Wire Taps: Washington Nationals In St. Louis To Face Cards, Minor League Updates.

• Programming Note: John Lannan vs Jake Westbrook. Ian Desmond vs Miss Iowa. Tony LaRussa vs Jim Riggleman. In case you missed out on the fun this Spring, I'll post an update on the rivalry between the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals, which was revisited during Grapefruit League action, later this afternoon. Tonight in St. Louis, the Cardinals welcome the Nats to Busch Stadium for the first of a three games series. 8:15 pm EDT start time tonight, and according to the Nationals' official site it'll be on MASN 2 HD, 106.7 the FAN in DC and WFED 1500 AM. Sirius/XM ch. 186 for subscribers. Who's Watching the Nationals?

• LINKS AND LINKS AND...

• NATS BEAT: 

• "...Nationals want to give Rodriguez more time to harness his delivery and are in no hurry, aside from adhering to his time limit, to bring him to Washington." - "Nationals not rushing Henry Rodriguez" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'Right-handed, it's easier for me, because if my timing's off a little bit, my top hand is going to be there,'" - Danny Espinosa"Danny Espinosa growing from the left side of the plate" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• Q: Any news on left-hander Oliver Perez? A: He is still in extended spring camp, working with pitching coordinator Spin Williams. There isn't a timetable on when Perez will pitch in a Minor League game." - "Nationals Inbox: Should Espinosa remain in leadoff spot?" Bill Ladson, MLB.com

• "'Bally is starting to grow up,' McCatty said. 'I have been around him for three, four, five or six years. A lot of times I told him, 'my kids are more mature than you are.' He knows it.'" - "McCatty: Balester 'has grown up'"- Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Pitching has been key, yet the Nats have found ways to score without much from Werth or their franchise player, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman..." - "SNYDER: Nats' start same as last year but with different feel" - Deron Snyder, Washington Times

• "'I’ve seen a lot of guys pitch good in April,' one Nationals official said. 'Once they start getting guys out in July, then I’ll be impressed.'" - "Washington Nationals’ pitching rotation is surpassing expectations" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "Spend a few minutes with Danny Espinosa, though, and it's quickly apparent very little intimidates this guy." - "A rookie in name only" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "...xFIP is a wonderful tool but can also be tricky in regard to this particular rotation. Both Livan Hernandez and John Lannan have long defied the formula..." - "Will the Nationals’ rotation keep this up?" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• Twitter: Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen): "Rizzo on Espinosa/Desmond as leadoff hitter: 'We feel that both of guys are going to have the opportunity to hit at the top of the lineup.'"

• Twitter: Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen): "Mike Rizzo on Drew Storen: 'His stuff right now is filthy.' Says he will have the 9th inning all to himself at some point this season. #Nats"

• Twitter: Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen): "Rizzo on Collin Balester: 'He has a chance to air it out for 1, 2 or 3 innings. He'll be a reliable source for us out of the bulpen.' #Nats"

• Twitter: ESPN's Jorge Arangure on Twitter: (@Jorge Arangure): "Worth reading about the #Nationals DR prospect who died. Use google translate if needed RT @dSoldevila: http://tinyurl.com/447sreu"

• Your Daily Message From the Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "When we develop patience, we find that we develop a reserve of calm and tranquility." 

• NATSTOWN: 

• "Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper are certainly transcendent talents, and the combination of the two make many wonder what could lie ahead..." - MASN Nationals Buzz: Guest Blogger Will Yoder (The Nats Blog): "Prospect pairs don't always add up to greatness"

• "It's probably just coincidence that the Nats won all three games after Espinosa was installed at the leadoff spot.  Three games isn't much of a sample size." - "Nats Sweep Brewers with Espinosa at Leadoff" - Dave Nichols, NATIONALS NEWS NETWORK

• "The first [batch] of UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) numbers are up for the 2011 season, and this should give us a very early look at how the new approach to fielding is working..." - "UZR Numbers Up" - Mac, Capitol Baseball

• "They say baseball isn’t a violent sport, but followers of the Nationals Presidents race during the just-completed homestand might disagree..." - "Video: Teddy’s body slam on the un-racing sausage" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• (ed. note - "Do you know where the clearest view of the Capitol is in Nats Park? Maggie from First Ladies of Baseball does.") - "April 17, 2011: Washington Nationals vs Milwaukee Brewers (Game 1 of Doubleheader)" - Maggie, First Ladies of Baseball

• "Ladson’s Inbox 4/18/11 Edition" - Nationals Arm Race

• "What say you, Tony LaRussa? What say you, Jim Riggleman? Any bad blood remaining?" - "Any bad blood remaining between Nats, Cards?" - The Nationals Enquirer

SHARKNatsTown: 

• "Look at that shark, Potsie." Ralph Malph -  "It seems like [Morse] "jumped the shark" when they named him everyday LF two weeks into Spring Training." - "Sunday in (Nats) Park with Sharks" - Street Shark: Roger Bernadina's Unofficial Blog

• Nats Minor League Updates: 

• Triple-A Syracuse: Chiefs Lose, 5-1. Corey Brown hits HR, Henry Rodriguez Hits Triple Digits - Syracuse Chiefs Scoreboard

• Double-A Harrisburg: "Brad Meyers pitched five innings for his second win on the season, bouncing back from his first loss in almost two years." - "Brad Meyers Leads Sens to 6-2 Win over the Altoona Curve" - Terry Byrom, Harrisburg Senators News

• Class-A Potomac: "Potomac snapped their three-game losing streak in style Monday in Frederick in 9-0 win over the Keys at Harry Grove Stadium." - "KING, FRIAS KEY 9-0 WIN IN FREDERICK" - Potomac Nationals News

• Class-A Hagerstown: "[Cameron Selik] struck out 11 and made his third straight scoreless start for the Hagerstown Suns, who topped the Lakewood BlueClaws, 1-0..." - "Suns' Selik fans 11 in one-hit outing" - Josh Jackson, MiLB.com News

• Class-A Hagerstown: "The idea of Harper, the right fielder with prodigious power, has almost become bigger than the player himself..." - "Business brisk with Harper in Hagerstown" - Nathan Fenno, Washington Times

• NL East Updates: 

Braves: "...McLouth doubled down the first-base line. That hit came one pitch after Lilly threw behind him and both benches were warned about further retaliations." - "Dodgers score early, top Braves 4-2" - David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, ajc.com

Mets: "Jason Isringhausen made his return to the Mets last week...According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 11-year, 254-day span between his Met appearances was the longest in club history..." - "Terry Collins, NY Mets Lookin' To Start Cookin' At Citi Field: David Wright, Jose Reyes And Co. Begin Homestand Against Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday" - John Schweibacher, CBS New York

Phillies: "As of Monday, Dom Brown is healthy and playing again." - "Some options for Brown's return" - Randy Miller, phillyBurbs.com

Marlins: "Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson has dreams of competing on the PGA Tour when his baseball days are over." - "Florida Marlins’ Josh Johnson has the drive for golf" - Clark Spencer, MiamiHerald.com

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