Mar 21, 2014; Jupiter, FL, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa (8) signs autographs before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

District Daily: Nats News 3/23

Checkout some great reads from our fellow Washington Nationals writers:

Espinosa’s hard work starting to pay off

(Andrew Simon, MLB.com)

VIERA, Fla. — All spring, Nationals manager Matt Williams and his staff had complimented Danny Espinosa’s approach at the plate, even though it wasn’t producing positive results on the stat sheet. On Saturday, the numbers finally matched what the coaches have been seeing.

After flying out in his first two plate appearances, Espinosa homered in his last two, including a walk-off shot off the Marlins’ Chaz Roe in the ninth inning that gave the Nats a 6-5 win. Both homers came left-handed, traditionally the weaker side of the plate for the switch-hitting Espinosa.

“We can tell him all day long he’s right on, he’s right where he needs to be,” Williams said. “But it helps when they fall in — or over.” Read full article here.

Span looks to hit ground running when season starts

(Andrew Simon, MLB.com)

VIERA, Fla. — In his first year with the Nationals, it took leadoff man Denard Span until the second half of the season to find his way at the plate.

This year, Span is more comfortable in his surroundings and is hoping to hit the ground running much earlier at the plate.

“My timing’s getting better each day, pitch recognition is getting better each day,” Span said before Saturday’s game against the Marlins. “I feel like I’m very, very close to where I need to be.” Read full article here.

Stephen Strasburg takes new approach, perspective into Nationals’ 2014 season

(Adam Kilgore, Washington Post)

VIERA, FLA. — Baseball mattered too much to Stephen Strasburg. He suspects he always knew that, but until this winter he never confessed to himself. He shared the conclusion last week without hesi­ta­tion and with an unbridled smile, as he sat at his locker inside theWashington Nationals’ spring training clubhouse. The grin surfaced once Strasburg talked about his baby daughter, 5 months old, happy and healthy and growing like a weed.

“I would never admit it,” Strasburg said. “But now that I’ve had something that’s more important, and the priority of being a good dad is more important to me, I think looking back, maybe I did put a little too much emphasis on baseball. Maybe it wasn’t my only thing I was worried about. But it was definitely higher up there than I thought it was.”

One week from Monday, on opening day,Strasburg will climb the mound at Citi Field in New York. He will carry with him a carefully revamped approach to the in-season preservation of his right arm, an elbow no longer stifled by a pair of bone chips and, most significantly, an altered perspective. Read full article here.

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