The last practice before Spring Training games begin for the #Nats

Feb. 22, 2018

Today was the last practice day before Spring Training games begin. It was also “Photo Day” in West Palm Beach: everyone looking spiffy in their whites. Doo (Sean Doolittle) always comes out with his cap askew—wonder if his photo will show that?

Yes, guys, it’s bright out here.

I hope Ryan tucked in for his photo!

Dinger Bats had a table outside the clubhouse.  Didn’t see anyone stop.

Players and coaches come down the path to the back fields.  Yes, that’s Spin Williams 0. That’s the Higgs boson for the particle scientists among us.

And that’s Randy Knorr.  We spotted a lot of the minor league coaches today.  With two coaches hitting the grounders, plus coaches to observe and direct the drills on four fields, it was all hands on deck.

As it has been every day, the pitchers do stretching and “dancing practice” before long toss.  As they were standing in their discussion group before the practice, listening to an exhortation from the coaches, I noticed that Gio’s height should be listed as 6’ . . . minus 2”.

No live pitching today, and the drills were pretty much over by noon.  Among the drills on four different fields were infield fielding and throwing drills, batting practice with the coaches pitching, pick-off and rundown drills (hey, Bob Henley can run pretty good for a zombie!).

The prospects were hanging together. Manager Dave Martinez watched the batting practice with Andrew Stevenson, Rafael Bautista, and Victor Robles. Mostly he just watched, but he did chat with Stevenson a bit. Maybe it was having the boss watching, but all of them hit a few balls “out” (meaning against the screen that keeps the cars on Military Trail from losing their windshields). Bautista hit one that was 2/3 of the way up the screen in left-center:  in Nationals Park it would have been on the concourse.  Robles managed three “screen balls” in a row.  When they were shagging in the outfield for the next group of hitters, both Robles and Stevenson went all out for a few balls (again, a little showing off?)

Official Wilmer Difo sighting!

And here’s Mr. “officially I’m a catcher” Spencer Kieboom taking grounders at first under the close eye of Tim Bogar.  Matt Adams was also out there with Tim, working after all the other players had gone in.

Tomorrow is the day!

Tomorrow marks the first day of Spring Training games and Opening Day of course is just thirty-five days away.

*Cover photo of Trea Turner by Paul Kim at Photo Day.
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