The Washington Nationals pitchers and catchers reported to Viera yesterday to kick off Spring Training 2013. The talk of the first day centered around two starters, Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg. That focus was starkly different.
First, Gio Gonzalez addressed the PED Miami clinic issue yesterday, again giving a complete denial and an expression of bewilderment of how is name was ever linked to the Miami clinic. You can read more from ESPN, Washington Post, Washington Times, and CSN Washington. Gio is honored to receive the WBC invite.
Meanwhile, as reported yesterday, Stephen Strasburg is excited to get the season started and be a work horse for the Nats, with no innings limitations. His goal is and has been a 200 plus innings season at the top of the Nats rotation.
“Our manager has definitely already came out and popped off saying that if we don’t go to the World Series it’s going to be a disappointing season,” Stammen told 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny Tuesday. “I guess we gotta follow our leader and that’s probably true; because we won the National League East last year and we pretty much have a lot of the same guys back. We made a few changes in the offseason that hopefully improves our team.” “Our goal is the same as every other team’s should be and that’s to win the World Series,” Stammen added.
Federal Baseball previews pitchers and catchers. When you are as solid of a team as the Nats, the emphasis on roster spots at training camp is on depth roles. Few guys are ont hat tight rope, including pitcher Christian Garcia and OF Corey Brown.
Christian Garcia is a center piece of spring training that the Nats will watch. Garcia is fighting for a roster spot and working to determine his role, either as a starter or a reliever. In the Nats system, since coming in as a free agent from the New York Yankees, Garcia has been out of the bullpen. However, Davey Johnson has expressed an opinion that Garcia has starter stuff and should transition over to a starting role. Regardless, Garcia will do whatever it takes.
“I’m open to the idea as long as it’s playing in the big leagues,” Garcia said. “I’ll do whatever it takes to play in the big leagues. I got one taste of it last year, and there’s nothing like it. It was a dream of mine growing up. Being able to get to feel it and live it, it’s just a dream come true now. I don’t want anything but that.”
Amanda Comack at the Times provides some notes from yesterday.
Kyle Lohse provides an alternative for the Nats if Gio Gonzalez faces a MLB imposed suspension. However, we doubt that. The Joe Torre welcome of Gio to Team USA for the Winter Baseball Classic may be a sign that the MLB plans to take no action toward Gonzalez. One major problem for the Nats would be the price tag on the lefty.
Speaking of Winter Baseball Classic, Nats OF Roger Bernadina is excited to represent his home nation, the Netherlands.
Want to be a racing President at Nationals Park? They are looking for candidates.
Fox plans on giving the Nats some love this season.
Bryce Harper is taking on a new role.
Anthony Rendon took some big strides last seaosn at AA Harrisburg.
Some of the Nats big prospects were on hand and here are some notes regarding htem. First rounder Lucas Giolito is beginning to throw as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Sammy Solis had the same surgery last March and is well ahead. He has been throwing off the mound since October.
Here is Part Two of Luke Erickson's minor league system ptiching preview.
No clarification yet on where the Nationals spring trainign site will be located in the future. As we wrote a few dfays ago, the Nats brass is looking to move the Nats out of Viera because of proximity. Two leading candidate are Lee County and Fort Myers.