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Wire Taps: Nationals drop Grapefruit League opener; Dave Martinez debuts as Nats’ manager + more...

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news after the 2018 Grapefruit League opener and prepare for more Nats baseball again this afternoon...

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MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at Houston Astros Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Asked about managing a Grapefruit League game for the first time on Friday afternoon, new Nationals’ skipper Dave Martinez told reporters that after an emotional anthem, it really was just another game.

“It’s funny, once I got to the dugout after the anthem, it was just another spring training game,” Martinez explained, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after the 3-2 loss in a quick, clean opener. “Making moves. Trying to get guys in and out. But it was fun.”

The good thing for the first-year skipper and fans in the nation’s capital: We get to do it all over again today, and tomorrow, and pretty much every day from here to October, and for the 2018 Nats, hopefully beyond.

While you wait for the second game of the Spring today, you can catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news...


Martinez's dugout debut "just another spring training game"
"Davey Martinez had never stood at the head of the line for a national anthem before, and this was a particularly poignant anthem..."

Nationals' Tommy Milone strong in spring debut
"It was just another Spring Training game,' [Martinez] said. 'Making moves, trying to get guys in and out. But it was fun. The boys played well.'"

For Kendrick, decision to return to D.C. was "easy"
"But despite seven separate trips to the postseason, Kendrick has yet to find himself playing in late October."

For the Nationals, the question is who will take the fifth (spot in rotation)
"The Nationals and Arrieta’s camp had discussions about the right-hander during the winter. Washington communicated a price it was willing to pay."

Entering 7th season in DC, Gio Gonzalez looks ahead
"There’s a saying that you can’t change the past, but you can change the future. Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez is trying to live by that motto."

Mike Rizzo happy with Nationals' roster
"'We kind of got our shopping done quickly,' Rizzo said. 'We had a strategy going into the offseason and I think we fulfilled the strategy...'"


Why MLB teams go to Arizona, Florida for spring training
"The Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies were among the first teams to travel to Florida for spring training, doing so in the late 1800s."

Baseball is back at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, as players honor Stoneman victims
"Both the Astros and their opponent the Washington Nationals wore the cap of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglass high school baseball team."

Alex Cora, Dave Martinez, Ron Gardenhire get quizzed about their new teams
"We caught up Ron Gardenhire of the Detroit Tigers, Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox and Dave Martinez of the Washington Nationals to see how much random trivia they knew about their new teams."

Poll: Which MLB slugger is most likely to challenge Barry Bonds’ home-run record in 2018?
"The case for him is that he hit a league-leading 42 homers as a 22-year-old in 2015, he’s still only 25, and he’s one of the best players in the league when he’s healthy."

MLB projections 2018: Predictions, odds for World Series, postseason
Dayn Perry writes: "The Indians win the American League pennant. The Nationals win the National League pennant. The Indians win the World Series in six games."


Kolby Allard among top prospect performers
"No. 58 overall prospect Kolby Allard threw a scoreless frame for the Braves. The 20-year-old walked the first batter he faced, but then induced a ground-ball double play and a flyout to finish off the outing."

Financial secrets of the Miami Marlins a target in Loria suit
"The finances of the Miami Marlins have always been one of the most sought-after secrets in local sports. Now a judge might start exposing them."

Callaway shows accountability more than just a buzzword
"Mickey Callaway passed his first managerial exam with flying colors Friday while Dom Smith failed another Mets test."

Phillies pitcher Francisco Rodriguez still has the desire to return to the once-great K-Rod form - Philly
"The righthander returned to the mound Friday for the first time in 7 months, pitching a scoreless inning in a 2-1 Grapefruit League loss to Toronto. Rodriguez was back."