Feb 19, 2014; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Craig Stammen (35) throws to first with Stephen Strasburg (37) up next on the mound in spring training action at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

District Daily: 3/14


Checkout some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web:

Now a reliever, Stammen finding ways to thrive

(Andrew Simon, MLB.com)

VIERA, Fla. — When the Nationals sent Craig Stammen to the bullpen before the 2012 season, he harbored concerns more significant than his role on the pitching staff. He felt his career was on the line.

“I think when it happened, it was pretty much my last chance with the Nationals,” said Stammen, who had spent parts of the previous three years with Washington. “So I couldn’t be that disappointed because I needed to pitch well. And if I didn’t pitch well, there was a good chance I was going to be in Triple-A for a long time. So it was kind of put-up-or-shut-up time.”

For the past two seasons, Stammen has “put up” and solidified his place in the big leagues. He’s done so by becoming something uncommon, yet valuable to a modern bullpen. Read full article here.

Washington Nationals: Has Danny Espinosa improved?

(Connor Jones, isportsweb)

Coming into camp, Danny Espinosa is the Washington Nationals player with the most to prove. As he competes for a spot on the roster, Espinosa knows this is his most important spring training as a big leaguer. So far Espinosa has played with extraordinary effort and has received nothing but praise from manager Matt Williams. However, Nationals’ management and fans only want to know one thing, has Espinosa improved enough with the bat to make an impact on a major league roster?

On the surface, Espinosa’s spring stats seem to describe a hitter who continuously struggles to pick up base hits. Williams, though, believes that a solid approach will lead to better numbers in the future compared to Espinosa’s 4 for 19 start. He struck out 189 times in 2012, and his failure to put the ball in play consistently led to his demotion to triple A Syracuse in the middle of last season.

Fortunately for the Nationals, Espinosa does not appear to be as K happy as he used to be. Read full article here.

Washington Nationals Have Newfound Aggression Under Matt Williams

(Brian Skinnell, Rant Sports)

When Matt Williams was signed to manage the Washington Nationals this past offseason, he spoke of taking a more aggressive approach offensively. As we’ve seen in Spring Training, Williams wasn’t kidding around when discussing that philosophy.

In 2013, the Nationals were simply one of the least aggressive teams when on base. You can’t call them the worst, they just weren’t aggressive. Collectively, the Nats reached base 1,904 times and had an on-base percentage of .313, tied for 12th-worst in MLB. When they had runners on base, they only attempted steals 113 times, but did convert on 88 of those tries.

Their conservative nature on the base paths certainly didn’t help in run scored, or lack thereof. Washington relied on stringing hits together to score runs, and that’s something they just couldn’t do. Read full article here.

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