Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Announce Roster Cuts, Adam LaRoche In Lineup Today.

March 28, 2012; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson (5) watches batting practice before a spring training game against the New York Mets at Digital Domain Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

• There's sooooo much going on. In case there's any confusion, the Washington Nationals are playing two games today. One against the Atlanta Braves, a 1:05 pm EDT game that's available via MLB Gameday Audio and another at 6:05 pm EDT against the Detroit Tigers that will be on MLB.tv. Adam LaRoche is batting sixth and playing first this afternoon when the Nats and RHP Edwin Jackson take on the Braves. Mitch Atkins, a 26-year-old right-hander drafted by the Cubs in '04 who spent 2011 with Baltimore, signed with Washington in February and he starts against the Tigers for the Nats tonight. That's Mitch [M-I-T-C-H] Atkins [A-T-K-I-N-S]. The Nationals also announced three roster cuts this morning, re-assigning Andres Blanco and Jason Michaels to minor league camp and optioning Atahualpa Severino to Triple-A Syracuse. More info on the moves below... in the links... which start... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!!:

• "[Jason] Michaels and [Andres] Blanco had been competing for spots on the Opening Day bench. Their departure all but guarantees jobs for infielder Steve Lombardozzi and outfielder Brett Carroll..." - "Michaels, Blanco, Severino cut" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• NATS BEAT:

• "[Jason] Michaels has indicated he may be willing to go to Triple-A and has discussed the situation with manager Davey Johnson as well as general manager Mike Rizzo." - "Nationals cut Michaels, Blanco, Severino" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "With [Andres] Blanco officially out of the picture, the Nationals virtually assured Steve Lombardozzi, a natural middle infielder, a spot on their opening day roster." - "Nationals cut Jason Michaels, Andres Blanco, move closer to final roster" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'Jason [Michaels] was the hardest,' manager Davey Johnson said. 'I like him. Big leaguer. All of them have proven they can play up here....'" - "Nats reassign Michaels, Blanco, option Severino (updated)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Washington Nationals closer Drew Storen will start the season on the disabled list because of trouble in his right elbow." - "Nationals closer Storen to start season on DL" - WTOP.com

• "Mitch Williams says he's wild about the Nationals' pitching staff" - Jim Williams, Washington Examiner

• "The start of the regular season may still be a week away, but Jayson Werth and Jordan Zimmermann certainly look ready." - "Zimmermann, Werth power Nats past Mets" - Anthony DiComo, nationals.com: News

• "While the Nationals return basically the same offense that hit just .242 last season, their strength -- like most of the National League East -- should be in their rotation." - "Washington Nationals 2012 Preview" - Michael Rushton, MiamiHerald.com

• "For [Jordan] Zimmermann, one of his main stumbling blocks in 2011 was finishing off an outing." - "Jordan Zimmermann throws six scoreless in penultimate spring start" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Manager Davey Johnson called [Xavier] Nady 'very capable' and said he will evaluate him along with Jason Michaels, Chad Tracy and Brett Carroll..." - "Xavier Nady may actually make the Nationals’ opening day roster" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'That was superb, to say the least,' manager Davey Johnson said. 'That's him. That's who we've grown to know and love.'" - Davey Johnson on Jordan Zimmermann - "Give Zimmermann 'best outing of spring' honors" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Roger] Bernadina has performed well in recent days, collecting seven hits (two of them home runs) over his last 10 at-bats while driving in seven runs." - "Bernadina leaves for father's funeral" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "[Jordan] Zimmermann worked fast, threw strikes and got quick outs. He got nine ground ball outs in his six innings." - "Zimmermann shines as Nats beat Mets" - Craig Heist, WTOP.com

• "A former Rule 5 draft pick, [Jesus] Flores was the starter at age 24 in 2009 before a foul tip smashed into his shoulder." - "Flores OK being Nationals' backup backstop" - Brian McNally, Washington Examiner

• "Soon, [Brett] Carroll will begin catching bullpen sessions, real pitches throwing real curves and change-ups." - "Brett Carroll: What it’s like to become an emergency catcher" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'He was superb, to say the least,' manager Davey Johnson said. 'He had a low pitch count and he started to get some pitches up in the sixth inning.'" - "Zimmermann takes focused approach vs. Mets" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "[Stan] Kasten's power in the game apparently was not diminished by his five-year sentence as president of the Nationals." - "Thom Loverro: Just like he did in 2005, Kasten works his Magic" - Thom Loverro, Washington Examiner

• "Who are the eight players most likely to be cut over the next week? There are some obvious candidates." - "Who takes roster spots of DL candidates?" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "The candidates: Brett Carroll, Jason Michaels, Chad Tracy and, as we found out Wednesday, Xavier Nady." - "Projection the Nationals' Opening Day roster and hashing out their remaining decisions" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Now the only question is if [Xavier] Nady can do enough in the final few days of spring in order to overtake Jason Michaels for what might be the final open roster spot..." - "Nats taking a good look at Nady" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Jordan] Zimmermann’s fastball zipped at 92-94 miles per hour low in the zone, produced nine groundouts to just four fly balls." - "Jordan Zimmermann throws six scoreless innings in Nationals’ best start this spring" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Before Wednesday's game against the Mets, manager Davey Johnson said he had a surprise, and that was putting Xavier Nady in the starting lineup." - "Johnson looking at versatile veteran Nady" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "[Davey] Johnson also made it clear Nady is now in competition for a spot on the Opening Day roster..." - "Nady suddenly in the mix" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "[Davey] Johnson would prefer to carry [Michael] Morse with him, he said, but it appears that too is unlikely, especially with the team starting the season in Chicago and New York..." - "Sonogram shows healing in Nationals outfielder Michael Morse" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Davey] Johnson also said that reliever Drew Storen will more than likely start the season on the 15-day disabled list, and the skipper is hoping that his closer will return to action in mid-April." - "Morse to resume activity; Storen likely to DL" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "The Nationals could contend for the first time since moving to Washington after obtaining two above-average starting pitchers this offseason." - "Offseason In Review: Washington Nationals: MLB Rumors" - Ben Nicholson-Smith, MLBTradeRumors.com

• "[Brett] Carroll knew the Washington Nationals needed an emergency catcher, and so three weeks earlier he volunteered for a job that favored desperation over experience." - "Nationals still constructing bottom of the roster" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "This gem came five days after [Jordan] Zimmermann was roughed up a bit by the Astros." - "Dominant start for Zimmermann" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Henry Rodriguez is making opposing hitters look silly this spring." - "Final notes and quotes after the Nats' 3-2 win" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

•"The injuries to outfielder Michael Morse, and to a lesser extent first baseman Adam LaRoche, have put a charge in the Nationals’ bench competition..." - "Xavier Nady finds himself in mix for Nationals' bench spot" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): As well as restraining ourselves from negative thoughts and emotions, we need to cultivate and reinforce our positive qualities.

NATSSHARKTOWN:

• "[Roger] Bernadina, known as 'The Shark,' is having a solid Spring Training, going 14-for-47 [.298] with two home runs and eight RBIs." - "Bernadina to miss two days for father's funeral" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• NATSTOWN:

• "This year, as a sign of huge growth for the Franchise, Rizzo and Co. decided not to take anyone in the Rule V (pronounced five, not "V") for the first time since 2005." - "Rule V Update" - Mac, Capitol Baseball

• "Once Frank Howard signed his contract and joined his teammates in Pompano Beach, the Washington Senators felt whole again. The club won their first game with Hondo in the line-up as the 'designated pinch hitter.'" - "1969 Senators Spring Training — Bob Short Meets Texas Tom Vandergriff" - Steve Walker, D.C. Baseball History

• "Apparently, 22 year old Cutter [Dykstra] is now dating 30 year old former Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn Sigler..." - "Cutter Dykstra making Mike Rizzo look like a genius for Nyjer Morgan trade" - Nats Enquirer

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Marlins: "Giancarlo Stanton said if everything goes well in the minor league game Thursday, he might be in the lineup Friday night against Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals in Viera." - "Giancarlo Stanton could play in Grapefruit League game Saturday" Juan C. Rodriguez, Sun-Sentinel

Mets: "New York Mets manager Terry Collins is confident he will at least have one of his center fielders ready by opening day." - "Mets notebook: New York's center fielders getting healthy" - Laurel Pfahler, TCPalm.com

Braves: "As for the shortstop battle between rookies Tyler Pastornicky and Andrelton Simmons, that’s come down to the last days of camp and still there is no consensus among people I’ve asked around camp." - "Simmons/Pastronicky Braves shortstop battle goes to final week of spring training" - David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Phillies: "We’re about 200 days from major league free agents being able to sign with teams other than their own. One such player is Cole Hamels, whose contract with the Phillies ends after the 2012 season." - "Here’s How a Hamels Deal Gets Done... " - Corey Seidman, Phillies Nation

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