If it seems like things have started up quickly, they have. Returning Nationals’ third base coach Bob Henley talked earlier this winter about the fact that the first official workouts this Spring were only days before the start of Grapefruit League action.
“You’ve got position players reporting and two days later we’re playing a game,” Henley said.
“So after the physicals, you’ve got a couple of days and then you’re playing a ballgame, so a little different than in the past where you had a few more days on the field.”
With Opening Day over a month away, Washington’s first-year skipper Dave Martinez, who is, of course, new to the organization, said he plans to get a look at some of the younger players in camp right now, while bringing the veterans along slowly as they build towards the regular season.
“We’re trying to see all our young guys early,” Martinez explained, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman on Thursday.
“I wouldn’t read into that stuff early. We want to give our guys a chance to see everybody, because there’s so many young guys. ... (There are) some guys that I haven’t seen before. Trying to see them all.”
Getting the start today is 31-year-old left-hander Tommy Milone, who’s pitched for the Oakland A’s, Minnesota Twins, Milwaukee Brewers, and New York Mets after debuting in the majors for the Nationals in 2011, three years after they drafted him with a 10th Round pick in 2008.
Milone was dealt to the Athletics in December of 2011, as part of the package that brought Gio Gonzalez to the nation’s capital.
He signed a Minor League deal with the Nationals this winter after going (1-3) with a 7.63 ERA, 6.49 FIP, 14 walks (2.61 BB/9), 38 Ks (7.08 K/9), and a .317/.361/.610 line against in 17 appearances (eight as a starter) and 48 1⁄3 IP for the Brewers and Mets in 2017.
Milone is in camp competing for a spot in the Nats’ rotation, though it seems more likely he’ll provide some insurance and starting depth in the organization with A.J. Cole (who is out of options) and top prospect Erick Fedde considered the top contenders for the fifth spot behind Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Tanner Roark.
Dave Martinez, who signed with the Nationals in November after serving as Joe Maddon’s bench coach in Tampa Bay and Chicago for the past ten years, will manage his first game with Washington when the Nats take on the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros as the away team in their shared Spring home, recently renamed FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Today’s game is available on the MLB Network (in D.C.) and on MLB.tv at 1:00 PM EST. We’ll post the official* lineup here when it’s available, and you can follow in the comments if for some reason you can’t watch the game. Baseball is back...
At least the Spring Training version of it, which is more than we’ve had (outside of the Arizona Fall and Winter Leagues) since October. So, enjoy.
[ed. note - “ * = WaPost writer Jorge Castillo posted the following lineup and depth chart on Twitter yesterday, but we’ll add the Nationals’ fancy lineup tweet when it’s posted at some point today.”]
Here’s the Nationals’ lineup and depth chart for their opener tomorrow. Tommy Milone gets the start on the mound. pic.twitter.com/ueFdBr5Kh6— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) February 22, 2018