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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg Start No.4, Rick Ankiel Returns.

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Mar. 14, 2012; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) walks to the dugout after warming up prior to the game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
Mar. 14, 2012; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) walks to the dugout after warming up prior to the game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

Stephen Strasburg makes his fourth start of the Spring against the New York Mets tonight at 6:05 pm EDT in Port St. Lucie's Digital Domain Park. In three starts thus far, Strasburg's give up 11 hits, eight runs, all earned, three home runs and three walks while recording 6 K's. Behind Strasburg out in center field tonight will be Rick Ankiel, who returns from a hamstring (quad?) issue to take the field for the first time since March 9th. Michael Morse? Not yet. The big slugging left fielder's still recovering from a lat strain that's limited him to just seven at bats this Spring. Morse told reporters this morning he's still not concerned. You? The other big story that's got everyone talking this morning? How about a top of the order on the road tonight that features Steve Lombardozzi, Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa? No Ryan Zimmerman on the road. No Jayson Werth. But Stephen Strasburg will be live on SNY in the NY area and (w/ no blackout restrictions!) No radio tonight... Like a Spring Training player with a day off, it's on to the LINKS... RIGHT NOW!!!


• "'It's a piece of the equation,' Rizzo said. 'There's no question about it. But sometimes you're forced to make decisions that, long-term financially, aren't the smart thing to do.'" - "Three Strikes: Bryce Harper edition" - Jayson Stark, ESPN


• "'We’re getting closer to our 25-man roster,' Johnson said, 'and the everyday guys will start getting more at-bats. Everyday players, this next week, will start playing nine innings.'" - "The second half of spring training" - Dave Sheinin, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• Ken Rosenthal On Twitter @Ken_Rosenthal: "'A scout who believes Harper can play CF: 'He's got speed. He can throw. He gets good jumps. And he will lay out for balls.'"

• "The Washington Nationals have already decided that Bryce Harper will begin the season in the minors, as they optioned him to Triple-A Syracuse on Sunday." - "Washington Nationals have to be careful about when they decide to promote Bryce Harper" - Dave Cameron, ESPN

• "The first half of the Grapefruit League slate has not been kind to Ian Desmond, who enters play tonight with only seven hits in 35 at-bats." - "The home stretch" - Mark Zuckerman,

• "[Tyler] Moore hit .296 (8-for-27) in his time in big league camp, and, for what it's worth, leaves on a positive note after homering and adding a double in yesterday's game against the Tigers." - "Notes on the rest of the cuts" - Dan Kolko,

• "And, according to multiple reports, the Washington Nationals would still consider trading left-hander John Lannan." - "Report: Washington Nationals would still consider trading left-hander John Lannan" - James Schmehl,

• "Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen and Bryce Harper also are among yoga devotees, with Harper and Storen big believers in Espinosa’s preferred Bikram yoga..." - "It's not a stretch to say yoga gaining popularity with Nationals" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'There's so much to look forward to with this team,'' Werth said. 'Last year, I got caught up in trying to be too pleasing, trying to make everybody happy.'" - "After subpar 2011, Jayson Werth feels at home with Nationals" - Mel Antonen,

• "Most other positions are accounted for -- though Steve Lombardozzi and Andres Blanco are still fighting for an infield utility spot." - "Building roster is painful" - Brian McNally, Washington Examiner

• "One guy with some perspective on where the Nationals were and where they are is veteran reliever Brad Lidge..." - "Nationals have core pieces in place to contend" - Anthony Castrovince, News

• "'I've said all along that my development plan is, I like players to touch each level in the minor leagues,' said Nationals GM Mike Rizzo the other day...'" - "Bryce Harper has had educational experience this spring" - Jayson Stark, ESPN

• "CMW and Jax leave after this year. Lannan leaves after '13 __if they don't trade him, like, you know, next week. The future is SS, GG, JZim and the two best of the young arms..." - "Ask Boswell about the Washington Nationals..." - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "The whole magilla of postponing Harper's free agency for a year is also a consideration, though not one the club will readily cop to." - "Harper must have seen it coming" - Phil Wood,

• "Sending [Bryce] Harper down to Triple-A, then, where his abilities can be brought to a boil, is a no-brainer for the Nationals." - "DALY: Slow approach right for Harper" - Dan Daly, Washington Times

• "But despite the injury to [Chien-Ming] Wang, I was told by a baseball source that the Nationals would still consider trading [John] Lannan." - "Nationals Inbox: When will Ross Detwiler get his chance in the rotation?" - Bill Ladson, News

• "'I'm not auditioning,' Johnson said. 'I told them the other day, 'You guys are my one and two.'" - "Johnson committed to Desmond, Espinosa atop lineup" - Dan Kolko,

• "General Manager Mike Rizzo was open to the idea, and if Harper had been knocking the cover off the ball, Rizzo would have been forced to make a tough decision." - "Bryce Harper to AAA was an easy call; promoting him will be trickier" - Tracy Hamilton, The Washington Post

• "Bill Ladson holds live web chat with Nationals fans" - News

• "'Why wait until then to take over? Because it allows Johnson’s coaches to get a taste of game-management and to develop their own strategic sensibilities.'" - "In a baserunning blunder, clues about Nationals’ Davey Johnson’s philosophy" - Dave Sheinin, The Washington Post

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "It is vital that when educating our children’s brains that we do not neglect to educate their hearts."


• "Bryce Harper is learning how to be a Major Leaguer the best way he knows how- following in the footsteps of Roger 'The Shark' Bernadina." - "Bryce Harper to Syracuse" - Sharkadina


• "Pitcher Joe Boehling would join the Senators in late June of 1912. Appearing in just 3 games, Boehling would hurl 5 innings, surrendering 4 hits, 4 runs, 6 walks, 2 hit batsman and 2 wild pitches." - "This Date in Washington Senators History" - Art Audley, D.C. Baseball History

• "The timing of that promotion will be the most talked about subject in NatsTown until it happens, much like two years ago when Stephen Strasburg made his ascension to the big leagues." - "Washington Nationals sending Bryce Harper to AAA makes sense all the way around" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "In this week's episode, The Nats Blog's Joe Drugan and Capitol Baseball's Craig MacHenry talk about Washington Nationals spring training." - "Nats Talk On The Go: Episode 12" - The Nats Blog

• "Sixteen Days To Go" -

• "So THAT'S what the Stephen Strasburg Bobblehead looks like!" - "The Stephen Strasburg Bobblehead resembles Stephen Strasburg." - Nats Enquirer

• "So if the season started today..." - Harper, Nationals Baseball


Phillies: "[Chase] Utley, the best position player on the team during the best run in franchise history, probably is not finished, but his days as an elite, 145+ games per season second baseman, almost certainly are." - "Paper Chase" - Whole Camels, The Good Phight

Marlins: "[Austin] Kearns is a veteran outfielder who is a strong defender in the corners but is not someone who is capable of handling center field." - "Miami Marlins Season Preview: Spring Training Surprises" - Michael Jong, Fish Stripes

Mets: "The New York Mets have repaid loans of $25 million to Major League Baseball and $40 million to Bank of America, and have closed on the sales of 12 limited partner shares for $20 million each..." - "Mets Repay Loans To MLB And Bank Of America" - CBS New York

Braves: "Randall Delgado appeared to take another step closer toward winning his battle with Julio Teheran to begin this season as the Braves' fifth starter." - "Delgado growing comfortable with curveball" - Mark Bowman, News

Braves: via Buster Olney On Twitter (@Buster_ESPN): "Arodys Vizcaino getting Tommy John surgery, says ATL GM Frank Wren."