The Washington Nationals will get Joe Ross on the Spring Training mound for the first time in 2021. Last year, Ross opted-out due to COVID concerns. He will be eased back into the 2021 season, and with Stephen Strasburg scheduled to pitch tomorrow, the Nats just need to get Jon Lester back on the mound. It might be a while for Lester who is recovering from his surgery last week to remove his thyroid gland.
The Mets send the Hawaiian born, Jordan Yamamoto, to the mound to face what could be the Nats starting lineup on Opening Day against these Mets. If Max Scherzer pitches, it very well could be Alex Avila behind the plate. There will not be a DH in that game, and expect Josh Bell to start at first base instead of as the DH as he is in this game.
Today was a day that general manager spoke to the media. The big news is that Rizzo got the go-ahead from ownership to make new long-term offers to both Juan Soto and Trea Turner. As Rizzo has said many times in the past, “it takes two to tango.” That means the other side has to want the deal, and that is an important factor in making an offer that it might not be accepted. This will be something to keep an eye on in the next week.
“We’ve discussed internally with ownership about it,” Rizzo said. “We’re in the midst of making decisions on what a timeframe would look like … We certainly have made [offers last year], and will make a long-term extension offer to both players sometime in the near future.”
Also, Rizzo announced that the team will again set up an Alternate Training site for a maximum of 28 players (per MLB) in Fredericksburg, Virginia, just like the team did last year.
Rizzo also re-upped on his statement yesterday that Jeremy Jeffress was released for “personnel reasons” and he added that it was “an employment issue” and was not related to any on-field performance.
“We’re just going to stand by the statement I made yesterday: It’s a personnel matter,” Rizzo said. “We’re not going to discuss it any further, per our policy on personnel matters, and we’re just going to keep it at that.”
One other comment was about the team getting creative about piggybacking long-relievers who can ease the starting pitchers into the innings early in the season, and hinted that a 9-man bullpen was a possibility. That would leave the Nats with a 4-man bench which they have done before.
The teams have no scheduled TV or radio today.
New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Ballpark of the Palm Beaches; West Palm Beach, Florida
1st Pitch: 1:05 pm EDT
Line-up subject to change (without notice):
Joe Ross RHP