Feb 19, 2014; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; A general view of ball bags on the field befor spring training action at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

District Daily: 2/26


Checkout some great reads from our fellow Washington Nationals writers:

With talent in place, Nats should make postseason run

(Mike Bauman, MLB.com)

VIERA, Fla. — Which team will the 2014 Washington Nationals be?

The options for answering that question are strikingly different, just as the Nats were strikingly different in 2013 than they were in 2012.

In 2012 they were the best regular-season team in the Majors with a 98-64 record. They led the National League in team earned run average and were fifth in runs scored. A core of brilliant young pitchers offered the promise of a long run of success for this club.

Going into 2013, the Nationals thought, with apparent justification, that the World Series was a reasonable goal. What happened instead was an 86-76 season that left them 10 games behind Atlanta in the NL East and out of the postseason. They dropped to sixth in team ERA in the NL and sixth in runs scored.

Now what? The Nationals should be better than they were in 2013. They should be better if players perform to their career norms and if good health is the order of the day. On the surface, the very least that should be expected is a season in which they are constant, viable contenders for a postseason berth. Read full article here.

 

Ryan Zimmerman works out at first base for the first time

(James Wagner, Washington Post)

Over the winter, at the request of Manager Matt Williams, Ryan Zimmerman arranged for a first baseman’s glove to meet him at Viera. He knew, as part of a potential small platoon at the base during the season, would get some work across the diamond during spring training. Finally, early Tuesday morning before scheduled team workouts, Zimmerman stood at first base, along with Tyler Moore and Adam LaRoche, and took part in a drill run by Williams. The manager threw them balls in the dirt to simulate scooping bouncing throws. It was the first time this spring that Zimmerman did work at the position.

“It felt good,” Zimmerman said, in his typically mellow manner. Added Williams: ”He’s really good. He’s got great hands, man. He’s really good at it. He’s one of those unique guys that has great hands.”

Zimmerman, who has played 1,110 of his 1,111 major league games in field at third base, brushed off the notion that it might be difficult for a career third baseman to play across the diamond. Read full article here.

Harper will remain in left field for now

(Mark Zuckerman, Comcast Sportsnet)

VIERA, Fla. — Despite his relative lack of experience, Bryce Harper has already seen considerable playing time at all three outfield spots with the Nationals. In 253 total games since reaching the majors in 2012, he has spent 39 percent of his time in left field, 36 percent of his time in center field and 25 percent of his time in right field.

That’s an awfully even split across all three positions, a rarity for any big-league outfielder, let alone a budding superstar who only 3 1/2 years ago still considered himself a catcher.

And it’s something Matt Williams would like to avoid this season and down the road.

The new Nationals manager said Monday he plans to play Harper in left field and keep him there all year, barring any unforeseen developments. Read full article here.

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