Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Take On Livan Hernandez And The Astros...Again.

March 07, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) at bat during the spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

• Today's Grapefruit League game is available via MLB Gameday Audio. After suffering through a long day without any updates from the Nats game against the Cardinals outside of Twitter and MLB.com's box scores, Nationals fans can relax knowing that they won't be missing anything today when Washington takes on the...uh, Really?...the Houston Astros, again? Just kidding, Houston. You'll make a great AL team. Edwin Jackson makes his second start of the Spring at 1:05 pm EST. Steve Lombardozzi's leading off. Bryce Harper's in RF. Adam LaRoche... He's playing against minor leaguers as we speak as he continues to work his way back. (LaRoche hit a HR off Robbie Ray this morning.) Bryce Harper vs Livan Hernandez Round Two coming up later this afternoon. For now, it's the LINKS!!! RIGHT NOW!!:

• THE BIG STORY:

• "All three of Zimmermann’s strikeouts came on swing-and-miss sliders, which induced awkward flails..." - "Jordan Zimmermann completes a solid first rotation for Nationals starters" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "'It's nice to get it over with,' LaRoche said. 'First at-bats looked like they were throwing about 120 (mph).'" - "At-bats for LaRoche plus today's lineup" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "106.7 The Fan, the Nats’ flagship station, is asking fans why they hate Philadelphia." - "D.C. radio station runs FU Philly campaign" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "Adam LaRoche was back on the Nationals' minor league fields Wednesday morning, hitting third every half-inning and seeing some live pitching while lightly testing his sprained left ankle." - "Adam LaRoche tests ankle with six AB's in minor league game" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "It'd be nice if they can do it when the games count, as well, but manager Davey Johnson will take strong innings anytime he can get them." - "Another Nats starter looks good in spring debut" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'It's going to be a good year knowing that I'm not going to be shut down at 160. I'll be able to throw 200-plus innings,' Zimmermann said." - "Zimmermann happy with his breaking ball" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

Nats start to sell single-game tickets today - WTOP.com

• "[Davey] Johnson worried that [Ian] Desmond had been 'taking his at-bats to the field' – losing focus on defense while thinking about his swing." - "Ian Desmond gets off the spring training schneid" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Jordan Zimmermann was the latest to turn in a strong outing yesterday, scattering three hits over three scoreless innings while striking out three." - "The rotation: So far, so good" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "'The last four years I have been up and down in that fourth outfield role,' the 29-year old Carroll said. "It has been a great experience, a blessing and it's been a grind.'" - "Brett Carroll looking to make big impression with Nationals" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Taking better routes and improving his read off the ball is one of the main things the Nationals want Bernadina to improve on in the outfield." - "Desmond, Bernadina and other notes wrapping up the Nationals 3-3 tie vs. the Cardinals" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Reigning American League MVP Justin Verlander will be on the mound for Detroit on Saturday, and Johnson has decided to send Bryce Harper to Lakeland to have the 19-year-old square off against the power righty." - "Quick hits plus today's lineup" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'It went okay,' said Zimmermann. 'I had a rough time locating the fastball today but I threw some good ones when I needed to." - "Nats and Cardinals play to a tie" - Craig Heist, WTOP.com

• "Adam LaRoche’s shoulder has recovered enough for him to feel confident at bat. But a left ankle sprain has delayed his spring debut." - "Nationals’ Adam LaRoche is confident he can redeem his lost first season with team" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• " The quintet of hurlers who have taken the mound to start the Nats' first five Grapefruit League games have, by and large, looked pretty sharp early on." - "An impressive first turn through the rotation" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Mark] DeRosa, who's quickly ingrained himself in the Nationals' clubhouse, joked he's been talking with hitting coach Rick Eckstein to move him out of his batting practice group..." - "Mark DeRosa reflects on his first home run since Feb. 2011" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "According to [Gio] Gonzalez, [Ray] Fosse was the first person in Major League Baseball to tell him that he would be a great pitcher one day." - "Former catcher Ray Fosse a big believer in Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez's abilities" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "After three wrist operations since 2009 limited him to 73 games over the past two years, DeRosa wondered if he still had the power left to blast a pitch over the fence." - "The meaning of Mark DeRosa’s home run" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "[Davey] Johnson agreed with Jordan Zimmermann's assessment that the Nats starter didn't have his best fastball control today." - "Desmond finds his way into the hit column" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'I think he’s a top-of-the-rotation guy,' manager Davey Johnson said earlier this spring, comparing Zimmermann’s development to that of Ron Darling..." - "Nationals' Jordan Zimmermann ready to cut loose with no restrictions" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "The Nationals have inquired about Astros outfielder Jason Bourgeois at least three times since the Winter Meetings..." - "Nats have talked to Astros about Bourgeois" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "The more adept we are in cultivating altruism, the happier we will be and the better the atmosphere we will create around us."

• NATSTOWN:

• "Walter Johnson arrived a day later than expected to the Washington Senators training camp. Instead of being upset with Johnson the Senators’ owners were delighted to see him." - "This Day in D.C. Baseball History – Better Late Than Never" - Mark Hornbaker, D.C. Baseball History

• "After playing in every game of the spring so far, Bryce Harper finally got a day off on Wednesday." - "Bryce Harper finally got a day off..." - Nats Enquirer

• "With major moves being made this off-season for the rotations of the NL East teams, we seem set to be in store for some serious pitching duels intradivision in 2012." - "NL East Rotation Preview" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "It killed Mark Prior’s career, slowed down Chien-Ming Wang’s, halted Pedro Feliciano’s and derailed dozens more before doctors could identify the exact problem." - "Johan Santana: Mets ace may never be the same" - Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports

Braves: "The Cardinals' signing of Yadier Molina to a $75 million deal changes the landscape for the Atlanta Braves, as the possible free agency of Brian McCann looms at the end of 2013." - "The Atlanta Braves must resign Brian McCann soon, but their payroll is lagging" - Buster Olney, ESPN

Marlins/Mets: "Jose Reyes and the Cardinal Sports Sin" - Matthew Callan, Amazin' Avenue
"I am sure there are other athletes out there who have said things as bad or worse than what Jose Reyes allegedly admitted to Marlins president David Samson." -

Phillies: "[Dropkick Murphy's] lead singer and bassist Ken Casey told ESPN Music this week that Papelbon cannot use the song now that he pitches for the Phillies." - "'Shipping' not following Papelbon to Philly" - Todd Zolecki, phillies.com: News

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