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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Prospects Impress In Grapefruit League Action With New York Mets

Eury Perez's speed. Anthony Rendon's swing. Nathan Karn's heat. Matt Skole's power. The Washington Nationals' prospects were on display on the road last night in Grapefruit League action with the New York Mets and all of them managed to impress early in Spring Training.

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Chris Trotman

Anthony Rendon's swing. Nathan Karns' heater. The "Large Animal" Matt Skole's power. There were a few impressive performances in last night's win over the New York Mets, but it was Eury Perez, who never hit a ball out of the infield, who made the biggest impression. The 22-year-old Dominican outfielder is still learning. On Sunday afternoon against the Marlins, Perez was 1 for 3 in the Nationals' home opener in Space Coast Stadium. Perez singled in the bottom of the tenth then tried to go first-to-third™ on a Matt Skole single in what was then a 2-2 game. Perez got thrown out at third on a strong throw by Miami outfielder Kevin Mattison. As Nats' skipper Davey Johnson explained after the game, it wasn't Perez's decision-making that was the problem, but the execution.

"The only thing I didn't like about that," Johnson said, "You know, it took a perfect throw to get him and it was a perfect throw, is that he made a commitment to go, but when he was about three steps past second, he looked back. I mean, once you've committed you don't need to look back. That was really a base-running error there. By looking back, you're not running as hard [as you can] and you're not going to stop at that point anyway." On a close play at third, Perez looking back may have cost him a chance to win the game. You can bet the message made its way down to the young outfielder.

In last night's game, Perez was 3 for 3 with three infield hits, a stolen base and two runs scored. It was hard not to notice the difference his speed made. Three games into Grapefruit League action, Perez is 5 for 9 with two stole bases. Last season, in a year spent mostly at Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse, the outfielder had a .314/.344/.361 line with 19 doubles, 3 HRs and 51 stolen bases in 65 attempts. He's one of several center fielders in the Nationals' system who's been given time to develop by the acquisition of Denard Span this winter, but he'll be in the mix in the future when Washington's looking out for the next center fielder. He impressed last Spring, going 6 for 18 in eight games. A full year at Triple-A Syracuse is in his future. After that...

There's a threat of rain today, but if it holds of the Nats and Braves will go at it at 1:05 pm EST from Atlanta's Spring Home. Until then it's links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:


• "Two weeks ago, Adam LaRoche arrived at spring training with an equipment bag slung over his shoulder and the luckiest 11-year-old in America walking close behind..." - "For Adam LaRoche, Nationals spring training is take-your-son-to-work day every day" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post


Nationals' lineup Tuesday vs the Braves (If they play, threat of rain reported):

• "Sunday morning, as [Anthony] Rendon joined the starters to take batting practice before the team’s home opener, Johnson playfully — but loudly — chided him." - "Nationals' Anthony Rendon wants to take full advantage of big-league time" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'Who does that?' Rendon joked after the game. 'It's spring training!'" - "Nationals Pastime: Karns makes quite an impression in first big league spring contest" - Dan Kolko,

• "'I'm glad to see Chris Marrero. Last year was kind of an injury year for him, but he is swinging the bat well,' Johnson said. 'It was a shame about what happened to him last year.'" - "Marrero's progress catches the eye of Davey" - Bill Ladson, News

• '[Nathan] Karns fired two strong innings, striking out three batters and allowing only one single. He showed the major league potential of his right arm." - "Nate Karns debuts and impresses" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "[Nate Karns] relied primarily on his fastball, clocked on the stadium gun anywhere between 93 and 96 mph, but he rushed his curveball a bit." - "Nationals prospect Nate Karns impresses in first spring game" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'It has been a long time. It was a first-time outing under the lights,' Karns said. 'It was a little something special. It was nice.'" - "Karns overcomes nerves in scoreless outing" - Bill Ladson, News

• "With the loss of reliable left-handers Sean Burnett, Tom Gorzelanny and Michael Gonzalez, [Ryan] Mattheus read between the lines and discerned his future." - "Ryan Mattheus’s focus this spring: work on facing left-handed hitters" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "'I felt good and I was having fun out there but the most important part was you see everyone that was playing was having fun,' [Gio] Gonzalez said." - "Nats bang out 17 hits and beat the Mets" - Craig Heist,

• "Those butterflies manifested themselves into a somewhat shaky first inning for [Gio] Gonzalez, who was unable to locate his fastball with much consistency and wound up needing 25 pitches to complete the frame." - "Gonzalez back in his comfort zone on mound" - Mark Zuckerman, CSN Washington

• "As he took the mound against the Mets at Tradition Field, [Gio] Gonzalez wondered how the crowd would react in the wake of the report that his name appeared on documents at the Biogenesis clinic in South Florida." - "Gio Gonzalez happily gets back to baseball in first spring start" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "'It’s good to get on that mound again and get back at it,' [Gio] Gonzalez said. 'Especially with the fan support that I was getting out there.'' - "Gio Gonzalez happy to return to baseball after first spring start" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Gio] Gonzalez leaned heavily on his curveball in his first inning of work, throwing at least six hammers, by my count, in a 23-pitch frame." - "Nationals Pastime: Gonzalez shaky in first spring inning (but finishes strong)" - Dan Kolko,

• "'Gio was great. He had a little rough first inning, but he was ... like his normal self in the second. That's all I needed.'" - Davey Johnson - "Gio 'having fun out there' during first spring start" - Bill Ladson, News

• "[Gio] Gonzalez struck out three batters over two scoreless innings Monday, leading the Nationals to a 6-4 victory over the Mets at Tradition Field." - "Gio turns in hitless outing in spring debut" - Anthony DiComo, News

• "The curve is [Gio] Gonzalez's bread and butter, and despite it being only Feb. 25, it was on display tonight." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson analyzes Gonzalez's outing, Nats' 6-4 win" - Dan Kolko,

• "Weekly Review: National News" - Curly W Live

• "[Henry] Rodriguez threw off a bullpen mound yesterday in front of team officials and looked sharp, according to manager Davey Johnson." - "Reliever Rodriguez close to game-ready" - Mark Zuckerman, CSN Washington

• "[Wilson] Ramos has been doing a lot of smiling lately, with his progress from two major knee surgeries boosting spirits which were pretty low at times last summer." - "Nationals Pastime: Ramos closing in on a return to action" - Dan Kolko,

• "Henry Rodriguez threw his first bullpen session in camp on Sunday and, according to Johnson, looked good." - "Updates on Wilson Ramos, Henry Rodriguez, Chad Tracy and others" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "The Nationals’ doctors won’t clear [Wilson] Ramos to play in games, even as a designated hitter, until he can be cleared to slide." - "Wilson Ramos feels his right knee is now about 95 percent healthy" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Henry Rodriguez came through yesterday's bullpen session well, throwing predominantly fastballs, [Davey] Johnson said." - "Nationals Pastime: Tracy, Owings battling bumps and bruises (plus two guys impressing Davey)" - Dan Kolko,

• "Ryan Zimmerman went through the full workout this morning, taking full batting practice and playing catch. His throwing motion keeps getting stronger by the day." - "Notes from the morning workout in Viera" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Chad Tracy has been scratched from the Nationals' travel roster for the next two days..." - "Tracy scratched with bruised triceps" - Mark Zuckerman,

• "Monday marked the first Spring Training road trip [Chad] Tracy has missed since he signed a Minor League contract with the club last year." - "Tracy, Owings out of action with injuries" - Bill Ladson, News

• "Chad Tracy, who took a pitch off his right triceps area on Sunday, got the day off and manager Davey Johnson said he would give him Tuesday off as well." - "Micah Owings, Chad Tracy banged up, plus updates on Wilson Ramos, Henry Rodriguez & more" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Gio] Gonzalez appears to be that rarest athlete of the new millennium — the one who didn’t do it — although MLB has yet to officially clear him." - "Athletes and PEDs: The accident excuse is getting hard to swallow" - Tracee Hamilton, The Washington Post

• "A few years ago, Brandon Mann was living in the Washington D.C., area, watching Stephen Strasburg dominate in his first season in the majors..." - "Nationals Pastime: From D.C. to Japan and back" - Dan Kolko,

Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter:


• "2013 Washington Nationals projected lineup: Something, something, clown question, bro" - Kenneth Arthur, Fake Teams

• "While [Zack Greinke] has had a pang of regret since the Nationals became a power, he also turned it down because he was looking forward to the free-agent process." - "Greinke admits money was reason, made Texas offer before LA deal" - Jon Heyman,

• "The Third Weird Baseball Injury Of 2013: Washington Nationals Pitcher Gio Gonzalez Got Rug Burn On His Forehead From His Dog" - Sean Newell, Deadspin

• "In some ways it’s as if Davey Johnson has gone back in time some 27 years, back to when he was the cockiest manager in baseball and his ’86 Mets backed up his fearless prediction that they would dominate the National League." - "Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson still managing with his instincts as he did while leading 1986 NY Mets to World Series championship" - John Harper, NY Daily News

• "[Gio] Gonzalez drew cheers and positive chants Monday night as he pitched two hitless innings for the Washington Nationals in a 6-4 win over the New York Mets." - "Gio Gonzalez: 'It's good to hear the fans still support and love you'" - AP/USA Today

• "Despite going 0-for-2 with a strikeout in Monday night’s 6-4 loss to the Nationals, [Collin] Cowgill has distinguished himself in a no-name outfield that became the brunt of jokes – even to Sandy Alderson — this offseason." - "NY Mets' Terry Collins says he's impressed with Collin Cowgill who turns heads at spring training" - Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News


• "One thing can be said about outfielder Steven Souza: He is not afraid to work." - "Nationals Minor Leaguer Steven Souza honing skills as outfielder" - Bill Ladson, News

• "Turns out that will be her only season in that role. [Kristina] Akra will not be returning to MASN for the 2013 season; she is leaving for another as-yet-unannounced on-air opportunity." - "Kristina Akra leaving MASN" - Dan Steinberg, D.C. Sports Bog

• "I spent the last 2 posts talking about the Nats likelihood of facing an injury to a starting pitcher and while that still holds true, I may have sold short their ability to have 4 healthy starters all year." - "Odds and Ends" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Nats Talk On The Go: Episode 44" - The Nats Blog

• "Gio Gonzalez got rug burn on his forehead from wrestling with his dog, 'Hollywood'" -

• "Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche do the Harlem Shake (Video)" - Sarah Kogod, D.C. Sports Bog

• "What shouldn’t be lost among all the PED allegations around Gio Gonzalez this offseason is that he had a very good 2012..." - "WBC: Breaking Down Team USA's Starting Rotation" - Michael Zimmermann, Call to the Pen

• "Plenty To Love From The 'Scrubs' In 6-4 Nats Win" - Luke Erickson,

• "40 Pounds Lighter, Chad Cordero Attempts A Comeback With The Angels" - William Yoder, The Nats Blog

• "Jimmy Johnson Harlem Shake video, featuring Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche?" - Nats Enquirer

• "Ask Boswell 2/25/13 Edition" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• "February 26: Senators Birthdays - Donald Edward Lee B Feb. 26, 1934 Still Living" - "This Date in Washington Senators History" - Art Audley, D.C. Baseball History

• "The Nats pounded out 17 hits and Gio Gonzalez and the kids beat the Mets 6-4 and got a chance to show off some of the more prized assets in the system." - "Washington Nationals Spring Training: Nats put prospects on display against Mets" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page


[MUST READ] Mets: "On Friday, February 22, I was able to chat with the Mets' vice president of player development and scouting about all sorts of things related to the organization." - "A Spring Training Chat With Paul DePodesta" - Chris McShane, Amazin' Avenue

Phillies: "[Cliff] Lee threw his first pitch of spring training at 1:07 p.m. Monday. He walked off the mound 20 minutes later having fired 29 pitches in two nonchalant innings of the Phillies' 10-1 loss." - "Cliff Lee consistently effective for Phillies" - Matt Gelb, Philadelphia Inquirer

Marlins: "He spoke about the past, but Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria wants everyone focused on the future." - "Miami Marlins: Jeffrey Loria discusses past failures, anticipates future successes" - Juan C. Rodriguez, South Florida

Braves: "Two pitches after Jason Heyward lined a home run over the right-field fence in the fourth inning Monday, Justin Upton hit one over everything in left field at Champion Stadium." - "J. Upton's first Braves hit is epic homer" - David O'Brien,