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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo on Juan Soto; Luis Garcia ❤️ + more Nats links...

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We’ve all agreed to just move past last night’s 11-0 loss, so just read these Nationals links and then we’ll wipe your memory...

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Rizzo on Juan Soto. The WaPost on Luis Garcia. NBC Sports Washington on the World Series hero Daniel Hudson. The Nationals’ fifth starter competition. Injury updates. Carter Kieboom on not trying to replace Anthony Rendon. Albert Pujols on Rendon being Top 5 in baseball + more from the last 24 hours in Nationals news. Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Pitching:

The skinny on the Nats' fifth starter competition - (MASN)
"For reasons both practical and personnel-related, the Nationals’ competition to determine a fifth starter will likely go on until the end of spring training."

Trio of big name pitchers struggles in blowout loss - (MASN)
"The games down here don’t count, so the Nationals could afford to brush off tonight’s 11-0 trouncing at the hands of a split-squad Cardinals team as insignificant in the grand scheme of things."

Nats being patient as pitchers ramp up - (MLB.com)
"The Nats are in round two of appearances for their starters, expanding their outings from two to three innings. Pitch counts also have been bumped from the 30s to the low 50s."

Daniel Hudson is Nationals’ prime candidate for regression - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Hudson’s strikeout rate was up and ERA way down after joining the Nationals following a trade deadline exchange with Toronto for minor-leaguer Kyle Johnston."

Fielding:

Luis Garcia is on a fast track with Washington Nationals - (WaPost)
"Look at Luis Garcia, looking around, looking like the second baseman, or third baseman — or maybe even the shortstop — of the Washington Nationals’ future."

Mike Rizzo on Soto: 'Ceiling is limitless' - (MLB.com)
"We starting by talking about Soto’s home run against Clayton Kershaw, the back end of back-to-back homers with Anthony Rendon that tied Game 5 of the NL Division Series after the Dodgers led that game, 3-1."

Robles, Eaton, Thames eager to return to field - (MLB.com)
"The Nationals are being cautious with any injuries on the roster this early into Spring Training. Robles has appeared in two spring games (0-for-4 with one run scored)."

Updates on Eaton, Robles, Thames and Harris (Nats lose 11-0) - (MASN)
"Martinez described Robles’ status as 'day-to-day' but said throwing and running are the primary concerns at this point."

Nats' third baseman prospect Carter Kieboom on failing, what’s next and (not) replacing Anthony Rendon - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Kieboom does become frustrated at times. Or so he says. He is the straight-mouthed emoji in real life, never giving over to one emotional direction or the other."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Former NC State shortstop Trea Turner among athletes threatened by Benjamin Tucker Patz - (Raleigh News & Observer)
"A New York sports gambler is facing federal charges in Florida related to threatening social media messages sent to players with the Tampa Bay Rays and other teams, including former N.C. State shortstop Trea Turner who is now with the Washington Nationals, federal authorities said Wednesday."

Martinez looks every bit the top-of-rotation starter he used to be - (stltoday.com)
"On a day when the Cardinals slugged six homers — three each in Jupiter and three more here Thursday as they scored 18 runs for the day — the biggest news was on the mound."

Angels’ Anthony Rendon is a complete talent, wrapped in humility – (Orange County Register)
“'Anthony is probably one of the top five players in the game,' Albert Pujols said."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Inside Joe Girardi's surprise phone call from Yankees' Aaron Boone - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"Thankfully, this past offseason, after Girardi accepted the Phillies' manager job, Girardi received a call from current Yankees skip Aaron Boone that made him feel better about the way he left New York."

Dellin Betances taking big step at Mets spring training - (NY Post)
"Dellin Betances is scheduled for his Grapefruit League debut Saturday against the Nationals. The right-hander, who tore his left Achilles last September, progressed to a simulated game earlier this week."

Nightclub, swimming pool close at Marlins Park
"The Clevelander nightclub at Marlins Park didn't make the team this year.The club beyond the left-field wall at field level has closed. It included a swimming pool, dancers and DJs, and had been a staple at the ballpark since it opened in 2012."

Braves prospect report from Spring Training - (MLB.com)
"Langeliers, Atlanta’s No. 5 prospect (MLB No. 70), and Ball, No. 21 on the new Braves Top 30, have both homered this spring while appearing in five and nine games, respectively."