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Wire Taps: Nationals' Max Scherzer and Bryce Harper on SI's 2015 MLB preview cover

The Washington Nationals have the day off from Grapefruit League action and we're taking the day to catch up on some rest as well, but that doesn't mean we'll leave you without links (and probably 3-4 more stories this afternoon), but first, links!!!

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

If you weren't already aware, today is a rare Spring Training off day for the Washington Nationals. There is no Grapefruit League game this afternoon. I repeat: There is no Grapefruit League game this afternoon.

If it wasn't obvious to you when woke up and couldn't find today's lineup or the pitching matchups, it should have quickly become obvious when you looked around for Nationals news and found that most people covering the team were taking advantage of the day off to rest up as much as possible and run whatever errands they've been unable to run for the last few weeks with Spring Training baseball every day.

Since there is no game to follow, we saved today's links for the afternoon so that you had something to read when you would normally be watching a game. Don't ask questions, that's totally what we did, it was a plan. Let's get to the links. But before that, how about a picture. Oh noes. The mythical SI cover jinx!!!!:

Don't worry, #thereisnosuchthingasajinx.

• "SI cover: 2015 MLB Preview: It’s anyone’s year" - Scooby Axson,

On to rest of the links. Links and lots of them starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

Yunel Escobar makes Grapefruit League debut:

• "When Escobar bats, you’ll notice something instantly." - "Why Yunel Ecsobar twirls his bat, whistles while he plays" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "Most of the focus is on Escobar's transition to second base, where the 32-year-old has only played 21 times in his career, all in his 2007 rookie season." - "Nationals Pastime: Yunel Escobar finally takes the field, Matt Williams still cautious with Anthony Rendon" - Chris Johnson,

• "Nationals second baseman Yunel Escobar played his first game of the spring and showed that he is over his Grade 1 oblique strain." - "Fister does part on hill, with lumber vs. Yankees" - Jamal Collier and Bill Ladson,

• "Escobar, the Nationals’ projected starting second baseman, strained his left oblique during workouts before Grapefruit League action began." - "Yunel Escobar plays first game; Heath Bell released" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

You're going to be O.K.!! You're going to be O.K.!!!:

• "Rendon last played in a spring training game on March 9, the day he hurt his knee making a diving play." - "Anthony Rendon’s knee remains sore, opening day status in question" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

Drew Ward Day revisited:

• "Ward said he wants to get better on defense. He worked on his footwork this past offseason. He has other goals as well." - "Prospect Ward gets brief taste of big leagues" - Bill Ladson,

Don't bring precious metal with you to Nats Park:

• "The Nationals held a demonstration Monday of the new Major League Baseball-mandated metal detection screening procedures..." - "There will be metal detectors at Nats Park this season. Here’s how they’ll work" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post

• "In conjunction with Major League baseball requirements, the Nationals have installed metal detectors at all gates at Nationals Park for the 2015 season." - "Nationals Park adds metal detectors for all events beginning April 4" - Byron Kerr,

NATS BEAT: ST storylines; Harper so overrated

• "The Nationals are taking a break today, enjoying their first scheduled day off of the entire spring." - "Revisiting the Nationals’ spring training storylines" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Taylor has hit leadoff in the minors and is comfortable there. When he gets on, he can use his speed." - "Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "Scherzer acknowledged he was disappointed that he didn't get the nod last year after winning the 2013 American League Cy Young Award with the Tigers." - "Scherzer gets Nationals' Opening Day nod" - Bill Ladson,

• "I asked Nationals manager Matt Williams if there's concern that being tagged with this negative designation could potentially affect Harper's mental approach in an important year." - "Nationals Pastime: Can Bryce Harper silence the critics in 2015?" - Chris Johnson,

• "In addition to releasing Bell, the Nationals optioned right-hander Taylor Jordan to Class AAA Syracuse and reassigned reliever Evan Meek and corner infielder Matt Skole to minor-league camp." - "Nationals release Heath Bell, send three others to minor-league camp" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "'The front office made the decision that they didn't have any roster spots, so they let me go to have an opportunity to go with another club,' Bell said via telephone." - "Nats release reliever Bell among roster moves" - Bill Ladson,

NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Scherzer chatter and more

• "[A.J.] Cole saw his strikeout rate drop in his first full season in the high minors, but he maintained his strong walk rate..." - "It’s A Looong Season: NL SP Stashes" - Paul Sporer, FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

• "In January, the Washington Nationals made the biggest investment ever in a free-agent pitcher..." - "Scott Boras on Max Scherzer as Nationals’ $210 Million Investment" - Joshua Green, Bloomberg Business

• "Bruce Quinn, majority owner of the Hagerstown Suns Minor League Baseball team, said Monday that "we’ve always had an interest" in Spotsylvania..." - "Could Spotsylvania land a minor-league baseball team?" - Jeff Branscome, Spotsylvania

• "Scherzer comes to the Nationals as a potential piece in an immediate World Series contender." - "Jon Lester and Max Scherzer Enter Year One" - Craig Edwards, FanGraphs Baseball

• "His company built Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards Petco Park in San Diego, Miller Park in Milwaukee and Nationals Park in Washington." - "A. James Clark, ‘King of Concrete’ Who Built Arenas, Dies at 87" - Sam Roberts,

• "Patterson, a holdover from the club's Montreal days, was tabbed to lead the Nationals' rag-tag rotation." - "Some of the most surprising Opening Day starters" - Tim Healey, Sports on Earth

NL EAST UPDATES: Harvey's mouth-y; Dom Brown's Achilles' heel; Loria [spit!]™

Phillies: "Domonic Brown hasn't swung a bat or taken any fly balls in the outfield since coming off the field with left Achilles' soreness on Thursday night." - "Opening Day uncertain for Brown" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News

Mets: "As far back as September, Matt Harvey had penciled Opening Day onto his calendar, going as far as to proclaim that he was chalking the Nationals up "as a 'W' on April 6." - "Harvey has no issues not starting either opener" - Anthony DiComo,

Marlins: "Loria made his money in art dealing, bought the Montreal Expos in 1999, sold them to Major League Baseball in 2002 (a part of an orchestrated effort by MLB to dismantle the franchise, which eventually landed in Washington, D.C.) for a six-fold profit..." - "Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria tries to buy forgiveness" - Matthew Trueblood, FOX Sports

Braves: "As the Braves spend the next week determining how to fill the final two spots of their rotation, they are hoping that Mike Minor eventually proves healthy enough to become a permanent part of this quartet." -"Minor's lingering injury opens door in rotation" - Mark Bowman,