Nationals News: Yunel Escobar’s transition to second ahead of schedule

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Good morning DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily! As the winter that never ends continues to pound D.C. with snow, the Nationals have reached yet another milestone in their preparations for the 2015 season as Grapefruit League action officially kicks off today.

The Nationals will take on the Mets in their Grapefruit League opener at 5 p.m. ET, when Max Scherzer faces off against the Mets’ Bartolo Colon. The game will not be televised, but be sure to check back here shortly after the game for a recap of everything that happened in the team’s first exhibition game of 2015.

In today’s Daily, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson discusses new Nationals infielder Yunel Escobar, who is in the process of transitioning to second base after spending most of his career at shortstop. According to Ladson, Escobar’s transition to second is going smoothly and quicker than expected.

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While Escobar probably isn’t the ideal option at second base, he’s the best option the Nationals have at the position and could be a key player for the ball club if he is able to adjust to his new position and make solid contributions with the bat. Whether or not he can accomplish all of that remains to be seen, but the fact that his transition is ahead of schedule is certainly a good sign for the Nationals.

Also in today’s Daily, MLB.com’s Jamal Collier discusses MLB’s new pace-of-play rules, which will be in effect for this afternoon’s Grapefruit League opener. While the new rules are pretty drastic, manager Matt Williams says he isn’t too concerned about them and expects them to become second nature after players get used to them.

Be sure to check out both of these articles below, and stay tuned to DoD for all your Nationals needs as Spring training roars on.

Escobar’s transition to second ahead of schedule

(Bill Ladson, MLB.com)

VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals have nothing but good things to say about Yunel Escobar. After the team acquired him from the Athletics in January, Escobar was informed that he would switch from shortstop to second base, a position he hasn’t played since 2007.

Since he arrived in camp, Escobar has worked hard to get comfortable at his new position. After he takes batting practice with the team, Escobar goes back to Space Coast Stadium for extra work around the bag. There are days he wants to get used to playing with his new double-play partner, Ian Desmond. Escobar gets used to the double-play feeds from Desmond and vice versa. There are other days Escobar wants to improve his footwork around the bag. Read full article here.

Williams says new rules will become second nature

(Jamal Collier, MLB.com)

VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals will have their first experience with Major League Baseball’s new pace-of-play rules during Thursday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Mets.

Manager Matt Williams met with MLB officials earlier this week to discuss specifics on the new rules, which include hitters having to keep one foot in the batter’s box between pitches, and a clock to limit time between innings.

“Everybody’s got their own feeling,” Williams said. “Our thought is, well, it is what it is. We can talk about it all we want, but we’re still going to have to do it, so we might as well just do it. Might as well just go play the game and not let that rent space in our brain.” Read full article here.

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