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Washington Nationals: Jason Marquis' Spring Struggles.

• Marquis' Struggles:

In an article by MLB.com's Rockies beat writer Thomas Harding entitled, "Marquis hit hard in Rockies' loss", from last March 25th, then-Colorado Bench Coach Jim Tracy says that he isn't worried about the fact that the Rockies' then-30-year-old right-handed starter, Jason Marquis, who'd been acquired in a January deal with the Chicago Cubs, had given up 26 hits and 22 ER over 12.0 IP in the previous 3 starts he'd made in Cactus League play, including a 3.1 inning outing against the Angels in which he'd allowed 10 hits, 4 walks and 11 ER. But only because he'd seen it before, Mr. Tracy, the one-time Dodgers' and Pirates' skipper, who would take over on the bench for the Rockies by May, explained to the MLB.com writer:

I've seen lines like that over the course of the last 14 or 15 years a number of times, and a guy walks out there and pitches seven scoreless innings his first time out [in the regular season],' Tracy said."

• BACKPAGE:

• Marquis' Struggles (cont.)...

• Bryce Harper's Saturday

BACKPAGE:

• Marquis' Struggles (cont.)...

So Washington Nationals fans can take solace in the fact that Mr. Tracy saw what he saw last Spring and understood that Marquis might in fact go (11-6) in his 18 '09 first-half starts as he did last season, walking 40 (2.92 BB/9) and striking out 58 (4.2 K/9) in 123.1 IP, while posting a 3.65 ERA, (which jumped nearly a run to 4.56 when Marquis was able to win just 4 of 15 starts in the second half of the 2009 season), when they look at the numbers Marquis has put up in his first two starts with the Nationals this Spring over which he's given up 11 H, 13 ER, 1 HR and 7 BB while recording just 1 K in 2 GS and 5.1 IP...

Marquis faces the Mets for the second time this Spring Monday afternoon at 1:05 pm EST at home in Space Coast Stadium. Marquis gave up 3 hits, 3 walks and 5 ER in 2.0 IP in his Spring debut for the Nats against the Mets in Port St. Lucie in the first week of March. After that first start, Marquis told MLB.com's Bill Ladson, as quoted in an article entitled, "Marquis struggles in Nats debut", that the problem was that he, "lost (his) aggressiveness" on the mound:

"'I wasn't getting through the ball. I was just guiding it to spots instead of letting my natural ability take over.'"

Marquis sounded frustrated when his second start this Spring went awry as well, as he told Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore in an article entitled, "A rough one for Jason Marquis, and others" that he, "...didn't have a feel for anything,":

"...delivery, the ball coming out of my hand," Marquis said. "I just got to go back to the drawing board, getting to feel comfortable throwing a baseball. I have an idea of what I want to work on."

Marquis allowed 8 hits, 8 ER and 4 walks in 3.1 IP in his second start against the Houston Astros. In his third start this Spring, (one start was rained out and replaced by a simulated outing) Marquis once again faces the team he attempted to sign with this Winter before he agreed on a deal with the Nationals. The native New Yorker's going to be in the starting rotation regardless of the outcome of Monday's start, but it's about time he started building some momentum with only 1-2 starts left this Spring...

• Bryce Harper's Saturday:

College of Southern Nevada Coyotes' catcher Bryce Harper played in one of two games against the visiting Colorado Northwestern Spartans Friday night, going 2 for 3 with a run scored and 4 RBI's in a 10-0 win, and the CSN Coyotes completed the weekend sweep of the Spartans with wins in both games of the second-straight doubleheader on Saturday, in which the 17-year-old Harper was a combined 2 for 5 with 2 doubles, 2 runs scored and an RBI, leaving presumptive no.1 pick for the 2010 MLB Draft hitting .420 (37 for 88), with 13 doubles, 1 triple, 8 HR's and 27 RBI's in 27 games over which he's walked 18 times, K'd 19 times and stolen 6 bases...More Harper videos? Why not? Here's one of Harper's 2 doubles from Saturday:


(video by - Vegas Scout)