Mar 8, 2014; Jupiter, FL, USA; Washington Nationals second basemanMike Fontenot
(18) bats against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. The game ended in a 4-4 tie after 10 innings. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
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Ward wastes no time impressing Nationals
VIERA, Fla. — Drew Ward‘s professional baseball career is off to a good start and the Nationals are expecting bigger things from him in the future.
A third-round pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, the left-handed hitting Ward had a .292 batting average with a home run, 28 RBIs and a .402 on-base percentage for the Gulf Coast Nationals last year. It prompted MLB.com to rank Ward as the 13th best prospect in the Nationals’ farm system.
What has impressed assistant general manager Doug Harris about Ward? His plate discipline. Before Ward was drafted, there were scouts, according to published reports, who questioned his skills because the competition was considered weak while he attended Leedey High School in Oklahoma.
“[Ward] did something that was difficult to do,” Harris said. “He came in and performed at a high level, but how he did it was as impressive as the results. One thing he did exceptionally well for a young player was his recognition and control of the strike zone. Coming from a … small school, that doesn’t happen every day. He showed a great deal of maturity offensively.” Read full article here.
Mark Weidemaier, new Washington Nationals coach, is awake to all of baseball’s possibilities
VIERA, Fla. — Just after 8 a.m., the Washington Nationals begin to trickle into their spring training clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium. The fresh sheen has long worn off spring training, which began three weeks ago for some.
But for one 59-year-old in a sleeveless red Nationals shirt, the day is already in full swing.Mark Weidemaier has been awake since 3:45 a.m. and at the stadium since 5. He has worked on scouting reports and gone over the day’s detailed schedule of drills down to the minute. And while seated in the clubhouse one recent morning he announced — loudly — the arrival of each player.
“Comin’ in hot,” Weidemaier booms, repeating his catchphrase after each entrance.
A baseball lifer, Weidemaier is a major league coach in the dugout for the first time in his career, and he’s not about to waste a minute of it being quiet — or sleeping.
“I’m pretty sure he has an IV of Red Bull at night,” reliever Tyler Clippard said. “I’m not sure. He wakes up in the morning at 4 a.m. and is just nonstop until he goes to bed again.”
Matt Williams worked closely with Weidemaier when both were with the Arizona Diamondbacks and grew to trust him. When Williams was named manager of the Nationals he brought Weidemaier with him to fill a new position: defensive coordinator/advance coach. Read full article here.
Nationals remain unconcerned about Doug Fister’s inflamed elbow
Nationals starter Doug Fister continues to receive treatment for his inflamed right elbow, which began causing discomfort following his first spring starter last Sunday. Fister had spent a lot of time in the Nationals training room and, according to Manager Matt Williams, is taking ant-inflammatory medicine and icing his elbow.
But again, Williams said the Nationals remain unconcerned. Fister underwent an MRI on Thursday, which showed the inflammation but , according to General Manager Mike Rizzo, showed no structural damage.
“The results were great,” Williams said. “No structural issues. It’s inflammation and we’ve got to get it out. It’s good news but we have to shut him down for a few days.” Read full article here.