Top Nationals News
Nationals' Victor Robles: Leaves Wednesday's game
Robles exited Wednesday's spring game against the Marlins after he was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the fifth inning, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports.
Robles took a pitch off his elbow guard during his third plate appearance Wednesday, and he was removed from the game after a conversation with trainers. While the 23-year-old may have been scheduled to leave the game anyway after playing five innings, his status is worth monitoring in the coming days.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Brad Hand: Looks good in BP session
Hand threw 25 pitches in a batting practice session Tuesday, Jessica Camerato of MLB.com reports. "He threw the ball really, really well. So he's getting close to getting in a game here soon," manager Dave Martinez said afterwards.
The southpaw was signed in the offseason to shore up the back of the Nationals' bullpen after being cut loose by Cleveland in October. Hand has recorded 103 saves over the last four seasons, and while Martinez has been seemingly reluctant so far to definitively state that the 30-year-old is his closer, there's currently no reason to think Hand has any serious competition for the role.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Stephen Strasburg: Set for sim game Wednesday
Strasburg (hand) will throw two innings in a simulated game Wednesday, and he could see his first Grapefruit League action of the year Monday, Jessica Camerato of MLB.com reports.
The right-hander is completing the final steps in his recovery from August surgery to address carpal tunnel neuritis, and barring any setbacks he appears on track to be ready for Opening Day. Strasburg has battled injuries throughout his career, but the last time he was able to stay healthy he struck out 251 batters over 209 innings in 2019 before leading the Nats to a World Series title, making him a volatile risk/reward option at the draft table.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Jon Lester: Set for minor surgery
Lester will have a thyroid gland removed and the team hopes he will be back pitching in a week, Matt Weyrich of NBC Sports Washington reports.
The Nationals have known this was an issue but Lester was awaiting further medical opinion before making the decision for surgery. It sounds like he could still have time to get ready for his first turn in the rotation, but Austin Voth and Erick Fedde would be options if Lester can't get up to speed in time for his first start.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Stephen Strasburg: Nearly ready for game action
Strasburg (hand) could pitch in a game as soon as this weekend, Maria Torres of The Athletic reports.
Strasburg underwent surgery on his right hand back in August to address carpal tunnel neuritis. He's been throwing since the start of camp, so while there's definitely some risk (as with any player coming off surgery), the procedure doesn't appear to have significantly hindered his preseason preparation. He's expected to get into a game a few days after Max Scherzer (ankle), who could pitch as soon as Friday.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Juan Soto: Slated to play Wednesday
Nationals manager Dave Martinez said Soto (foot) will play in Wednesday's Grapefruit League game against the Marlins, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports.
Soto was withheld from Monday's game against the Astros after fouling a ball off his right foot a day earlier, but his absence from the lineup was described as precautionary. The star outfielder cleared up any concern about his health by turning in a workout without incident Tuesday, prompting Martinez to sign off on his spring debut. Soto will likely only get one or two at-bats Wednesday before subbing out of the game.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Max Scherzer: Tracking toward Friday start
Scherzer (ankle) is lined up to start Friday against the Cardinals if his bullpen session Wednesday goes well, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports.
Scherzer came into camp carrying a left ankle sprain, though the Nationals have never seemed particularly worried about the issue. He's being brought along somewhat cautiously but still has plenty of time to get up to speed by the start of the season. The veteran has yet to throw a live batting practice session, but the team is comfortable throwing him right into game action as long as he checks out fine after his bullpen session.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Carter Kieboom: Hoping for LASIK boost
Kieboom underwent LASIK surgery over the offseason, which hitting coach Kevin Long said Tuesday is already having a noticeable effect, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports.
Kieboom clearly needed to do something, as he hasn't come close to delivering on his considerable prospect promise through his first 44 big-league games, hitting just .181/.309/.232. In addition to the eye procedure, he also tweaked his batting stance over the winter. It's certainly possible those two changes help him reach a new level this year, especially as he's still just 23 years old, though it's of course far from guaranteed that either change will have the desired effect on his stat line.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Juan Soto: Tending to minor foot injury
Nationals manager Dave Martinez said Soto won't be available for Monday's Grapefruit League game against the Astros after fouling a ball off his right foot during live batting practice Sunday, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports.
Soto was scheduled to make his spring debut Monday, but Martinez said the Nationals elected to proceed cautiously with the outfielder and hold him out after the batting-practice incident. At this time, Soto hasn't reported anything more than minor soreness with the foot, so the expectation is that he'll be ready to play after a few days off to recover. The injury shouldn't affect Soto's standing as a rock-solid first-round pick in fantasy drafts.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Max Scherzer: Could move to live BP soon
Scherzer (ankle) looked good in Friday's bullpen session and could be ready to throw live batting practice beginning this week, Thomas Harrigan of MLB.com reports.
"Max threw another bullpen [session] yesterday. He threw the ball really well," manager Dave Martinez said Saturday. "He's going to have a couple days off, and then we'll figure out if he wants to throw live BP or throw another bullpen. This was his day to recoup, get some treatment, and we'll go from there." The 36-year-old Scherzer appears on track to be ready for Opening Day.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Erick Fedde: Starting spring opener
Fedde will get the start in the Nationals' first Grapefruit League game Sunday, Jessica Camerato of MLB.com reports.
The right-hander is in the mix for the No. 5 starter job, although Joe Ross is considered the favorite to break camp in that spot. Fedde posted a career-best 4.29 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in 50.1 innings last season, but his 28:22 K:BB was lackluster as he relied on weak contact and groundballs to generate outs. The 28-year-old's best fit on the staff might be in long relief.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Brad Hand: May not be locked in as closer
Hand appears to be the Nationals' closer but may not be fully locked into the job, with manager Dave Martinez merely saying Friday, "In a perfect world, he'll be our closer," Matt Weyrich of NBC Sports Washington reports.
It's possible all it takes to qualify as a "perfect world" in Martinez's mind is that Hand remains healthy this spring, something that shouldn't be too difficult given that he hasn't hit the injured list since 2014. If that's all the manager meant, there's little reason to worry here, but it's nevertheless strange to see Hand given less than a full endorsement. He sure looks like the closer after saving 103 games over the last four years while posting a 2.61 ERA, so there's probably not much reason to worry unless the Nationals continue to refer to him in somewhat ambiguous terms.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Jefry Rodriguez: Shifting to relief role
Rodriguez is now considered a reliever, Matt Weyrich of NBC Sports Washington reports.
Rodriguez has made 16 starts and 12 relief appearances thus far in his career. He's fared far better out of the 'pen, albeit in just 16.1 innings of work, as his 2.76 ERA in that role comes in at less than half of his 5.68 ERA as a starter. It's possible the transition helps him reach a new level, as he could shelve his largely ineffective changeup if he doesn't have to worry about facing hitters multiple times. Rodriguez is merely in camp as a non-roster invitee however, so he's seemingly a long shot to break camp with the team in any role.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Gerardo Parra: Recovering from knee surgery
Parra underwent knee surgery late in the autumn and is currently working at about 70-to-80 percent, Matt Weyrich of NBC Sports Washington reports.
The 33-year-old expects to be ready for Opening Day, but he's got some work to do before being fully healthy. Parra spent last season in Japan and rejoined the Nationals as a non-roster invitee, so any limitations in spring training will affect his standing as he competes for a roster spot.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Javy Guerra: Tosses bullpen session
Guerra (hamstring) threw a bullpen session Friday, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports.
Guerra missed the final month of last season with a hamstring strain. He faced a slight delay to start camp this year due to the birth of his second child, but he's since arrived and is going through a normal throwing progression, so the hamstring issue doesn't seem to be lingering.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Kyle Schwarber: Making adjustments at plate
Schwarber has worked this offseason to adjust his batting stance in an effort to better handle balls low in the zone, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports.
In college, Schwarber had more of a pronounced squat to his stance, but in the majors he's gradually straightened up to deal with high heat. After signing with the Nats in January, he met up with hitting coach Kevin Long and worked on a swing that attempted to balance the two approaches while also staying back a touch longer. Schwarber's power has never been in question, but an improved ability to make hard contact on the edges of the strike zone could get his batting average back into a palatable range without sacrificing home runs.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Sam Clay: In mix for bullpen spot
Clay has made a good first impression on Nationals manager Dave Martinez as he competes for a spot in the bullpen, Jessica Camerato of MLB.com reports. "He threw today, and he looked really good," Martinez said Wednesday. "He throws a heavy ball. We like him because he [induces] a lot of groundballs. It's got a good mix of pitches, so we're going to keep a close eye on him."
The 27-year-old has yet to make his big-league debut after coming up through the Twins organization, but Clay signed a major-league deal with Washington in the offseason, and the only left-hander currently locked into a bullpen job is closer Brad Hand. Before spending all of 2020 at Minnesota's alternate training site, Clay posted a 3.25 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 72:28 K:BB across 69.1 innings between Double-A and Triple-A without allowing a home run. If he does break camp on the big-league roster, he would likely work in middle relief.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Victor Robles: Slimmed down in offseason
Robles has taken off some of the weight he'd added prior to the 2020 season, Jessica Camerato of MLB.com reports.
The center fielder added about 15 pounds of muscle to his frame ahead of last season in an effort to add more power to his offensive profile, but the result was a loss of agility and speed instead. Robles has also tweaked his swing to create a shorter path to the baseball as he looks to improve on 2020's .220/.293/.315 slash line and career-high 28.0 percent strikeout rate. If the 23-year-old can at least return to his 2019 level of production, he could prove to be something of a bargain at the draft table.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Carter Kieboom: Works on hitting mechanics
Kieboom made some tweaks to his batting stance in the offseason, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports.
Working with trainer Jay Hood, the 23-year-old noticed on video that his hands were lower and closer to his body in his stance compared to his best minor-league seasons. "The feeling I had wasn't free, you could say," Kieboom said Wednesday. "It wasn't this loose, free feeling at the plate. It felt very tied up at times, and that's not a feeling I used to have, that I've ever had until really last year." Kieboom hasn't had any kind of success in the majors yet in his brief career, but the Nats still believe he can emerge as a reliable offensive threat at the hot corner. If he struggles again out of the gate in 2021, however, the front office may have little choice but to consider other alternatives at third base.... See More ... See Less
Nationals' Max Scherzer: Turns in another bullpen session
Nationals skipper Dave Martinez said that Scherzer (ankle) completed a 40-pitch bullpen session Wednesday, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports.
The side session was the second in as many days for Scherzer, who looks to be nearing the finish line in his recovery from the left ankle sprain he picked up during an offseason workout earlier this month. Scherzer estimated Wednesday that he was at about 80-to-85 percent health, the same gauge he provided for his condition over the weekend. He'll likely throw another bullpen session later this week before facing hitters in live batting practice, after which he should be closer to 100 percent.... See More ... See Less
2020 Team Statistical Rankings
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