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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Friday Night With Stephen Strasburg.

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March 08, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; An astronaut walks out on the field before the spring training game between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
March 08, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; An astronaut walks out on the field before the spring training game between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

Stephen Strasburg on a Friday night. It's like being back at SDSU with the big right-hander on campus starting for the Aztecs. Playing behind the 23-year-old Nats' '09 no.1 overall pick will be a mix of veteran non-roster invitees, rookies and potential bench options. It's an away Spring Training game, of course. Ian Desmond will get the start at short tonight, Steve Lombardozzi at second, Anthony Rendon's playing third and Jesus Flores will be behind the plate catching Strasburg in the pitcher's second start of the Spring. Strasburg threw 44 pitches, gave up a three hits, a home run and two earned runs in 2.2 IP in his first ST outing. Start no.2 takes place at Jupiter, Florida's Roger Dean Stadium, home of the Miami Marlins. The Nats will face left-hander Wade LeBlanc tonight according to the Marlins' MLB site. Spring Training baseball under the lights (not that it will matter unless you're in Florida cause it's only on the radio otherwise.) Strasburg tonight, LINKS...RIGHT NOW!!!


• "'I don't think Harper's ready,' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, suppressing a laugh, said earlier this spring. 'I think they should leave him down there.'" - "Bryce Harper expected to join Washington Nationals this season" - Joe Lemire,

• "[Bryce] Harper took batting practice in the indoor batting cage Friday morning and planned to test the calf with running later during the team's workout." - "Calf improved, Bryce Harper could try to talk his way into lineup to face Verlander" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Davey] Johnson’s most frequently broached topic this spring has been that battle for the final bench spot." - "Brett Carroll gaining notice in race for Nationals’ last bench spot" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "There's arguably no reliever in baseball who can match [Tyler] Clippard's remarkable combination of dominance and endurance the last two years." - "The best setup man wants to be even better" - Mark Zuckerman,

• "After Jackson's first Grapefruit League start, in which he allowed one hit and two walks in two innings, he told reporters that he was focusing on his mechanics..." - "Johnson: 'Edwin Jackson was superb'" - Dan Kolko,

• "Last spring, Detwiler was one of the Nationals' best pitchers. He did everything possible to make the team out of camp but couldn't get rid of his one remaining minor league option." - "Ross Detwiler dominates as his role remains undefined" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'It's all pitching once you get down to it,' Detwiler said. 'If I'm in the bullpen, I have to rely on those guys to teach me a routine...'" - "Detwiler enhances chances with perfect relief" - Bill Ladson, News

• "In [Edwin] Jackson's first start against the Astros, he went two innings but walked two and said he was trying to find that comfort zone. So, what made today's outing different for him?" - "Jackson and Zimmerman shine as Nats shut out Astros" - Craig Heist,

• "When the Nationals signed Jackson, traded for Gio Gonzalez and welcomed back Stephen Strasburg, they formed a rotation they believed would allow them to contend in the National League East..." - "Nationals’ new rotation shows early promise" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "The Nationals have big plans for Rendon. They signed him to a major league deal last August with the intention that he wouldn’t spend too much time toiling away in their minor league system." - "Nationals rookie Anthony Rendon draws raves for his sweet swing" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman drove in two runs and helped the Nationals blank the Astros, 8-0, at Space Coast Stadium on Thursday afternoon." - "Ryan Zimmerman leads support for Edwin Jackson vs. Astros" - Bill Ladson, News

• "But while Detwiler would certainly prefer to be a part of the Nationals' starting five, the 26-year-old will take major league innings any way he can get 'em." - "Despite strong start to spring, Detwiler left looking at long relief" - Dan Kolko,

• "Danny Espinosa will travel to Lakeland and play shortstop. Manager Davey Johnson had mentioned earlier this spring that Espinosa would see time at short..." - "Nationals lineups: Danny Espinosa to play shortstop, Adam LaRoche to debut" - Adam Kilgore, - Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "[Stephen] Strasburg will be followed to the mound by Tom Gorzelanny, Chad Durbin, Sean Burnett, Atahualpa Severino and Jeff Fulchino." - "The next three Nationals lineups (in Jupiter vs. Marlins, at home vs. Mets, in Lakeland vs. Tigers)" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Edwin] Jackson pitched four shutout innings, allowed two hits and struck out three batters, all of which came on breaking balls." - "Something 'clicks' for Jackson's mechanics" - Bill Ladson, News

Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Common sense shows you the value of warmheartedness."


• "At shortstop, [Anthony] Rendon looked serviceable. I only had a limited glance, but he certainly has the hands and the arm to play the position." - "Anthony Rendon Passes The Eye Test, And Other Notes From Spring Training" - Will Yoder, The Nats Blog

• "Judging by the projected lineups out there compared with the spots left for bench players, I figure that there is only room for about 5 bench players..." - "*BEEP BEEP BEEP*" - Mac, Capitol Baseball

• "Starting the 1952 season in New York, Jensen played in just 7 games for the Yankees before he was traded to the Washington Senators along with Spec Shea, Jerry Snyder and Archie Wilson for Irv Noren and Tom Upton in early May." - "This Date in Washington Senators History" - Art Audley, D.C. Baseball History

• "[Edwin] Jackson (3 IP, 2 hits 3 Ks) and [Ross] Detwiler (3 IP, no hits, 3 Ks) both were dominant against a Houston squad that didn’t bring many of their starting players." - "Washington Nationals blank Astros; Bryce Harper out with calf strain" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "#FUPhilly promo takes a horrible turn with "I'm on a boat" parody song" - Nats Enquirer

• "Time is running out for Desmond. With two full MLB seasons under his belt, this is the time to start improving. This is the time to clean up the errors and refine his game." - "Will Desmond Ever Live Up To Potential For Nats?" - Keara Dowd, Win For Teddy

• "NATS: Happy Birthday, Craig Stammen" - Cheryl Nichols, District Sports Page

• "Davey Johnson is a proven manager but he has been away from the game for a long time." - "Still no worries about Davey" - Harper, Nationals Baseball


Braves: "[Tommy] Hanson threw live batting practice Tuesday for the first time since sustaining a Grade 1 concussion in a one-car accident on Feb. 20..." - "Hanson to make spring debut Sunday" - Adam Berry, News

Phillies: "Now that he is a Philadelphia Philly and witnessed a handful of Grapefruit League games, Jonathan Papelbon has come to his realization that Phillies fans are smarter than Red Sox fans. Unbelievable?" - "Video: Jonathan Papelbon pops off against Red Sox fans" -

Mets: "You may have heard that Johan Santana made a spring start and looked good. He sat 88-89 MPH and touched 90. His changeup danced. Everyone was smiles." - "How Important Were Johan Santana's Radar Readings" - Eno Sarris, Amazin' Avenue

Marlins: "'I don't pay attention to that,' [Carlos] Zambrano said. 'I just pay attention to — I'm on a new team, they love me here and I want to be here.'" - "Zambrano works on his pitches, struggles with control" - Jon Santucci,