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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals on MLB Network today; Jayson Werth's progress

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The Washington Nationals and Houston Astros will be on the MLB Network this afternoon as Max Scherzer takes the hill in Osceola County Stadium. Before today's game, catch up on the last 24 hours of Nats news, links and tweets, all in one place...

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Don't get me wrong, I love baseball on the radio, especially when it's Charlie and Dave calling the action as they did on Thursday, and I'll likely take advantage of the new MLB.tv feature that allows you to sync the radio call with the televised games this season, no offense to FP and Bob. But... with only a limited number of chances to catch Grapefruit League action on television, each game seems more like an event. This afternoon, the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros' matchup from Kissimmee, Florida's Osceola County Stadium, which features Max Scherzer on the mound for the Nats, will be broadcast live on the MLB Network and MLB.tv. You can watch Scherzer, the $210M man, make his fourth start of the Spring in a 1:05 PM EDT game. Who's going to miss that? You'll have to wait until this afternoon though. What will you do until then? How bout reading some links? That'll keep you busy...

THE BIG STORY!!:

• "'He knows the rules better than anybody I’ve ever been associated with,' Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said." - "Playing by the rules keeps Bob Miller employed" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

Nationals' Rotation Chatter: OD starter? Gio's 3rd start + more

• "Strasburg still has the best pure stuff on the staff, even with Scherzer here, and that’s essentially why he has drawn the Opening Day assignment each of the past three seasons..." - "Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Max Scherzer: Who should start on Opening Day?" - Barry Svrluga, The Washington Post

• "The Nats potentially had a one-out rally going in the first. Cue the "Benny Hill" theme as I attempt to explain what happened." - "Nationals Pastime: Five strikeouts for Gonzalez, Nats run into trouble (0-0 final in 10)" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com

• "Both starting pitchers, Washington's Gio Gonzalez and Detroit's Anibal Sanchez, turned in stellar starts during Thursday's game..." - "Gio encouraged after sharp outing vs. Tigers" - Jamal Collier, nationals.com

• "Manager Matt Williams continues to say that Roark is preparing as a starter during spring training, although he's made only one start and that was on the road in a split-squad game..." - "Nationals Pastime: Williams isn't concerned with Roark, Werth to see minor league game action tomorrow" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com

• "Ramos helped guide Gonzalez throw four scoreless innings, and the southpaw held the Tigers' offense to two hits and a walk while striking out five." - "Batterymates Ramos, Gio trade credit for terrific start" - Jamal Collier, nationals.com

• "Last year, Gonzalez battled shoulder soreness. He says he 'worked his tail off' this offseason to get his shoulder in shape." - "Bulked up Gio Gonzalez feels ‘fantastic’ in strong third outing" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

•"Ramos is heading into his fourth season working with Gonzalez behind the plate. and seemed to also be particularly impressed with the left-hander's work against the Tigers lineup." - "Nationals Pastime: Gonzalez and Roark lead Nats in scoreless tie, Werth still aiming for opening day" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com

• "'Spring Training numbers are Spring Training numbers,' manager Matt Williams said. Roark did not completely see it that way." - "Roark ends uneven stretch with 2 scoreless frames" - Jamal Collier, nationals.com

We Want Werth! We Want Werth! But Get Healthy First!!:

• "Now Werth's shoulder has improved quickly enough that he is slated to play defense in a Minor League game on Friday, his first game action of the spring." - "Werth progressing, set to play defense in Minors game" - Jamal Collier, nationals.com

• "Between the shoulder pain and operation that has slowed his start here in spring training plus the brief five-day jail stay for driving too fast, it's hard to imagine many more interesting winters." - "Werth trying to make opening day after interesting winter (surgery, jail)" - Jayson Werth, CBSSports.com

Nats Prospect Chatter: Ross fitting in; Difo to P-Nats

• "Ross, 6-foot-4 and athletic, may be the hidden gem of the deal." - "New Nationals prospect Joe Ross fitting in at minor league camp" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

• "Grace likewise impressed in his first big-league camp, building off a breakthrough season in which he posted a 1.17 ERA in 50 combined appearances at Syracuse and Class AA Harrisburg." - "Nationals send Grace, Butler to Syracuse; Difo to Potomac" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez took a major step forward in July and August last season." - "Reynaldo Lopez's ability to maintain velocity built during offseason program" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Williams liked what he saw from Difo, who will turn 23 in April, making him one of the youngest players in big league camp." - "Lefty Grace, catcher Butler, infielder Difo reassigned" - Jamal Collier, nationals.com

NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Who's starting on Opening Day!! TELL US!!

• "So while no one's saying anything officially, even the participants can read the writing on the clubhouse wall." - "Nats don't name Opening Day starter but you could probably guess it" - Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com

• "Gio Gonzalez was equally as impressive, pitching four innings of two-hit ball. He struck out five." - "Detroit 0, Washington 0: Tigers' final score not a misprint" - Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press

• "'I never really got a solid position until 2011 when Adam LaRoche went down,' Morse said. 'I played first pretty much every day." - "Michael Morse, Martin Prado happy to focus on one role with Miami Marlins" - Christina De Nicola, FOX Sports

• "Yes, Dan Uggla gets a San Francisco Giants World Series ring. The news came via text from Giants traveling secretary Bret Alexander back in January. The delicious text read: 'What's your ring size?'" - "What does Uggla get for 11 at-bats by the Bay? Why, a ring, of course" - Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com

• "The race for the fifth spot in the Astros' rotation will be on display Friday when Sam Deduno and Asher Wojciechowski face the Washington Nationals at Osceola County Stadium." - "Astros report: Deduno, Wojciechowski make their pitch for No. 5 spot" - ose de Jesus Ortiz and Evan Drellich, Houston Chronicle

• "'Listen, Washington came in (last year) and made Safeco look real small,' McClendon said. '(Nelson) Cruz hit the ball out (against Felix Hernandez) and made it look small.'" - "Think Safeco Field is tough on hitters? McClendon begs to differ" - Bob Dutton, Mariners Insider - The News Tribune

• "'I went from the Florida Marlins to the Arizona Diamondbacks, from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Washington Nationals (as a coach) and then the Astros. I changed teams as a player." - "Porter puts Astros in rearview mirror" - Jose de Jesus Ortiz, Houston Chronicle

NL EAST UPDATES: Mets' bullpen; Phillies' prospect; Yelich comps; Banuelos and Martin?

Mets: "The Mets arrived at spring training with a high-octane quartet in the back end of their bullpen." - "With Josh Edgin out and Vic Black having shoulder issues, Terry Collins is worried about bullpen" - Marc Carig, Newsday

Phillies: "After his first month in Phillies camp, however, [Maikel] Franco has had trouble keeping his bat in gear." - "Phillies Notebook: Franco searching for his swing" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News

Marlins: "Yesterday, the Marlins agreed to sign outfielder Christian Yelich to a deal that guarantees him at least $51 million over seven years, locking up one of the game’s best young players." - "The Similarities of Christian Yelich and Mookie Betts" - Dave Cameron, FanGraphs Baseball

Braves: "When Spring Training began, Cody Martin and Manny Banuelos did not seem to be in the running to begin this season in Atlanta's bullpen." - "Martin, Banuelos boosting chances of securing bullpen spots" - Mark Bowman, braves.com