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Montreal Expos

Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman: Working to improve launch angle
by RotoWire Staff | Special to CBSSports.com

Zimmerman has been working with Daniel Murphy and hitting coach Rich Schu to change the launch angle of his swing, The Washington Post reports.

The 32-year-old first baseman could end up being a poster child for the use of newer stats like exit velocity and launch angle if he can find a way to elevate the ball more in 2017. Zimmerman produced the worst OPS of his career last season due to his inability to get consistent loft when he made contact, but his elite exit velocity suggested he's still got the juice in his bat to do some damage if he can make the necessary adjustments. Murphy turned his career around a couple of years ago by changing his launch angle, and the Nats are hoping he can pass on his secrets to Zimmerman. Even so, he's got a lot to prove this year, so the veteran remains an endgame dart in most fantasy formats rather than a player you can rely on to contribute.

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Nationals' Jayson Werth: Fully healthy headed into 2017
by RotoWire Staff | Special to CBSSports.com

Werth reported to camp fully healthy this year, The Washington Post reports.

This qualifies as good news for the oft-injured 37-year-old, who ended the 2016 season dealing with nagging back problems. Werth is headed into the final year of his contract with the Nationals and is set as the team's Opening Day left fielder, but he's only managed to take 500 at-bats twice in the last five years, so even repeating last season's 21 home runs could be a challenge.

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Nationals' Adam Lind: Too pull-happy in 2016
by RotoWire Staff | Special to CBSSports.com

Lind says his struggles at the plate last season came from stubbornly trying to pull the ball through infield shifts rather than going the other way, The Washington Post reports. "He said he's gotten a little pull happy, so perhaps we can get him back to the center of the field, the big part of the ballpark," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said Friday.

While Lind did pop 20 or more home runs in 2016 for the sixth time in his career, he also slashed .239/.286/.431 while pulling the ball 39.5 percent of the time, a far cry from his 2014 performance, when he hit .321/.381/.479 with a pull rate of just 31.4 percent. Ryan Zimmerman remains the Nats' starter at first base, but his own health issues and declining offense make him far from a sure thing. If Lind can get back to his 2014 form at the plate, he could force his way into a much larger role.

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Nationals' Max Scherzer: Throwing on flat ground
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Scherzer (knuckle) threw on flat ground Friday after being able to play catch Thursday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports.

He continues to work out now that the stress fracture in the knuckle of his right finger has healed. Scherzer is typically one of the first starting pitchers drafted in early fantasy mocks, but this condition is worth watching as close to draft day as possible. As long as he isn't set to miss much or any time after Opening Day, he'll remain one of the best starting pitchers to own, though any indication of a delay may nip his value slightly.

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Nationals' Max Scherzer: May not be ready for Opening Day
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Scherzer (knuckle) would not commit to being ready for Opening Day, the Washington Post's Chelsea Janes reports.

The stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger is healed, but he is still experiencing symptoms. Scherzer played catch Thursday and has already been throwing tennis and lacrosse balls this winter, but only moved up to throwing a baseball this week. Cautious owners may want to downgrade the Nationals' ace ever so slightly until we get a more positive report on his status for the start of the season.

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