Wire Taps: Washington Nationals vs Philadelphia Phillies; Stephen Strasburg vs Roy Halladay

USA TODAY Sports

Before the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies play this afternoon, with Stephen Strasburg on the mound against Roy Halladay, catch up on the last 24 hours of Nats news with today's Wire Taps. Dan Haren's start. Jayson Werth's bat. Rafael Soriano's debut and more...

Who cares if it's Spring Training baseball? Grapefruit League action, whatever. Who cares that it will last four innings at the most... who the [expletive deleted] cares! It's Stephen Strasburg vs Roy Halladay today live from the Philadelphia Phillies' Spring home, Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida. Today's game is live on MLB.tv at 1:05 pm EST, but if you're not a subscriber, stay away from Federal Baseball and our twitter feed (@federalbaseball) because there is no way we're missing this. The Nats' 24-year-old ace makes his third start of the Spring this afternoon against the Nationals' NL East rivals from Philly. Who's going to miss that? It's coming up at 1:05 pm EST. Until then, it's links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "Regardless of generation, when great players appear in the big leagues as regulars at a young age, they tend to blossom very quickly, and some of their very best years arrive at 20 or 21." - "If Bryce Harper has historic season, don’t be surprised" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "Twelve pitches later, [Rafael] Soriano’s debut finished with the same efficiency that prompted the Nationals to hand him a two-year, $28 million contract to bolster the back end of an already-strong bullpen." - "Nationals notes: Rafael Soriano makes quick work of spring debut" - Nathan Fenno, Washington Times

• "Beltway Baseball: On Zim and the bullpen" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Last year, [Tyler] Clippard threw his curve just 2.2 percent of the time, leaning almost entirely on his fastball and his change." - "Nationals Pastime: Clippard talks about his curve, Zimmerman talks about his throwing" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth broke his wrist last May, spent three months healing and then reappeared in August as exactly what his team needed and didn't have: A leadoff hitter." - "Jayson Werth proving his worth for the Nationals" - Brian McNally, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "The recovering wrist sapped some of [Jayson] Werth’s power, but, as he revealed today, it was not the only factor. Werth switched to a different bat..." - "Jayson Werth goes back to his ‘homer bat’" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "[Anthony] Rendon has left a good impression with Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson, and both agree that the Nats' No. 1 prospect needs a full season in the Minor Leagues." - "Anthony Rendon's goal is to have camp Washington Nationals will remember" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• Video via MLB.com:


• "[Dan] Haren fired 50 pitches over his three innings, dominating for the first two frames and finding items to tweak in the third." - "Dan Haren sharp in second start" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "'I try not to dwell too much on the results of spring training because I don’t want to get too high or too low,' [Dan] Haren said." - "Dan Haren welcomes spring training struggles" - Nathan Fenno, Washington Times

• "Dan Haren worked both sides of the plate, mixed in some sharp off-speed stuff and cut his way through the Astros' lineup through his first two innings of work this afternoon." - "Nationals Pastime: Haren and Ramos both look sharp vs. Astros" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'My split is a work in progress,' [Dan] Haren said. 'Probably next game, I've got to focus a little bit on it. [Jose Altuve's RBI single] was a two-strike split, which just can't happen.'" - "Haren: 'A lot of good stuff' in start" - Joey Nowak, nationals.com: News

• "[Dan] Haren threw 50 pitches in three innings, surrendering the one run on two hits and one walk while striking out two." - "Chad Tracy, Danny Espinosa lead Nationals past Astros" - Joey Nowak, nationals.com: News

• "'He was a little frustrated that we had all those (scoring) rallies. He was ready to go. He said he was down there throwing some knuckleballs to kill some time.'" - Davey Johnson on Rafael Soriano - "Soriano shines in debut with Nationals" - AP/WTOP.com

• "Former Nationals and Phillies pitcher Brad Lidge said in the book's foreword that the fear of failure is the ultimate motivator for baseball's closer" - "New book spotlights the game's all-time best closers: Where does Rafael Soriano stack up?" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "[Rafael] Soriano’s fastball made an impression, too. He does not throw gas like many closers. He relies on small, sharp movement with his fastball." - "Rafael Soriano debuts, Ryan Zimmerman makes the long throw, Matt Purke optioned, etc." - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "[Rafael] Soriano got a little help from catcher Kurt Suzuki and, perhaps, the Space Coast Stadium ballpark dimensions in the inning that lasted just 12 pitches. He threw seven strikes." - "Nats' Soriano does quick work in Grapefruit debut" - Joey Nowak, nationals.com: News

• "Nats manager Davey Johnson will probably look for about 60-70 pitches from [Stephen] Strasburg, and four frames will likely be his target." - "Nationals Pastime: New offensive approach paying dividends for Espinosa" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Matt] Purke, the organization's third-round pick in 2011, had surgery in August to clean up his shoulder and remove a couple of inflamed bursa sacs." - "Purke optioned to Hagerstown" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "[Wilson] Ramos caught starter Dan Haren, diving to block one ball in the third inning, something the Nationals were keeping a close eye on." - "Ramos takes big step, gets back behind plate" - Joey Nowak, nationals.com: News

• "Twelve pitches later, [Rafael] Soriano’s debut finished with the same efficiency that prompted the Nationals to hand him a two-year, $28 million contract to bolster the back end of an already-strong bullpen." - "Nationals notes: Rafael Soriano makes quick work of spring debut" - Nathan Fenno, Washington Times

• "[Tyler] Clippard is using this spring to regain the feel for his curve. In a 1-2-3 inning yesterday in which he struck out two Astros, Clippard threw four curveballs." - "Tyler Clippard wants to throw more curveballs" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "'It's great. I have a lot of friends over here,' [Bo] Porter said. 'Lot of friends, lot of great relationships. It's not like we're being reunited because we all keep in contact constantly throughout the offseason and even leading up to today.'" - "Nationals Pastime: Bo Porter is back" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "If the Astros, who lost 107 games and are now moving to the more difficult American League West, are rebuilding, Porter refuses to acknowledge it." - "Nats welcome old friend Porter back to spring home" - Joey Nowak, nationals.com: News

• "[Rafael] Soriano, who arrived late to camp because of visa issues, is scheduled to make eight appearances this spring, including one set of back-to-back outings." - "Soriano Shines in Debut With Nationals" - Dan Morrison, CBS DC

• "[Wilson] Ramos, 25, caught three innings and struck out in his lone appearance. He looked comfortable at the plate. He didn’t appear to favor his right knee at all." - "Wilson Ramos returns behind the plate" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "Take the Washington Nationals, who in 2008 got a gleaming new building from the citizens of D.C. (And what a hustle that was.) Surely they can't ask Washingtonians for more. But the residents of Lee County, Fla.?" - "The Public-Funding-For-Stadiums Hustle Comes To Spring Training" - Jack Dickey, Deadspin

• "The population has tripled since then, but the Mets could end up more isolated if the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros, who are both nearing the ends of their leases in their current stadiums, move their camps to other parts of Florida..." - "Mets Want Spring Training Company on Florida’s East Coast" - Ken Belson, NYTimes.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "Welcome Back, Wilson" - Curly W Live

AUDIO: [ed. note - "FBb enters the conversation at around 28:00, then it's 45 minutes of Nats talk if you can take it..."] - Around Citi Live: NLE Preview with Patrick Reddington 03/05 by Around Citi Live | Blog Talk Radio

• "The Nats played Houston on Tuesday, which meant lots of interviews with former third-base coach Bo Porter, which meant at least one fascinating revelation..." - "Morning pixels: The Nats have a book club" - Dan Steinberg, D.C. Sports Bog

• via FBb on Twitter:

• via Twitter (the response I was hoping for):

• "Check out the deer Matt Purke bagged on Thanksgiving..." - Nats Enquirer

• "Nats Take Fourth Straight, 7-1; Purke Optioned" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• "Photo: Bryce Harper with Curt Schilling, discussing bloody socks and eyeballs?" - Nats Enquirer

• "7th Bullpen arm competition getting interesting" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• "March 6: Senators Birthdays - Theodore Wade Abernathy B Mar. 6, 1933 D Dec. 16, 2004" - "This Date in Washington Senators History" - Art Audley, D.C. Baseball History

• "In his long-awaited spring debut with the Nationals, Rafael Soriano struck out Robbie Grossman and allowed only one hit in one inning of action." - "Washington Nationals Spring Training: Nats’ pitching dominates in Rafael Soriano’s spring debut" - Alyssa Wolice, District Sports Page

• "Spring Training Photo Buffet 3/5 Vs. Astros" - Nationals Inquisition

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Braves: "Braves outfielder Jordan Schafer had his best game of the spring Tuesday night against the Yankees, displaying the skills that make him a candidate for a bench job on Atlanta’s Opening Day roster." - "Schafer strengthens bid for Braves bench" - www.ajc.com

Mets: "So the Mets like their rotation. But will it be better than Washington’s with Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman[n], Gio Gonzalez and plenty of back-end depth? Nope." - "New York Mets pitching staff looks better than it truly is" - Joel Sherman, NYPOST.com

Phillies: "The return of baseball brings unbridled optimism for fans of many teams. Last season's underdogs can become this year's powerhouses..." - "Showdown: Nats vs. Braves vs. Phillies" - Bill Baer, SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

Marlins: "The first time Jacob Turner took the mound for the Marlins this spring, he couldn’t get out of the first inning." - "JUPITER: Miami Marlins’ Jacob Turner much better in second outing" - Manny Navarro, MiamiHerald.com

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