The Tommy Show on 94.7 Fresh FM are hosting a #Nats pep rally

Despite winter’s rude refusal to go away, real baseball is poised to start next week. In order to get everyone pumped up for the regular season, our friends at The Tommy Show on 94.7 Fresh FM are hosting a #Nats pep rally on Monday, March 26, and you (yes, you!) are invited! Continue reading

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Game #26 Only 3 regulars in the line-up; Ryan Zimmerman not in the cards

Photo by Craig Nedrow for TalkNats

Opening Day is a week from tomorrow, and Daniel Murphy finally told us what we already knew that he would not be on the roster as he nurses his knee back to health. Ryan Zimmerman will be on the roster, and here is your Ryan Zimmerman sighting in the photo above — only don’t expect Zim in today’s line-up. There are only three projected Opening Day starters in today’s line-up: Adam Eaton, Trea Turner, and Bryce Harper. Continue reading

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Tewksbury gives away many pitching secrets in his book, “Ninety Percent Mental”

Bob Tewksbury cover art

Starting pitcher turned mental skills coach Bob “Tewks” Tewksbury authored Ninety Percent Mental, which hits bookstores on March 20. Peppered with stories from his starts over his career and conversations he has had with players, the memoir details his life as a Major Leaguer, what it took for him to get to and stick in The Show, and how after retirement he became part of MLB’s growing movement towards focusing on the mental side of the game. If the title sounds familiar it is an homage back to Yogi Berra who said “Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical.”  We can debate the math. We can debate how important mental coaching is in today’s game. Continue reading

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Game #25 the Nationals play the Marlins in West Palm Beach

Jeremy Hellickson threw his first bullpen session on Saturday; Photo by Lee Heiman for Talknats

The Nationals will send Stephen Strasburg to the mound to face the Marlins’ rightie Odrisamer Despaigne. Yesterday the Nationals got smoked by these Marlins as they put up a 6-spot on Max Scherzer and tacked on 3 more against Shawn Kelley who gave up 2 home runs in one inning. Continue reading

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The Nationals offense is racking up the hits! Long and Dillon are new-age coaches!

Kevin Long with Daniel Murphy. Photo by Lee Heiman for TalkNats

When Kevin Long was hired as the Nationals new hitting coach, many of the Nats players were very much aware of who he was based on his reputation and what they had heard about Long through their teammate Daniel Murphy. There was reason to smile, but the players were trying to remain neutral about the hiring out of respect for the departed former hitting coach Rick Schu who was liked and respected during his tenure with the Nationals. Continue reading

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Game #24 Max Scherzer lined up for Cincy on March 29th

Photo by Lee Heiman for TalkNats

When Nationals manager Dave Martinez set up his rotation in south Florida, it became evident that Max Scherzer was going to pitch in the number one spot in the rotation followed by Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark and A.J. Cole. With the acquisition of Jeremy Hellickson, things could change in the 5th spot in the rotation. The way it is lined up now, Scherzer is set to pitch with no extra rest going into Opening Day on March 29th. Max is set to pitch today, next Saturday and then on the following Thursday in the season opener in Cincinnati on March 29th. Continue reading

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Jeremy Hellickson officially joins the #Nats…so, now what?

A.J. Cole was leading the way for the fifth starter spot. What’s his status now? (Photo by Laura Peebles for TalkNats)

The Washington Nationals were looking at a competition for the fifth starter job in their rotation that, quite frankly, wasn’t too appealing.

A.J. Cole spent years as a pitching prospect before finally graduating from prospect status last season. But while Cole put up respectable results when the Nats called on him last year, his 3.81 ERA wasn’t quite in line with his peripherals, and he didn’t do well at all during the bulk of his season in Triple-A. Publicly, general manager Mike Rizzo has been high on Cole, describing him before spring training as the team’s fifth starter though he backed off on that characterization just a little earlier this month:

“We’re going to run the best five starters we can out there, and if A.J. is that guy, he’ll be out there,” Rizzo said. “If he’s not, he’ll compete for a bullpen spot. I think that he may have the leg up, just because of the way he pitched last year down the stretch. He was a really good starting pitcher for us, and he’s a guy that we drafted, developed, signed, traded away, got him back and we think that his best days are ahead of him.”

Flash forward to St. Patrick’s Day weekend, with starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson making his arrival at major league spring training camp. Hellickson, a client of super-agent Scott Boras, was signed to a minor league deal that does not guarantee him a roster spot. He could debut later this week.

Hellickson cannonballs into a roster battle that was shaping up to be a two-way fight between Cole, who is out of options and a bit behind the rest of the Nats’ pitchers because of a stomach bug last weekend, and top prospect Erick Fedde, who does have options and has looked sharp this spring, albeit mostly pitching in long relief.

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Game #23 Nats head to Jupiter for another game with the Cardinals; A.J. Cole starts

Photo by John Caulfield for TalkNats

Today marks the last full week of Grapefruit League play as the Nationals head home one week from today after next Sunday’s game against the Cardinals. Time flies it seems kind of like the long-balls yesterday. The Nationals blasted three home runs including one by Adam Eaton in his second at-bat of the pre-season. Continue reading

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Game #22 The time is right for Adam Eaton, Michael Taylor, and Jeremy Hellickson #58 with some luck of the Irish!

Adam Eaton is ready! Photo by Jim Osborn for TalkNats

There will be a new face in the Washington Nationals camp today as Jeremy Hellickson joins the Nationals as a free agent signing on a Minor League deal, but the biggest news is there will be a new face in Dave Martinez‘s line-up as Adam Eaton makes his 2018 Grapefruit League debut on this St. Paddy’s Day. Also in this game, Michael Taylor returns to the starting line-up after he missed almost 2 weeks with a strained oblique. Continue reading

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Game #21 Gio takes on the Cardinals after a night of March Madness

Cardinals in West Palm Beach, Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

If you follow your favorite Nationals players on social media, you know many of them spent their evenings glued to their televisions watching the NCAA tournament as Sean Doolittle made an alternate bracket with Buffalo going all the way ahead of his Alma Mater — University of Virginia. This morning, it is back to work as the Cardinals will travel south like birds often do. These red birds will be bringing some big crowds with them today to the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. The Cardinals send their 29-year-old journeyman right-hander Miles Mikolas to the mound as the Nats have south Florida’s own Gio Gonzalez. Continue reading

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