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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals in split-squad action today after 7-3 loss to Miami Marlins last night...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the defending World Series champs play the Marlins (1:05 in WPB - radio only) and Mets (1:10 PM - SNY/MLB.tv).

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MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Hunter Strickland’s home run issues continued last night. Andrew Stevenson keeps getting on base. Aníbal Sánchez keeps rolling heading into his 15th season in the majors. There’s a lot of baseball coming this afternoon, with split-squad action against the Marlins and Mets, so get caught up on the latest Nationals news now before all the baseball gets started. Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Thames, Robles will return to DH on Saturday (Nats fall 7-3) - (MASN)
"[Eric] Thames hasn’t played since Feb. 25 due to left calf tightness, but he has slowly been ramping up activities in recent days and has been cleared to return to the lineup."

Sánchez sharp, Strickland struggles, Stevenson succeeds - (MASN)
"Sánchez indeed looked his best as his outing progressed. He retired the last five batters he faced, three via strikeout."

Strickland's goal for '20: 'Stay healthy and win' - (MLB.com)
"Fun wasn’t always easy to come by. As Strickland worked his way back, he was hampered yet again."

Baseball America Nats No. 3 prospect: RHP Jackson Rutledge - (MASN)
"The Nationals’ core prospect structure is based around starting pitching, and that is exemplified in the selection of right-hander Jackson Rutledge with their first-round draft pick from 2019."

For the Nationals, a World Series title turned balls into keepsakes and dirt into treasure - (WaPost)
"The ball Howie Kendrick shot off the right-field foul pole for the two-run homer in the seventh that put the Nationals ahead had been collected — yellow paint mark and all — and reserved for the National Baseball Hall of Fame."

Anibal Sanchez focuses on location - (MLB.com)
"Fifteen years into his Major League career, Aníbal Sánchez isn’t trying to change what’s gotten him this far."

Three-batter rule could play right into Nats' hands - (MASN)
"As he has studied and contemplated the new rule, the Nationals manager keeps drawing the same conclusion: This could help his team score more runs, thanks to its deep bench of talented hitters."

The Nationals once desperately needed an emergency catcher. They don’t have one anymore - (WaPost)
"The Washington Nationals manager could not come up with an emergency catcher for the coming season. He was stumped."

LOCAL BEAT:

While others focus on repeating, the Nats should keep their eyes on the NL East – (The Athletic)
"Replicating their supernatural 2019 success won’t be easy. Just ask the previous 19 teams that tried to overcome the championship malaise Washington has already begun to combat this spring."

From collecting baseball cards to being on them: Nationals players reflect - (WTOP)
"The Nats’ Austin Voth is 27 years old, so he likely got into collecting when Ichiro Suzuki’s rookie card was all the rage."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Phillies 9, Tigers 0: Jake Arrieta offers advice as rotation race begins - (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"Arrieta did not allow a hit in four innings, but he did walk four batters. He threw 60 pitches, half of which were strikes."

A lighter Jeurys Familia seeking bounce-back season for Mets - (NY Post)
"Jeurys Familia has received strong reviews from team officials for his first three appearances this spring. The right-hander has pitched three scoreless innings, with two hits allowed and two walks."

Alcantara finds rhythm: 'My command was there' - (MLB.com)
"Alcantara was locked in from the outset. Of his first 12 pitches, 11 went for strikes."

Notes: Wright's maturity; Riley keeps mashing - (MLB.com)
"After limiting damage during the third inning of the Braves’ 7-5 win over the Red Sox on Friday afternoon, Kyle Wright acknowledged he likely would have garnered far less favorable results last year."