The Washington Nationals traded for Wily Mo Pena, Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge to add power to what has been one of the League's worst offenses the last few seasons, and in the first game of Spring Training, each of the the three came through with doubles, and former Atlanta Braves' utility infielder Pete Orr singled in the tying run in the bottom of the ninth, as the Nationals and Florida Marlins settled for a 3-3 draw in the first game of Grapefruit League action for each team in 2008.
Nationals' lefty Matt Chico worked two scoreless allowing a hit and a walk with two K's. Garrett Mock gave up one unearned run over two innings on the mound, before veteran pitcher Rob Bell gave up two runs to the Marlins on Mike Jacobs' first home run of the Spring, a two-run blast in the sixth.
The Nationals' bullpen then took over with Joel Hanrahan, Chris Schroder and former Phillies' reliever Brian Sanches combining for three scoreless with 3 K's for Schroder and two for Hanrahan and only one walk from the relief staff, while the Nationals as a team strike out 11 and walk just 2, holding the Marlins to six hits on the night.
Lastings Milledge provided most of the offense for the Nationals, going 2 for 3 with a single, a double, two runs scored and two steals, scoring, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro's game recap entitled, "Nats play to tie with Marlins in opener", when:
"In the fourth inning, Lastings Milledge singled, stole second and scored on Alex Escobar's sacrifice fly...(and)...Milledge added a double in the sixth inning and scored on (Wily Mo) Pena's double."
Nick Johnson was hitless in his first appearance since 2006, but the fact that he took the field at all is reason to celebrate, as Johnson finally enjoys the return on all the work he has put into rehabilitating his broken right leg. Josh Whitesell replaced Johnson at first and went 1 for 2 with a run scored.
Washington plays an exhibition game against Georgetown University tomorrow morning at 11:30 am before facing Florida again on Friday at the Nationals' home, Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida.