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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ Sean Doolittle on 2020 debut; Howie Kendrick = clubhouse presence + more Nats links...

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

World Series - Washington Nationals v Houston Astros - Game Seven Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

He’s got lightsaber skills, yes, but Sean Doolittle, by his own admission, has not tapped into the full power of the force yet. Sad. Keep up the Jedi training though, young padawan. And that’s all the Star Trek references we have readily available to us. What? Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Healthy Doolittle feels he's 'turned a corner' - (MLB.com)
"After a strong showing in his Grapefruit League debut on Sunday afternoon, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle joked about setting the bar too high for himself."

How a pair of decisions sent two Nationals prospects on divergent paths toward the majors - (WaPost)
"Fans grumbled when they did not protect Sharp, a popular right-handed starter known for his outgoing personality on social media."

Hearing from Doolittle, Sánchez, Zimmerman, Martinez after 3-1 loss - (MASN)
"For a guy who usually makes hay with an array of rising fastballs, challenging hitters to square up a pitch they know is coming at them, that can be a tall order - especially when he hasn’t faced hitters in a game yet this spring."

Sean Doolittle, Nationals’ top relievers easing into spring training - (WaPost)
"There was no radar gun in Port St. Lucie and Major League Baseball’s advanced technology didn’t monitor the game, but Manager Dave Martinez thought Doolittle’s signature high fastball had good velocity and better-than-usual late life."

Nats' mantra: 'Just focus on the now' - (MLB.com)
"Nationals manager Dave Martinez knows that the NL East will feature multiple aces, including deGrom, in 2020."

Howie Kendrick’s value to Nationals goes well beyond two swings of his bat - (WaPost)
"Howie Kendrick is walking into the clubhouse. And that mere act and fact — Howie Kendrick being present — means something for the Nationals."

Martinez on Zimmerman's workload (Nats lose 3-1) - (MASN)
"The calendar has turned to March and Ryan Zimmerman’s line on the stat sheet is not full of zeros."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Effectively Wild Episode 1508: Season Preview Series: Nationals and Royals - (Fangraphs)
"Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller banter about Twins reliever Zack Littell’s powerful affinity for cruise ships and bidding for baseballs from a baseball movie, then preview the 2020 Washington Nationals (12:39) with the Washington Post’s Sam Fortier..."

Mets Takeaways from Sunday's 3-1 win over Nationals, including Jacob deGrom's stellar first outing - (SNY)
"It was a much better outing for Edwin Diaz than his last. After allowing a leadoff double to Ryan Zimmermann, Diaz settled down and got his three outing in the top of the fourth inning."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Could Ranger Suarez elbow his way into Phillies’ starting rotation? - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"At the start of spring training, Phillies manager Joe Girardi said he didn’t want the pitchers competing for the team’s fifth starter’s job to feel as if they had to immediately dazzle him with results."

Mets' Wilson Ramos unveils new-look swing in spring training - (New York Daily News)
"Between being a father to a newborn, tweaking his swing, altering his stance behind the plate and learning how to receive new pitchers, Wilson Ramos is tackling one of the busiest springs he can remember."

Notes: Villar flashes pop; Ureña in control - (MLB.com)
"Jonathan Villar’s first hit of Spring Training was a big one, and it sent a reminder that the 28-year-old can impact a game in many ways."

Freddie Freeman tests elbow, could play Monday - (AJC.com)
"Freeman hasn’t played since the team’s first two exhibition games at the end of last week, delayed by soreness in his surgically repaired elbow."