District Daily: Washington Nationals News 3/26


Mar 24, 2014; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins first baseman

Garrett Jones

(46) forces out Washington Nationals infielder

Jamey Carroll

(1) at first base during their game at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Checkout some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web:

Nationals’ Opening Day roster settling into shape

(Andrew Simon, MLB.com)

VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals took several steps toward settling their Opening Day roster on Tuesday, but the process remains incomplete going into the club’s final two days of Spring Training.

The Nats released left-handed reliever Michael Gonzalez before the game against the Mets, and did the same afterward with right-hander Chris Young and infielder Jamey Carroll. They also optioned lefty Xavier Cedeno, righty Ryan Mattheus and first baseman Tyler Moore to Triple-A Syracuse.

Meanwhile, the club informed rookie right-hander Aaron Barrett that he will make the big league bullpen. Infielder/outfielder Jeff Kobernus and catcher Sandy Leon are the final two options for the last bench spot; Taylor Jordan and Tanner Roark remain as fifth-starter candidates. Read full article here.

Werth: Opening Day is ‘like a holiday’

(Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals)

My favorite Opening Day was in Toronto in 2003. Blue Jays vs. the Yankees. I started the year on the disabled list because of a wrist injury. I wasn’t on the DL long, but I was able to stay with the team. It was Roger Clemens vs. Roy Halladay at the Skydome.

If you remember, the year before, Josh Phelps was called up, and he was a DH/catcher. So Phelps hits two homers off “The Rocket.” So here we are — Opening Day — and Phelps is hitting fifth, and we are in a packed house in the Skydome.

It’s the bottom of the first inning, two outs, it’s first and second, and Phelps comes to the plate. The first pitch is a 95-mph fastball right at Phelps’ ribs. That was the first time Clemens got a chance to face Phelps since he hit two homers off him. That loaded the bases — Opening Day. Clemens then threw three straight splits to strike out Eric Hinske and get out of the inning. Read full article here.

Strasburg much more comfortable with slider

(Andrew Simon, MLB.com)

VIERA, Fla. — Right-hander Stephen Strasburg came into Spring Training wanting to develop his new pitch — a slider — and work on controlling opposing baserunners out of the stretch. After making his fifth and final Grapefruit League start on Tuesday afternoon against the Mets, he feels more comfortable on both counts.

When the 25-year-old takes the mound against the Mets again for Opening Day on March 31 at Citi Field, he expects to bring the slider with him from Florida. He isn’t getting rid of his fastball, changeup or curveball, but he believes he can throw the slider in any situation.

“I think it was a natural pitch that I think could really help my game,” he said. “Just based on what guys were doing off me in years past, it’s kind of an equalizer. They can’t really sell out on a single pitch anymore.” Read full article here.

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