Spring Training 2013: Washington Nationals vs Houston Astros - Grapefruit League GameThread

USA TODAY Sports

After announcing the latest round of roster cuts, which trimmed the Washington Nationals' Spring Training roster to 42, the Nats will take on the Houston Astros today in Grapefruit League action with veteran right-hander Chris Young on the mound in Space Coast Stadium against the Astros' Alex White.

In his first Grapefruit League outing with the Washington Nationals against the Miami Marlins, 33-year-old, nine-year veteran Chris Young gave up three hits, three walks and three earned runs 3.0 IP. The towering right-hander returns to the mound this afternoon to take on the Houston Astros in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium. Young has what will likely be the Nationals' Opening Day lineup behind him this afternoon in the Nats' Spring home:

The big story of the day, however, as several reporters noted yesterday, is that 25-year-old Nats' backstop Wilson Ramos is making his second-straight start behind the plate for the first time this Spring.

It's another step in the rehab from the torn ACL and meniscus Ramos suffered last season, and he told reporters, including the Washington Times' Amanda Comak, that he's excited to take this step and the obvious one that will follow. If Ramos is fine after the back-to-back starts there's only one more thing for him to do to prove that he's healthy.

"'After that,'" Ramos told the Washington Times' reporter, "'I want to do the next step, and the next step for me is to catch nine innings. That’s what I want to do.'" The Nationals have talked this winter about Kurt Suzuki starting the season as the Nats' no.1 catcher, but Ramos told the Washington Times' Ms Comak on Wednesday that he hasn't given up hope of being the Opening Day starter catching Stephen Strasburg in the nation's capital:

"'I want to be in the first game, but that’s a decision I can’t make,' Ramos said. 'The manager and (general manager Mike Rizzo) they have to make that decision.'"

In an interview with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier this morning, Nats' GM Mike Rizzo said that there was no firm decision made yet on who would be behind the dish for Game 1 of 162. "As far as the catching position goes," Rizzo said, "We're not sure where Wilson is going to be on Opening Day. He hasn't caught nine straight innings in about eight-nine months, so we're going to see him. He's going to have to do some back-to-backs, he's going to have to catch nine innings a couple of games in a row to see where he's at physically and with Kurt [Suzuki] as another option, it's a great option to have another everyday starting catcher."

Ramos will attempt to take the next step today as Chris Young tries to impress on the mound.

Today's game is being broadcast on 1580 AM in the nation's capital with Charlie and Dave calling all the action from Space Coast Stadium as the Nats take on the Astros. Who's listening to the Nationals?

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