ESPN's Baseball Tonight's Tim Kurkjian and Curt Schilling were in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium on Tuesday to talk to the defending NL East champion Washington Nationals. The first topic of discussion, of course, was Stephen Strasburg's inning limit and the fact that the Nats' 24-year-old ace will be pitching without restrictions in 2013. Davey Johnson told ESPN's reporters that he expects a lot from the Nats' '09 no.1 overall pick this season. "Everybody expects a lot, but nobody expects more than he [does] of himself," the Nats' 70-year-old skipper said. "He's just a great competitor, he's got great stuff and he probably worked harder than anybody over the offseason. But I think there's about 24 other guys that feel the same way. Make-up on this ballclub is off the charts. Best make-up club I've ever had. Might be the athletes I've ever had too."
The Nats' 20-year-old, 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper is one teammate who expects a lot of the pitcher he followed as the second of back-to-back Nationals' no.1 overall picks. "I think everybody knows what to expect," Harper said, "He's an unbelievable competitor out there. He's our horse and our no.1 starter. I think having him on the club all year long and being able to get him, hopefully, into the postseason this year and he can be part of that. And, it's just going to be exciting. I think everybody in the baseball world is excited about that and I truly am excited. Our whole team is."
Asked if he would use last October's Game 5 loss as motivation this year, the mature-for-his-years Nats' slugger said that it was already behind him and his teammates. "After that game, we really just closed the book," Harper said, "It was something that happened. The Cardinals, you know, you have to tip your cap to them. They have a great bullpen [that] dominates and they had some timely hitting. So, there was nothing we could do about that. Of course we don't want that to happen again and hopefully we can try to bring something back to D.C. that consists of a trophy and a ring."
• Check out the rest of the coverage from Baseball Tonight in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium below: