The Washington Nationals continue plowing (an appropriate term for the mid-Atlantic today) through the Spring Training calendar. Yesterday, the Nats pummeled Bo Porter's Houston Astros 7-1. Porter, the former Nats third base coach, is in his first season as the Astros skipper.
In his second spring start, Dan Haren threw 3 innings and allowed 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 run, while fanning 2 batters. Haren retired six straight before falling into problems in the third inning. The game also featured the debut of Nats new closer Rafael Soraino. Soriano was impressive, throwing the 7th inning and allowing 1 hit, but no runs and fanned one. In his debut, Soriano only three 12 pitches to end his inning of work. Zack Duke (1-0) continued his nice spring, throwing 3 shutout innings and allowing just 1 hit and striking out 2 Astros. Duke has racked up 4 strike outs in 3.2 innings of work this spring.
At the plate, Danny Espinosa was 2 for 3, stole a base, drove in 2 runs and scored a run to lead the Nats offense. Espinosa is having a fine spring, batting .364 in 22 plate appearances. You can credit that to his new offensive approach. Pinch hitter Chad Tracy added a two run double. Corey Brown and Jayson Werth added RBI.
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Here is more on Haren bouncing back from injury.
Besides the Soirano debut, Wilson Ramos made his first start behind the plate. Meanwhile, Werth is trading back to his 'homer' bat. Speaking of Werth, Brian McNally writes that he is proving his worth.
Federal Baseball has comments from Nats manager Davey Johnson on young stud Anthony Rendon. It is obvious that Johnson just loves Rendon.
"He's got an idea on how to get that bat on the ball," Johnson, the former major league second baseman said, "Got good hands. Good stroke. And he can play a lot of positions. I like him at third, and I also didn't mind him at short. And he's got some [aptitude] at second."
Despite the outstanding spring thus far, Rendon doesn't stand a chance to crack the opening day roster. Now healthy, the Nats wants Rendon to play everyday, that won't happen here in Washington right now. Rendon knows that. His goal is clear, he wants to give the Nats a spring to remember.
"I'm trying to take it one day at a time," Rendon said. "Of course, I'm happy just to be here. I'm doing well this spring. That's a positive, but I know I'm not going to be here that long. Before I go back on the Minor League side, I just want to be remembered. I want them to say, 'Hey, he had a good spring before he left.' That's all I can do."
Simply put, the Nats want Rendon to have a full season of playing. He has not had that since being drafted with the sixth overall pick in 2011 because of injuries.
Tom Boswell thinks Bryce Harper could have a historic season.
You can check out the odds that the Nats will win the World Series at pregame.com.
The Detroit Tigers are pushing hard to acquire a closer. Could the Nats part with Drew Storen or Tyler Clippard in the right deal?
Get more information here regarding the Nats Ultimate Ballpark Access card.
A battle coming this season can be seen today. The Nats face hated division rival Philadelphia. Stephen Strasburg makes his third spring start and will face Roy Halladay. Here is a preview from Philly.com. The Post provides a preview as well.
Chris Young gave up 2 runs in 2 innings of work, throwing 41 pitches, in a minor league game with the Nats system.
Another prospect to keep an eye on is Zach Walters. He has been impressing the Nats brass.
The Politico gives us a run down of President Taft, the new Nats racing President.