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Washington Nationals vs Houston Astros: Grapefruit League GameThread.

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February 26, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA;  Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) signs some autographs following spring training workouts at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
February 26, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) signs some autographs following spring training workouts at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

The Washington Nationals send 23-year-old right-hander Stephen Strasburg to the mound this afternoon in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium to take on the visiting Houston Astros in the Nats' 2012 Grapefruit League home opener. The Nationals opened their Spring Training schedule with a 3-1 loss to Houston on Saturday in which Edwin Jackson, Ross Detwiler, Chad Durbin and others got work in on the mound. Today it will be the Strasburg, the Nats' '09 no.1 overall pick followed by Tom Gorzelanny, Ryan Mattheus and the Nationals' A-pen of Brad Lidge, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen. Here's the lineup that will start today's game behind Stephen Strasburg...

  1. Ian Desmond - SS
  2. Danny Espinosa - 2B
  3. Ryan Zimmerman - 3B
  4. Michael Morse - DH
  5. Jayson Werth - CF
  6. Mark DeRosa - 1B
  7. Wilson Ramos - C
  8. Jason Michaels - LF
  9. Brett Carroll - RF
Nats' skipper Davey Johnson told reporters this morning that first baseman Adam LaRoche will make his Spring debut on Wednesday. The 32-year-old, left-handed-hitting infielder is still recovering from an ankle injury he suffered early this Spring and surgery he had last season to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff damage in his left shoulder, but as the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore too reported this morning, LaRoche will face live pitching for the next two days and then play in a game later this week. The Nats' manager, as reported by NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman this morning, also explained what the future holds for Michael Morse (no 1B this Spring, LF only) and the WaPost's Mr. Kilgore quoted Davey Johnson talking about Werth seeing time in CF this Spring. This afternoon, however, it's all about Stephen Strasburg's first Spring start. Who's Watching the Nationals?