Aug 28, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20) rounds third base on his way to scoring a run in the second inning against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals: News and Links 2/12

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As exciting as free agent signings and offseason trades can be, the winter can still be painfully long for baseball fans. If it’s this painful for those of us who watch the game on TV, imagine how hard it must be for the guys who actually play the game for a living. Fortunately for everyone, the wait is almost over, as pitchers and catchers report to camp tomorrow.

Position players do not report until Feb. 18, but that did not stop one of the most hard-working and determined players on the team from arriving in Viera a week early.

Not only did Ian Desmond show up early, but he got to work immediately, working on infield drills with his new manager Matt Williams.

Desmond isn’t the only one who arrived to camp a few days early, as pitchers Jordan Zimmermann, Taylor Jordan, Ross Detwiler, Tanner Roark, Craig Stammen and catcher Jhonatan Solano were all in Viera on Tuesday.

“Some of them have thrown multiple bullpens already. They are going to be ready for the opening day of camp,” manager Matt Williams told MLB.com. “Everybody is eager to get here and get started. Anybody that has been on the East Coast has certainly experienced a terrible winter. That’s part of it. You want to get out of that weather right now, but most of all, they are eager to get to camp.”

Clearly, Spring Training is right around the corner, and the regular season is coming right behind it. While news has been slow (as it usually is at the tail end of the offseason), we did find out about an offseason injury suffered by one of the team’s young pitchers, Taylor Jordan. Jordan hurt his ankle in a freak accident getting out of a pool early on in the offseason and was in a cast for a month. While ankle injuries can sometimes be problematic for pitchers, Jordan insists he’s healthy and ready to go for 2014.

“My foot came out from under when I took a step. I sat on it and broke it,” Jordan told MLB.com’s Bill Ladson. “This offseason was the worst one in my life. So it was very hard, considering I had to stay in shape. I had to watch my diet so I didn’t lose too much [weight]. Right now, I’m actually a little skinnier than I want to be. I’m strong, but I want more muscle. I feel pretty decent right now, I was worried that I wasn’t going to have enough time to get into the shape that I wanted to be.”

While Jordan is confident that he will be ready to go when pitchers and catchers report tomorrow, Williams won’t be taking any chances with one of the team’s rising stars.

“He looks fine. We have to make sure that his ankle is 100 percent, because going into Spring Training, we want him to feel right,” Williams said. “We certainly don’t want the ankle affecting his arm. Right now, he feels good. We’ll monitor him as he goes through the drills. If your ankle is sore, it can affect everything. We will monitor him closely.”

Jordan will be one of the many things to keep an eye on during Spring Training and we’ll make sure to provide you with all the coverage you need here at District on Deck. We will be continuing our National League player rankings series with Nationals’ second baseman Anthony Rendon later today, so stay tuned!

It’s been a long five and a half months for Nationals fans, but the wait will be over very soon. And while the nation’s capital is expected to be pounded with snow tonight and tomorrow, know that the promising 2014 season starts in less than 24 hours. It might seem hard to believe when you look out your window, but Nationals baseball starts tomorrow. And I think I speak for everyone when I say: it’s about time.

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