Did you all make it through Tuesday without baseball? Luckily for us all we won't have to do that too often over the months to come. The Washington Nationals are back at it this afternoon, taking on the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter, Florida's Roger Dean Stadium. The good news? It's available on MLB.tv, with the MLB Network showing it on delay later today and Charlie and Dave are calling the action as well. You can hear C&D on 1580 AM WFED. But the really good news?
Gio Gonzalez is on the mound this afternoon [ed. note - "Actually, it's going to be Max Scherzer today."] against Cards' right-hander Michael Wacha when the action starts at 1:05 PM EDT. You have to wait a few more hours, but we're here to help you through. First with the Michael Taylor-themed image we created for last night's story on Taylor and then with all the Nationals-related links, tweets and quotes we could find from the last 24 hours. Honestly, though, there weren't too many stories out there since everyone seems to have taken the day off yesterday to relax and recuperate before the Spring Training action starts up again.
Sort of like the Goonies said (paraphrasing, of course, or actually misquoting), it's Michael Taylor's time up there, and it's link time down here... or something like that. /endvamping + begin links...
Barrett, Treinen... Sure. Sure. Nice arms. Rafael Martin though...
• "A reliever at Class AAA Syracuse last season you probably don’t know much about — his name Rafael Martin — threw his slider at 3,000 RPM." - "Rafael Martin is turning heads with his slider" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
Rafael Martin is a long shot to make Nats 'pen but he's fascinating. Was 2 outs away from perfect '14 minor lg season http://t.co/qFXd4lU2yO— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) March 24, 2015
Bell tolls or something? Heath Bell retires:
• "'What's more important: my kids or the big leagues? I've already accomplished more than I ever dreamed of. Now it's time to help them accomplish their dreams.'" - "Bell's final toll: Longtime closer elects to retire" - Corey Brock, padres.com
Nationals' prospect talk from the WaPost and Jim Callis:
• "By the time they're finished, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon could give Washington the best three-year run of first-round picks in Draft history." - "Pipeline Perspectives: Nats' system has had best five-year run" - Jim Callis, nationals.com
• "In the 10 years since the franchise moved to Washington, the Nationals never had more than two pitchers ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects." - "Nationals feel they’ve won the young arms race" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
Bowden says Harper has to take it to the next level:
• "Can Drew Storen hold down the closer’s job? Can Ryan Zimmerman make a smooth transition to first base? Bowden expects the Marlins and Mets to be better than most people think." - "Jim Bowden says Bryce Harper needs to be a 30-homer guy" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post
Jim Bowden picks Nats to win World Series and says Bryce Harper needs to be a 30-homer guy http://t.co/yTVlfEJ4Ja— Scott Allen (@ScottSAllen) March 24, 2015
NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Bell, Harp, Metal Detectors and more
• "I’d say with every bit of sincerity that this photo is proof Harper is going to hit 123 home runs this year, possibly more! Write it down in pen." - "Bryce Harper Is Very Jacked on the Sports Illustrated Baseball Preview Cover" - Mike Cardillo, The Big Lead
• "Matt Harvey had previously said he would be beating the Nationals in the Mets' season opener, but he's fine with handing the baton to Bartolo Colon instead." - "Matt Harvey says he has no issue with Mets' pitching plans" - Matt Ehalt, NorthJersey.com
• "Williams was criticized for not trusting his cruising starter to get one more out — for, essentially, not relying enough on sentimentality." - "Pitchers Who Play Poker: The In-Game Edge That Mixing Pitches Truly Offers" - Ben Lindbergh
• "Washington's starting third baseman also qualifies at second. He's a line-driving hitting machine with power and speed." - "2015 Fantasy Baseball: Ranking the second basemen" - Stephen Hart, SILive.com
Which pitcher was acquired as a prospect from the Texas Rangers at the 2010 trade deadline? (click for answer) pic.twitter.com/xqiBMT2bSj— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 24, 2015
• "The Nationals released Heath Bell Monday, and today, the 37-year-old reliever said he would retire." - "Sprinting Weirdo Heath Bell Has Retired" - Samer Kalaf, Deadspin
•"The Nats are one of 29 teams adding freestanding, gate-shaped, walk-through metal detectors at select entrances around the ballpark..." - "Washington Nationals set to begin Major League Baseball-mandated fan screening, metal detectors (Video)" - Jeremy Beale, Washington Business Journal
• "Ramos is reconsidering and has begun filing the paperwork to remain stateside permanently." - "Unsafe at home: MLB's Venezuelan stars fleeing country" - Jorge L. Ortiz, Reno Gazette-Journal
• "The biggest issue with Zimmerman is his health. He played in 61 games last season, limited by a shoulder injury that severely affected his ability to make accurate throws from third base." - "Utility players provide fantasy owners with extra value" - Steve Gardner, USA TODAY Sports
NL EAST UPDATES: More Morse; Fredi on Nick; Carter - Not Matt
• Marlins: "To say Morse is happy to be back home playing for the team he grew up rooting for would be grossly underplaying it." - "Michael Morse thrilled to be with hometown Miami Marlins" - Manny Navarro, Miami Herald
• Marlins: "Carter Capps is going back to the minor leagues. The hard throwing right-handed reliever whose fastball has reached 101 mph was optioned to Class AAA New Orleans today, one of six moves made this morning by the Marlins." - "Marlins option hard-throwing reliever Carter Capps to New Orleans" - Tom D'Angelo, Fish Tank
• Phillies: "Domonic Brown says his left Achilles' is healing to the point that he hopes to return in a 'week or so.'" - "Phillies' Brown 'feeling better'" - David Murphy, Philadelphia Daily News
• Mets: "Ever since he became the Mets’ general manager after the 2010 season, Sandy Alderson has generally taken three approaches in discussing the team’s financial limitations." - "Home Opener? Mets Are Hoping for Big Crowd the Night After" - Tim Rohan, NYTimes.com
• Braves: "Markakis completed his latest step in the preparation process when he played right field during the first six innings of Tuesday's 5-3 loss..." - "Fredi confident Markakis will be ready for opener" - Mark Bowman, braves.com