It's time for competitive baseball! There have been bullpen sessions. There has been live batting practice, but as Matt Williams said recently, "Nothing is ever the same as standing out there and having an opposing jersey on the other team." He was talking about the difference between simulated games like the one the Nationals held while waiting for the start of the NLDS last season, but he's said the same about things picking up once Grapefruit League games get started. And they get started today!
Max Scherzer will be on the mound. Bryce Harper will be in the 3-spot! Jayson Werth isn't game-ready yet, but he's working on it! Did you see the lineup when we posted it earlier today? If not, here's the lineup released by the Nationals on Twitter:
[ed. note - "The one change from the lineup posted earlier is the absence of Yunel Escobar, who is out with what reporters in Florida are saying is 'general soreness'. So Kevin Frandsen moves from the DH role to second base and Mike Carp is the DH now. I guess that's three changes?"]
There aren't too many roster battles, with most of the lineup, bullpen and rotation set, barring injuries, hiccups, etc., but as Williams told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier this morning, there are still questions to be answered now that games will be taking place almost every day:
Williams: "[Ryan Zimmerman] changing positions. Yunel [Escobar] being a second baseman now. Some questions as to roles and how everybody fits in the back of the bullpen. All of those things that everybody's talked about we concentrate on too. So, everybody has worked really hard. It gets really monotonous, for the pitchers especially, because they're PFPing every day, they're doing their work, but they've been focused and they've been diligent about it and they're ready to play games now, which is a good thing. I think everybody is in decent shape and we're ready to go."
Listen to Williams entire interview with Grant and Danny on 106.7 the FAN in D.C. HERE.
Are you ready for baseball? There are two ways to listen to today's game, either on the radio if you're in the New York metropolitan area or through MLB.com's Gameday audio. We'll be listening along if you want to get updates here in the comments section and we'll also post updates on Twitter (@federalbaseball). Who's listening to the Nationals?