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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ closer Sean Doolittle and lavender; Will Harris injury issue + more Nats links...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of today’s Grapefruit League game with the Rays...

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

There were two big stories out of West Palm Beach, FL on Thursday: Ryan Zimmerman made it onto the field in Grapefruit League action in February for the first time since 2014, and the Nationals’ new reliever, Will Harris, was shut down with an abdominal issue which will keep the veteran from throwing for the next three or four days, at which point he’ll test it again to see if he can get on the mound for his 2020 debut. Catch up on the latest news now. Or, go read your links, as we’re fond of saying...

NATS BEAT:

Juan Soto's Wild Card game-winning hit broke Eric Thames’ heart - (NBC Sports Washington)
"'We couldn't hear anything. I was leading off that next inning. It was the weirdest feeling. It was like my heart was in my stomach. It was heartbreaking.'"

Notes: Zim's debut; Harris update; Eaton homers - (MLB.com)
"He had been the lone Nationals player yet to appear in a spring game, and he came to manager Dave Martinez this week to say he wanted to get in on the action."

Scherzer on adversity in spring: 'I welcome it' - (MLB.com)
"Max Scherzer’s second start of Spring Training didn’t go as smoothly as his debut -- and he’s glad."

Abdominal issue sidelines Will Harris (Nats, Astros tie 5-5) - (MASN)
"While Strasburg and Corbin’s assignments are now written in ink, there’s uncertainty surrounding when reliever Will Harris will pitch for the first time in a game."

Hearing from Scherzer, Martinez after 5-5 tie - (MASN)
"Scherzer weathered the opening-inning storm, relishing the test of adversity, something that’s not present when starting pitchers ahead of hitters are recording 1-2-3 innings in quick fashion."

Adam Eaton picks up where he left off in the World Series: homering off the Astros - (NBC Sports Washington)
"If Eaton could have it his way, he’d probably like to face the Astros every at-bat. He hit .320 with a pair of homers and six RBIs in the World Series..."

How Nationals' Michael A. Taylor breaks in a new glove - (WaPost)
"His smirk spread into a wide smile. He thought this was silly, uninteresting, something he does every spring, and who wants to read about that?"

Nationals closer Sean Doolittle calmed by lavender oil on glove - (Washington Times)
"Washington Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle moves a glove out of the way as he reaches into a shelf in his spring training locker and grabs a different one, which he then hands over with a simple, if unusual, instruction: 'Smell it.'"

Fewer opportunities this spring for 2019 camp phenom Noll - (MASN)
"Last year’s camp phenom looks a lot more comfortable in his second spring training with the major league club. He knows the routine, understands what’s expected of him and no longer has the appearance of a deer caught in the headlights."

Bryce Harper vs. Juan Soto: Who will go down as the better hitter in Nationals history? - (NBC Sports Washington)
"With a World Series ring fitted for his finger, he’s already achieved the sport’s ultimate prize. The next step is building off a historic start that has him on an early track for—no, no, don’t say it."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

What's motivating Nationals ace Max Scherzer now? - (Yahoo!Sports)
"Max Scherzer won’t tell me what he would be doing if he wasn’t heading into his 13th major league baseball season as the presumptive Opening Day starter for the reigning world champion Washington Nationals."

Mississippi man discovers signed photo of the 1934 Washington Senators in his attic - (WaPost)
"In the attic of what would become his permanent home, Staehling, who retired as Biloxi’s chief administrative officer in 2012, found a pair of relics from the city’s days as the training ground of the Washington Senators."

Fredericksburg Nationals ink radio deal - (Potomac Local)
"There will be baseball on the airwaves in Fredericksburg. WFVA-AM announced it has completed an agreement with Minor League Baseball’s Class Single A-Advanced Fredericksburg Nationals..."

Tipsheet: Competitive fire still burns for Scherzer after championship run - (stltoday.com)
"Our Town’s Max Scherzer has done it all in baseball. He has won three Cy Young Awards. He has won a World Championship.

"He is likely to be a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection. So is there any risk at that Scherzer will lose some of his famous competitive drive?"

Remembering MLB history's most famous breakups - (MLB.com)
"This one didn't start out too bitter. Harper hit free agency expecting a record payday, and Washington -- having fallen short in the postseason and with a couple significant contracts already on the books -- wasn't willing to go as high as it needed to..."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Jay Bruce is among MLB's top sluggers in last 12 years. Where is he in Philadelphia Phillies’ lineup? - (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"Remember Jay Bruce? He started only four of the final 66 games last season because of injuries, including a strained flexor tendon in his left arm that prevented him from throwing."

Ron Darling opens up about return to Mets booth after beating cancer - (NY Post)
"Ron Darling couldn’t tell his father. That’s the first thing the SNY analyst thinks about when he recalls his fight with thyroid cancer a year ago that kept him out of the booth for nearly two months."

Inbox: Marlins' trade options, Chisholm, Kemp - (MLB.com)
"So I would bank on the Marlins retaining all of their starting pitchers, even with prospects like Sixto Sanchez and Edward Cabrera getting closer to being MLB ready this season."

Braves enter '20 confident, hungry to win it all - (MLB.com)
"Possessing a better bullpen and bench than they had while winning their past two NL East titles, the Braves feel good about their bid to win a third straight. Here’s a look at where they stand entering 2020."