Washington Nationals: Spring Training 2010 - Yahoo!Sports' Big League Stew Invades Viera.

• Yahoo!Sports.com's Big League Stew (@bigleaguestew) was in Viera, Florida yesterday in Space Coast Stadium, the Washington Nationals' Spring Training home, with 'Duk (aka Kevin Haduk) writing up a report entitled, "Spring Snapshot: Nationals look to move past losing ways", which continues a series of articles on the the BLS crew's tour of Spring Training venues in Florida and Arizona. In the article, 'Duk predicts, "...a win total in the low 70s," for the twenty-ten Nationals, whose GM, "Mike 'Don't Call Me Jim Bowden' Rizzo" got a bargain in free agent pitcher Chien-Ming Wang and a mentor in veteran catcher Pudge Rodriguez, while their manager, Jim Riggleman, could easily, "beat your favorite manager up." For the record, 'Duk's predicting a, "June or July callup," for the Nationals' '09 no.1 overall pick, Stephen Strasburg"...that will draw Matt Wieters-type hype." But it's not Strasburg that gets the feature piece from Big League Stew's visit to Viera, it's another young starter who caught the attention of the BLS crew and stole the spotlight away from the Nationals' future ace...

• "'Stache-stastic! Collin Balester wins offseason facial hair contest." - by 'Duk

Collin Balester(@ballystar40) the Washington Nationals' 23-year-old right-handed former '04 4th Round pick (by the Expos actually), caught Duk's attention with his increasingly impressive hair-lip, which Balester began growing, he tells the Yahoo!Sports.com writer, after "...betting Twins prospect Anthony Slama $500 that he could wear a mustache for a longer period of time." Balester, (1-4, 6.82 ERA, 62 ERA+, 7.45 FIP) in 2009 with Washington, is considered a long-shot to make the 2010 starting rotation. At (18-16) with a 4.24 ERA, 3.1 BB/9, 6.7 K/9 and 0.8 HR/9 allowed over 237.2 IP in 3 seasons with the Nationals' Triple-A affiliates, however, it's getting close to the point where he's going to have to be given the chance to sink or swim at the major league-level. 

(ed. note - "The last we heard about Balester's chances this Spring was when Federal Baseball.com's Australian correspondent asked MLB.com's Bill Ladson whether or not Collin Balester had a chance to make the Nationals' 2010 rotation. Mr. Ladson responded (via his Twitter account, @washingnats), that, "There is no question, the rotation is open for #Nats RHP Collin Balester. He must have a great Spring Training to make the team." Other than that, all the talk this Spring is aboot Balester's stache...")

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