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Washington Nationals Grapefruit League GameThread: Nationals at Mets

The Washington Nationals are in Port St. Lucie, Florida this afternoon to take on the New York Mets in a 1:05 PM EDT Grapefruit League game. A.J. Cole takes the mound today against Mets' right-hander Jacob deGrom.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After yesterday's 9-2 win over the Detroit Tigers in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium, Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams announced that the scheduled starter for this afternoon's game in Port St. Lucie's Tradition Field, Stephen Strasburg, would miss the outing after having a surgical procedure to take care of an ingrown toenail.

"'Stras had an ingrown toenail," Williams told reporters, including MASN's Chris Johnson. "'So we're going to have him throw on the minor league side where we can control innings.'"

"Depending on the day he can touch mid-to-high 90s with his fastball and a curveball with feel to go with it. That's unique..." -Matt Williams on Nats' prospect A.J. Cole

In Strasburg's place today will be A.J. Cole, the Nationals' 23-year-old, 2010 4th Round pick. Cole, Williams said last week after watching the right-hander throw a live bullpen session, is young and still growing into his body.

"He's tall," Williams said of the 6'5'' starter. "He's got great leverage and he's getting stronger, certainly, by the year. This year he came into Spring Training looking great. Of course we know about his fastball and his curveball. Depending on the day he can touch mid-to-high 90s with his fastball and a curveball with feel to go with it. That's unique in that he's got the feel and velocity at the same time."

The right-hander, who was drafted in 2010, traded to Oakland in 2012 and reacquired a year later, went (6-3) with a 2.92 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 15 walks (1.90 BB/9) and 61 Ks (7.73 K/9) in 14 starts and 71 IP at Double-A Harrisburg in his second season back with the Nats last year. He moved up to Triple-A Syracuse to end the campaign and went (7-0) in 11 starts, with a 3.43 ERA, a 4.48 FIP, 17 walks (2.43 BB/9) and 50 Ks (7.14 K/9) in 63 IP.

Cole takes on the Mets this afternoon...

Here's the lineup that will take the field behind Cole for today's matchup with the Mets:

NOTE: Today's 1:05 PM EDT game is available via SNY in the NY Metropolitan area and on elsewhere.

Who's watching the Nationals?