Late update: 12:05 pm EST - Scratch what's written below, Jayson Werth is a late scratch. No explanation given as of 12:08 pm EST.
More info when it's available.
At 1:00 pm EST this afternoon, the Washington Nationals welcome the Miami Marlins to Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium where the NL East division rivals will meet for the first time in 2014. Today's game, which is being broadcast live on MASN, will also feature two spring debuts. Doug Fister, acquired from the Detroit Tigers in a 3-for-1 trade this winter, will take the mound for the Nationals in competitive action and Jayson Werth will be in right field as the Nats take on the Fish. New Nationals' manager Matt Williams told reporters there were no issues with Werth.
"Everything is okay with Jayson," Williams said Saturday. "He's scheduled to play tomorrow."
"He's right on schedule. No variation to his schedule."
Werth's fourth season with Washington starts today, and he's hitting third for the Nationals:
Asked earlier this spring where he'd prefer to hit in the lineup, Werth admitted to reporters, including the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, that he would prefer the three spot in the order:
"'I’ve always wanted to hit third,' Werth said. 'If that’s where I hit, fine. If that’s not where I hit. … I’ve hit fourth, I’ve hit fifth, I’ve hit sixth, I’ve led off. I could probably hit ninth if it came to it.'"
Is Werth's spot in the lineup a sign of things to come this season?
As for Doug Fister, barring any issues, the 6'8'' right-hander will likely go the same two innings the other Nationals' starters have thrown in their first starts of the spring. In his fifth major league campaign in 2013, Fister finished at +4.6 fWAR, going (14-9) with a 3.67 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 44 walks (1.90 BB/9) and 159 Ks (6.86 K/9) in 33 games, 32 starts and 208 2/3 IP. The Nats have said this winter that they expect those numbers to improve with the Nationals' defense behind him.
"We like the fact that our infield defense is going to be solid," Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier this winter, "and he's a 54% ground ball pitcher and a guy who, like I said, he works all four quadrants of the strike zone, can get some weak contact, balls on the ground and allows his defense to help him out."
Fister will get his first chance to work with the Nationals' defenders this afternoon in the third Grapefruit League game of the spring. 1:05 pm EST. Charlie and Dave fans can also listen to the game on the radio on 1580 AM in D.C.
Who's watching the Nationals?