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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals announce first round of roster cuts; rotation battle + more....

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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 Tigers...

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

Another round in the battle for the fifth spot in the Washington Nationals’ rotation is done, and who’s leading the fight in your mind?

We’re still on the Joe Ross in the rotation; Austin Voth in the bullpen; Erick Fedde to Double or Triple-A train, but the participants in the race have a few more weeks to make their case or cases.

ALSO: In advance of this afternoon’s Grapefruit League game with Jordan Zimmermann and the Detroit Tigers, the Nationals announced their first round of roster cuts for the Spring:

Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Soto Needs More 0s:

Club "renews" Soto's contract for $629,400 (Nats tie Marlins) - (MASN)
"Unable to agree to terms on their own, the Nationals have unilaterally set Juan Soto’s 2020 salary at $629,400, a source familiar with the figure confirmed."

Juan Soto contract was renewed for $629,400. How can the Nationals do that? - (WaPost)
"After hitting 34 home runs last season, shining in the playoffs and further establishing himself as one of the league’s top players, Juan Soto will make $629,400 in 2020."

Robles/Thames Stories:

Notes: Thames' hustle play; Kieboom has hops - (MLB.com)
"Eric Thames received a heads-up before returning to the Nationals’ lineup on Saturday after dealing with left calf tightness."

Thames and Robles don't hold back in return from injuries - (MASN)
"Thames insisted he felt fine after that 180-foot scamper around the bases. (He was thrown out, by the way.)"

5th Starter Battle:

Ross has first hiccup, still looks like top pick for No. 5 starter - (MASN)
"Ross certainly appeared to have a leg up on Voth for that job before both right-handers took the mound simultaneously 45 miles apart from each other."

Austin Voth continues strong case for fifth-starter spot while Joe Ross stumbles - (NBC Sports Washington)
"In one of the few spring training battles at Nationals camp, the competition for the fifth-starter spot has been tightly contested between Joe Ross and Austin Voth thus far."

Amid fifth-starter battle, Nats keep eyes on Ross - (MLB.com)
"Ross fought through a 24-pitch first inning, during which he felt like he was rushing his mechanics. He struck out one, walked three and allowed three hits."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Notes: Suárez's rotation bid; Arano throws BP - (MLB.com)
"Manager Joe Girardi said at the beginning of camp last month that the Phillies would love to name their No. 5 starter by the middle of March."

Mets' Matt Adams set to practice again after cardiac testing scare - (NY Post)
"Matt Adams said he was nervous when the Mets sent him back to New York to undergo cardiac testing last week."

Spring training is going much better for Braves' Foltynewicz this year - (MLB.com)
"Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz’s erratic 2019 season got an ominous start in his first – and only – spring training game last year."

Lewis Brinson shows improvement in camp - (MLB.com)
"Lewis Brinson has performed in Spring Training before, only to struggle in the regular season. This spring, however, appears different."