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Wire Taps: Nationals win Grapefruit League opener; Zack Wheeler on Bryce Harper

The Washington Nationals battled back to beat the New York Mets in the Grapefruit League opener on Thursday. Up next it's the Atlanta Braves at 1:05 PM today. Yesterday it was Max Scherzer, today it's Jordan Zimmermann. Baseball is back...

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer made his Grapefruit League debut on Thursday. Ryan Zimmerman scooped a few throws at first base. Kila Ka' aihue hit a seventh inning home run to give the Washington Nationals a 5-4 lead. Tyler Moore hit two doubles and drove in a run. The Nats beat the New York Mets they were 15-4 against last season. The best part of it all? There's baseball again today. The defending NL East champs travel to Lake Buena Vista, Florida this afternoon for a 1:05 pm EST matchup with their divisional rivals from Atlanta. The Nationals posted their lineup for Game 2 of Spring Training yesterday:

Jordan Zimmermann's on the hill, for the first two innings at least. Before we move on to the second game of Spring Training, however, let's look back at the Nationals' Grapefruit League opener...


• "For two innings, Scherzer’s stuff was on display. He fired a heavy dose of fastballs, hitting as high as 95 mph, along with off-speed pitches." - "Max Scherzer has some fun in Nationals spring training debut" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "'Scherzer’s biggest takeaway had less to do with numbers than his comfort level in his spring training debut. 'You never know how you’re going to feel the first game,' he said. 'But I like how I felt.'" - "Max Scherzer 'happy' with first spring training start with Nationals" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Scherzer threw 29 pitches, 20 for strikes, without any nerves -- 'I love pitching, why would I be nervous?' he said." - "Scherzer strikes out two in debut with Nationals" - Jamal Collier,

• "'Good velocity, pounded the strike zone,' said Williams. 'He got behind and gave up a homer. But other than that, he was good.'" - "Nationals Pastime: Plenty of firsts for Scherzer and Zimmerman, but not for Escobar" - Chris Johnson,

• "'You've been working hard for the past several months, so it's nice to get out there and actually get on the mound and actually pitch in a game.'" - Max Scherzer - "Nationals win Scherzer's debut on HR by Ka'aihue" - Bill Ladson,

Ryan Zimmerman, First Baseman:

• "Ryan Zimmerman loves to downplay the significance of events that take place on a baseball field..." - "Ryan Zimmerman passes first test at first base" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Throughout the early spring, no one around the Washington Nationals seemed concerned about the team’s new first baseman." - "Ryan Zimmerman starts strong at first base" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

• "A third baseman by trade, Zimmerman prevented throwing errors from shortstop Ian Desmond and third baseman Anthony Rendon by scooping up balls in the dirt..." - "Zimmerman looks comfortable at 1B in spring opener" - Bill Ladson,

NATS BEAT: Gwynn, Jr.; Bell's kicks; Escobar's soreness

• "One of the first recipients of that familiar Gwynn grin Wednesday was Stephen Strasburg, who knows it well." - "Tony Gwynn Jr. reports to Washington Nationals, eager to get back to baseball" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

• "Escobar is not scheduled to play Friday against the Braves in Lake Buena Vista. The Nationals may back off some of his extra work until he feels back to 100 percent." - "Yunel Escobar scratched from Nationals debut with 'general soreness'" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Escobar was due to make his first appearance in a Nationals uniform in a game today after coming to Washington from the A's in a trade in mid-January." - "Nationals Pastime: Escobar scratched from exhibition opener with 'general soreness" - Chris Johnson,

• "'[The back soreness] is natural,' Williams said. 'There's lots of different turns, stuff like that.'" - "Escobar scratched from lineup due to back soreness" - Bill Ladson,

• "Adidas, Under Armour — get this guy a couple of headbands. He’s Anthony Rendon, for crying out loud." - "LOVERRO: Anthony Rendon finding it harder to blend in under the spotlight" - Thom Loverro, Washington Times

• "Bell talked about his love for Star Wars while with the Rays last spring. When asked which character he would be, he said Han Solo." - "Heath Bell, who once compared himself to Han Solo, wears Star Wars sneakers at Nationals spring training" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post

• "Werth took 20 swings on Wednesday morning, mostly dry cuts that included five swings off a tee." - "Normal soreness good sign day after Werth swings bat" - Jamal Collier,


• "Exactly one month before the Washington Nationals will take the field for an exhibition game against the New York Yankees, Nationals Park is an expanse of mud and sand." - "After Winter Classic, Nationals' groundskeepers racing to prepare for Opening Day" - Tom Schad, Washington Times

NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Wheeler on Harper; Nats' rotation

• "Baseball players who've been there will tell you that October baseball is way different than June or July baseball." - "Nationals' wealth of arms could be key to October success" - Richard Justice,

• "'I guarantee you we all saw what Bryce Harper said,’ Wheeler told reporters on Wednesday." - "Zack Wheeler guarantees the Mets will make it hard for Bryce Harper and the Nats to win a championship" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post

• "The Mets hit Max Scherzer but they still lost to the Nationals. This time 5-4 at Space Coast Stadium." - "Mets spring training: 5 things we learned from loss to Washington Nationals" - Mike Vorkunov,

• "Harvey laughed a little when he heard that Wheeler guaranteed the Mets would do everything they could to 'make that hard for' the Nationals." - "Harvey focused on present, not past ahead of first start" - Kristie Ackert, Daily News

• "'Obviously adding [Scherzer] makes them a little better,' Colon said of the Nats. 'But it shouldn't change the way we approach things.'" - "Collins impressed with Nationals' rotation" - Anthony DiComo,

• "Ian Desmond is willing to look back to January when his name popped up in a report that the Nationals had considered trading him." - "Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond not thinking of possible Mets trade" - Mike Vorkunov,

NL EAST UPDATES: Bethancourt's gun; Philstros?; Colon vs D.C.

Mets: "Bartolo Colon didn’t show any evidence of rustiness Thursday, retiring all six batters he faced..." - "In spring debut, Mets’ Bartolo Colon shows why he’s ageless" - Mike Puma, New York Post

Phillies: "For nine innings yesterday, Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro Jr. watched their nightmare from the front row." - "Astros serve as warning for Phillies" - David Murphy, Philadelphia Daily News

Marlins: "Fill in another check box on Giancarlo Stanton's comeback list." - "Stanton comeback 'right on track'" - Joe Frisaro,

Braves: "But this latest pinpoint, laser throw certainly provided the reminder of why Bethancourt has long been considered a special prospect." -"Bethancourt shows off arm when Gold Glovers are present" - Mark Bowman,