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Wire Taps: Nationals not taking Mets lightly; Nats' minor league rosters set

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The Washington Nationals and New York Mets are back at it again tonight in the nation's capital with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound against 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, Jacob deGrom. 7:05 PM tonight. Until then... links.

H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

While all the preseason prognosticators have the Washington Nationals running away with the NL East, no one in the nation's capital is taking their competition lightly. After the season-opening 3-1 loss to the New York Mets on Monday, Nats' skipper Matt Williams was asked for his thoughts on the Nationals' divisional rivals from NY.

"They're a good team," Williams said. "They're balanced lineup-wise. We saw a little bit of their bullpen today. [Jenrry] Mejia was scheduled to pitch the ninth and didn't so I don't know what that issue is, but they've got a lot of balance in their team."

Mejia felt discomfort when he warmed up on Opening Day, and he's since been placed on the DL with inflammation in right elbow, though no structural damage was found. For now, hard-throwing Jeurys Familia is likely to take his place at the back of the bullpen, according to Mets' skipper Terry Collins. They have options at least.

"They've got some speed, they've got some power," Williams continued. "They've got guys over there that have a track record of being really good hitters. So they're a very good team."

With a very good starter on the mound tonight in Game 2 of 162 in the form of 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, Jacob deGrom. Can the Nats even up the opening series? We'll find out tonight. Until then, links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

NATS BEAT: Desmond's time in D.C.; Uggla's fight

Desmond's E still lingering:

• "For Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann, two homegrown stars drafted and developed by the Nationals, this could be their final season in Washington." - "Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann coming to grips with short-timer status" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "Desmond was offered Elvis Andrus money — $107M. That’s a team discount but not a steep one. I assume that deal is a non-starter now." - Thomas Boswell - "Thomas Boswell defends Ian Desmond" - Kelyn Soong, The Washington Post

Uggla stories:

• "Today, Uggla is Washington's starting second baseman. MLB.com caught up with Uggla recently to talk about his comeback, the Nationals and the Braves." - "Uggla seeing offseason work pay dividends" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com

• "A group of students filed into a classroom at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, on Tuesday morning. The topic of discussion for the day? Washington Nationals second baseman Dan Uggla." - "As Dan Uggla starts for Nationals, Bob Donatelli watches with pride" - Tom Schad, Washington Times

Nationals minors: Affiliate rosters set for 2015

• "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Nationals' Triple-A affiliate, have set their roster for 2015 and it includes several players worth watching." - "Syracuse and Hagerstown rosters announced for 2015" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Normally, pitchers begin a throwing program during the offseason, but the Nationals asked Giolito and Lopez to do that instead in Viera under the supervision of coaches." - "Minor league rosters released; Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez not at Class A Potomac — yet" - James Wagner and Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

• "The Nationals released rosters for their minor league affiliates Tuesday. Noticeably absent from the high Single-A Potomac Nationals are top pitching prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez." - "Giolito and Lopez continue throwing in Florida, will head north in late April (with P-Nats roster)" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "The Double-A Harrisburg Senators announced their 2015 team roster on Tuesday." - "Harrisburg Senators announce 2015 roster, which includes Ross and Voth" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Wilmer Difo, No. 7 on Baseball America’s list of top prospects in the Nats organization, was assigned to the P-Nats, along with 3B Drew Ward (8) and RHP Nick Pivetta (10)." - "Washington Nationals minor league affiliate rosters announced" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

Divisional rivals: Goodbye, Craig Kimbrel, Mets talk

• "'I actually really like striking out, so I’m going to miss him,' Desmond joked. 'It’s terrible,' Zimmerman said. 'It’s sad to see him go.'" - "Are Nationals players sad to see Kimbrel leave the NL East? Nope" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "For sure, one game in the loss column doesn’t spell doom, and the Nats may ultimately be exactly what many expect them to, but good luck telling that to the rest of the division right now." - "Will Mets be Nats’ biggets challengers in 2015?" - Daniel Shiferaw, Nats Insider

• "The Nationals opened the 2105 season with a club-record $163 million payroll, sixth-highest in Major League Baseball." - "Nationals rank 6th in MLB with $164 million Opening Day payroll" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "As Span recovers from a surgical procedure to a right core muscle, the Nationals will get a good look at outfielder Michael Taylor for the next month." - "Nationals will get a good look at Michael Taylor while Denard Span’s out" - Jason Butt, The Washington Post

• "Jayson Werth may be back Monday. Denard Span’s rehab is charging along at an unanticipated pace. Anthony Rendon is "week to week" — whatever that means..." - "Scheduling may help Nationals weather injury storm" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Nats vs Mets; Harper loves Opening Day

• "The Washington Nationals ruined the Mets’ season in 2014." - "Swatting Nats Is Key for Mets’ Playoff Hopes in 2015" - Jared Diamond, WSJ

• "Unfortunately for the Nationals, Harper's solo shot was all the offense they could muster in a 3-1 loss to the New York Mets, spoiling Max Scherzer's otherwise strong D.C. debut." - "Bryce Harper loves opening day just as much as we do" - Israel Fehr, Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports

• "One of the Washington Nationals' chief problems in 2014 haunted them again on opening day." - "New York Mets vs Washington Nationals" - ESPN

• "His excellence continued during spring training. He had a 2.08 ERA, .167 opponent batting average and 0.73 WHIP in 26 Grapefruit League innings." - "Hair we go: Jacob deGrom set for first 2015 start for New York Mets" - Adam Rubin, Mets Blog - ESPN

• "He may have a trophy proving he is no longer a rookie, but Jacob deGrom was not hiding the fact he felt like one on Monday." - "Mets Insider: deGrom fired up to skip sophomore slump" - Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News

• "Forty-six years ago Wednesday — April 8, 1969 — the Mets hosted the Montreal Expos for their first-ever regular-season game." - "Why Mets fans can’t afford to put too much stock in opening win" - Mike Vaccarro, New York Post

NATSTOWN:

• "Nationals fans heading to the ballpark this season must pay to park on the street meters for all home games, the District Department of Transportation has announced." - "Drivers must pay to park for all Nationals home games - even on holidays" - Ari Ashe, WTOP

• "The Wild Things signed their fifth Class AA prospect in as many days agreeing to terms with former Washington Nationals pitcher Richie Mirowski." - "Wild Things sign Nationals pitching prospect" - Observer-Reporter

NL EAST UPDATES: Phillies' O; Latos' issues; Braves 2-0

Braves: "This is being written because the Braves need more people in their corner right about now, at a time when fans are understandably frustrated..." - "Jump on Braves' bandwagon, even if it's unpopular" - Anthony Castrovince, braves.com

Phillies: "If (or, when) the Phillies do strike a deal that sends Cole Hamels to a contender within the next 4 months, you can place a strong bet that the return is heavy on bats, and not arms." - "Offense remains Phillies' biggest issue" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News

Marlns: "Whenever Mat Latos takes the mound, you can usually bank on the right-hander pitching deep into games." - "Considered an innings-eater, Latos can't get out of first" - Joe Frisaro, marlins.com

Mets: "Changing the culture was one of the goals this spring and that is why a veteran like Michael Cuddyer was signed." - "Biggest reason why Mets aren’t sweating the loss of Jenrry Mejia" - Kevin Kiernan, New York Posts