intrasquad game on a windy Friday morning, and cut short his scheduled two-inning stint. "He said he was just a little tight," pitching coach Steve McCatty...

By Dave Sheinin  | March 4, 2011; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Chien-Ming Wang  
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Chico, Bisenius, Martis victims in first round of cuts

Perhaps it is a good sign of the Nationals' pitching depth that the first three players cut from the spring roster have all had varying levels of success in the big leagues. Lefty Matt Chico and right-handers Joe Bisenius and...

By Dave Sheinin  | March 4, 2011; 9:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Derek Norris's feels at home, Garrett Mock gets wild, the Nationals play sloppy

I never put a bow on the Nationals' 7-5 loss to the Cardinals last night, mainly because of the two-hour drive home from Jupiter. That's here now, in the post below. Also, an NJ programming note: I'll be taking the...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 4, 2011; 7:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Morning brushback  
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Jordan Zimmermann encouraged after first spring training start

Jordan Zimmermann could not climb a mound at this point last March, and he has a constant reminder this spring training. "The same thing Strasburg is doing right now," Zimmermann said, "I was doing last year." Now, rather than...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 3, 2011; 4:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Nationals spring training live blog, Jupiter Edition

End, 3:52: Bryce Harper ended the Nationals' first loss of spring training with a pop to left. The Nats fell, 7-5. Todd Coffey pitched a scoreless eighth before the Nats went 1-2-3. Top 8, 3:36: Radio play-by-play man Dave...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 3, 2011; 1:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
 
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Long toss: Which release will shock us?

Earlier this week Adam Kilgore wrote about the different feeling on the Nationals this spring because of improved talent on the team. Commenter twinbrook asks: It seems most springs there is a player whose release comes as something as a...

By Washington Post editors  | March 3, 2011; 12:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
 
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Bryce Harper will play against the New York Yankees

After Bryce Harper participated in his first spring training workout, he outlined some his goals for the spring, which included watching Albert Pujols take batting practice, something he got to today. He also mentioned playing against the Yankees. "I love...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 3, 2011; 12:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Today's Nationals lineup, travel roster

Jordan Zimmermann gets his first start of the spring today against the Cardinals in Jupiter (town, not planet). Ryan Zimmerman will not make the trip, but Jayson Werth will. Bryce Harper, not starting, will travel, too. The full lineup: Nationals...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 3, 2011; 8:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Yunesky Maya's new strike zone

After his penultimate start of last season, his first in America, Yunesky Maya said through Livan Hernandez, "I'm going to be much [better] next year." This winter, he pitched in winter ball, got into shape and, after one appearance yesterday,...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 3, 2011; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Morning brushback  
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Roger Bernadina's strong start, Bryce Harper's near miss, Nationals pitchers stay under control

The Nationals moved to 3-0 today with an 8-4 win over the Marlins. Three things other than Yunesky Maya (who I wrote about for tomorrow's paper) that stood out: >>> The two Nationals players off to the best start...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 2, 2011; 7:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Stephen Strasburg watches the Nationals 'like a fan'

Early this morning, Stephen Strasburg stood in right field at Space Coast Stadium, playing catch with Lee Kuntz, a daily routine mostly, but not completely, unchanged. Since he first arrived in Nationals spring training, his sessions of catch have...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 2, 2011; 4:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Nationals spring training live blog, John Lannan Works On Things Edition

End 9, 3:50: The Nats won, 8-4. Sean Burnett closed it out with a 1-2-3 ninth. In the bottom of the eighth, Bryce Harper came to bat and smoked a fly ball to the warning track in left-center, only...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 2, 2011; 12:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (91)
 
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Henry Rodriguez in shape, not quite up to speed

Reliever Henry Rodriguez is here and in uniform after being delayed in Venezuela by a visa issue. Rodriguez said he's been staying in shape, throwing bullpen sessions and live batting practice. Still, he said he'll probably need one or two...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 2, 2011; 12:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Nationals settle contract statuses for 'zero-to-three' players

Every spring about this time, teams must sign the "zero-to-three" players on their 40-man roster, the players who have less than three years of major league experience and, therefore, make between $400,000 and $500,000 and are not eligible for salary...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 2, 2011; 11:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Henry Rodriguez is here, and other stuff

A few quick notes from the morning: >>> Henry Rodriguez, the hard-throwing right-handed reliever the Nationals acquired from the A's for Josh Willingham, is finally here after a long visa delay. So long as he gets through his physical without...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 2, 2011; 9:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Cla Meredith will undergo Tommy John surgery

After experiencing pain in his surgically repaired elbow early this spring, right-handed reliever Cla Meredith will undergo Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery. The operation will be performed today by Nationals team doctor Wiemi Douoguih. Meredith, 27, signed a minor league contract...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 2, 2011; 9:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Today's Nationals lineup

John Lannan will get his first start of the spring today, against the Florida Marlins. Nyjer Morgan sits for the first time, with Roger Bernadina taking center and Rick Ankiel starting in left. 1. Roger Bernadina, CF 2. Rick Ankiel,...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 2, 2011; 8:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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How important is the Nationals' strong start?

Last year at this time, the Nationals were losing badly and swearing it didn't matter. After they lost their first 10 games, Adam Dunn asked, "Who cares?" Then they lost once more before their first victory. Those were ugly...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 2, 2011; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Ross Detwiler's improved mechanics translate in his first spring training appearance

Before today, Ross Detwiler had been perhaps the most promising player in Nationals spring training during the most unimportant time to be promising. Detwiler, showcasing new, improved mechanics, had impressed Nationals officials during bullpen sessions and live batting practices....

By Adam Kilgore  | March 1, 2011; 6:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Corey Brown's sprained ankle not a 'huge concern'

Outfielder Corey Brown sprained his left ankle this afternoon after sliding into a New York Mets catcher while trying to score on a groundball to first by Bryce Harper. Brown, one of the players the Nationals received in the trade...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 1, 2011; 5:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Bryce Harper records his first hit during Nationals spring training

Last night, Bryce Harper went home, talked to his father about the two strikeouts on seven pitches that marked his first appearance on a major league field and laughed. Hours after they happened, Harper stopped thinking about the strikeouts....

By Adam Kilgore  | March 1, 2011; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Nationals spring training live blog, Jayson Werth Debut Edition

End, 3:48: The Nats won, 5-3. Drew Storen yielded a double to Lucas Duda and two runs, one unearned, on several hard-hit balls. Bryce Harper almost ended the game by throwing out a runner at home from right, but...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 1, 2011; 12:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
 
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Jesus Flores reflects on first spring training game

Come this spring, when Jesus Flores squats behind home plate in a major league game, he expects to feel something. "During will the season will be different," Flores said. "It's going to feel like my first time, in 2007."Yesterday,...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 1, 2011; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Stephen Strasburg making progress, slowly

Since the first day Stephen Strasburg showed up at Nationals spring training and played light catch (Lightcatchageddon?), there has been a dearth of updates regarding his condition. This owes to the nature of the Tommy John surgery recovery process....

By Adam Kilgore  | March 1, 2011; 10:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Jim Riggleman 'leaning' toward hitting Jayson Werth third, Ryan Zimmerman fourth

Today's lineup, the first this spring in which Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth appear, offers some insight into how Jim Riggleman will set his regular-season lineup. Werth will bat third today and Zimmerman will hit cleanup, which is how...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 1, 2011; 9:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Adam LaRoche at DH with 'soreness' in throwing shoulder

First baseman Adam LaRoche is slotted at designated hitter today because he's experiencing tenderness in his left shoulder. The Nationals believe the issue is not serious, and they held LaRoche off the field despite his desire to play, Manager Jim...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 1, 2011; 9:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Today's Nationals lineup

The Nationals will try to build off their 9-3 win yesterday over the Mets with another spring game against the Mets today, the opener at Space Coast Stadium. Jayson Werth makes his Nationals debut, Livan Hernandez takes the mound. Jonathan...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 1, 2011; 8:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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For Bryce Harper, no rush to judgment

The most important thing to remember about Bryce Harper's seven-pitch, two-strikeout debut is that no important conclusions can be drawn from it. Some may want to use yesterday as evidence Harper's inability handle big league breaking balls. I'm not sure...

By Adam Kilgore  | March 1, 2011; 6:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Morning brushback  
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The Nationals look sharp, and other notes from Game 1

Bryce Harper's dispiriting debut, naturally, will receive the brunt of attention compared to the rest of the proceedings today at Digital Domain Park. But Harper's two strikeouts may have been the only blemish for the Nationals in their 9-3...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 28, 2011; 7:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Michael Morse states his case

In his first at-bat of the spring, Michael Morse felt "a little jittery," the same way he always feels the first game of the year. "I think that's part of the game," Morse said. "And I love it. When those...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 28, 2011; 6:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Bryce Harper's spring training debut ends with two strikeouts

Bryce Harper saw seven pitches and struck out twice in his spring training debut, an inauspicious beginning for the 18-year-old first pick of the 2010 draft. Harper entered the game as a pinch-runner for designated hitter Matt Stairs in...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 28, 2011; 4:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Nationals spring training live blog, Bryce Harper Debut Edition

Final: Adam Carr pitched a 1-2-3 inning and the Nats won, 9-3 Top 9, 3:53: Bryce Harper came to bat for the second time and struck out on four pitches against Ryota Igarashi. He looked at a strike, a...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 28, 2011; 12:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Willie Harris moves on with the Mets, but he misses the Nationals

Around the batting cage mid-morning at Digital Domain Park, Willie Harris received hugs and handshakes as if he was at a family reunion. He wore a New York Mets jersey, which he admitted still felt a little funny, as...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 28, 2011; 12:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Long toss: How important is a fiery attitude?

Thomas Boswell's column from Sunday's paper about Jayson Werth sparked a lively debate. Boswell wrote: Now, the Nats will find out if the edgy Werth makes their team more fiery or if the franchise's losing tradition will douse some of...

By Washington Post editors  | February 28, 2011; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Coming today: Nationals baseball

The Nationals buses have rolled into Digital Domain Park in Port St. Lucie, which has become a serious contender for worst-named field in the Grapefruit League (or, as former Nationals reliever Tyler Walker liked to call it, in an...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 28, 2011; 10:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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How Adam LaRoche developed his stance

Adam LaRoche, described by former and current teammate Sean Burnett as "probably the most likable guy in baseball," has a way of doing everything smooth. His motions have been refined his whole life, since he followed his father, former...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 28, 2011; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Players to watch from the Nationals accelerated development camp

The Nationals released their accelerated development roster, which is comprised the minor league players whom the Nationals chose to get an early start on spring. Typically, they're chosen because the Nationals see something in them, so this is virtually the...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 27, 2011; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Scenes from the last full-squad workout of the spring

The Nationals wrapped their final practice before the spring training schedule begins with a light workout. No live batting practice and very little conditioning. The funniest moment came early in the workout, when Nationals players were conducting a drill in...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 27, 2011; 12:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Chad Gaudin wants to start

When the Nationals take the field tomorrow in their first exhibition game of the spring training, against the Mets at 1:10 p.m., Chad Gaudin will do something he hasn't done for more than a year: walk to the mound and...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 27, 2011; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Henry Rodriguez's visa delay should end Tuesday

Right-handed reliever Henry Rodriguez, the pitcher the Nationals acquired along with outfielder Corey Brown by trading Josh Willingham to the Oakland A's, should arrive Tuesday after being delayed by a visa issue all spring, Manager Jim Riggleman said. Rodriguez, a...

By Adam Kilgore  | February 27, 2011; 9:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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