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Washington Nationals reportedly dismiss athletic training staff in latest changes

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According to a report by Washington Post writer James Wagner late on Saturday night, the Washington Nationals have dismissed their athletic training staff, continuing the house-cleaning after a disappointing and injury-filled 2015 season.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

After the Washington Nationals dismissed two members of the front office, second-year manager Matt Williams and the entire coaching staff, Nats' GM Mike Rizzo was asked on a conference call with reporters if there were more changes to come after a disappointing season in the nation's capital which saw the defending NL East champions finish 83-79, in second place in the division, 7.0 games behind the New York Mets.

"Like I said up to the end of the season, we’re looking from the top of the organization to the bottom of the organization," Rizzo responded.

"We’re certainly going to look at every aspect of our organization, from major league roster down to our minor leagues to our medical strength and conditioning all the way through the entire organization..." -Mike Rizzo on potential changes for the Nationals this winter

"We feel that we’re positioned well with our franchise at this time, but we’re certainly going to look at every aspect of our organization, from major league roster down to our minor leagues to our medical strength and conditioning all the way through the entire organization to find what’s best for us and what gives us the advantage to go forward in 2016 and beyond."

Speaking about the difficulties Williams faced in his second season on the bench, Rizzo did acknowledge the role that injuries played in the Nationals' struggles.

"A lot of injuries that came into play, a lot of lineups that we had to adapt and make up as the season went along," he explained.

"So Matt had to navigate a lot of rough waters and a lot of trials and tribulations that maybe he didn’t have to in the previous season."

While some of the injuries were obviously unavoidable, the Nationals did apparently decide to clean house on the medical strength and conditioning end as well.

According to a report from Washington Post writer James Wagner on Saturday night, "multiple people familiar with the situation" said the Nationals dismissed the athletic training staff, including, "... head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz, assistant trainer Steve Gober and strength and conditioning coach John Philbin on Friday."

Kuntz, the WaPost report notes, was the head athletic trainer for the Nationals since 2007. Gober was a minor league trainer and rehab coordinator since '02 and the Nationals' athletic trainer since 2013. Philbin joined the Nats in 2009.