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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ off day links; first roster cuts + more Nats news...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while we all patiently wait for Grapefruit League baseball to return tomorrow afternoon.

MLB: Spring Training-Detroit Tigers at Washington Nationals Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Another off day? What the what? We’ll have to find something to do this afternoon since there is no Nationals baseball being played. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow afternoon, unfortunately, if you want to hear more from Washington’s defending World Series title-holders. Max Scherzer might pitch then, or might not, potentially opting for bullpen work instead. We’ll see. You’ll have to wait till Thursday to see the Nationals play again, unless you’re in Florida. Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

1st Cuts:

Nationals will soon have decisions to make: Fresno or Harrisburg? - (WaPost)
"Long live the 'Midnight Express.' That’s what some in the organization called the red-eye United flight that shuttled players from Fresno, Calif., to the Nationals last season."

C Raudy Read among players headed to minors after Nationals’ first round of cuts - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The Nationals announced their first round of roster cuts Sunday, sending catcher Raudy Read to Triple-A Fresno and reassigning six non-roster invitees to minor-league spring training."

Notes: Roster moves; Eaton update - (MLB.com)
"The Nationals made their first round of Spring Training roster moves on Sunday morning to bring the squad to 55."

Read among first round of roster cuts (Nats lose 7-5) - Nationals Pastime
"Read is the most interesting name among those cut, not because he was in serious contention for a spot on the opening day roster but because he was demoted before fellow catching prospects Tres Barrera and Taylor Gushue."

Nationals make first round of spring training roster cuts - (WaPost)
"Catchers Raudy Read and Jakson Reetz; infielder Drew Ward; outfielder Mac Williamson; and right-handers Jhonatan German, Derek Self, and Paolo Espino made up the first round of spring training cuts."

Other Nats Stories:

With more help, Sean Doolittle hopes this is the year he avoids IL - (MASN)
"During the season’s first half, as experienced late-inning arms like Trevor Rosenthal, Kyle Barraclough and Tony Sipp crashed and burned, it was Doolittle who seemingly had to take the ball every single night to give his team a chance to win."

For Nationals bullpen preparation, a year makes a huge difference - (WaPost)
"[Paul] Menhart is entering his first full season on the job, and has the unenviable task of preparing a bullpen for Opening Day."

Soto, always learning, present for 'pen session - (MLB.com)
"Soto wanted to get a live look at some of baseball’s best pitching as a way to help himself stay in his strike zone. Strasburg agreed."

Fedde impresses, bullpen labors, Kieboom errs again - (MASN)
"Circumstances may have left Erick Fedde in a tough spot to force his way onto the Nationals’ opening day pitching staff, but the right-hander is nonetheless going to do whatever he can to make a positive impression..."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Each division's toughest club to predict for '20 - (MLB.com)
"Best-case scenario: The Scherzer-Strasburg-Patrick Corbin trio drives the Nats to their sixth postseason appearance in nine years, with help from a patched up ‘pen (hello, Will Harris), and young hitters Kieboom, Victor Robles and Juan Soto."

Better plate discipline could move up Robles in Nats' order - (Washington Times)
"Given a chance to play last season, Victor Robles swung right into action for the Washington Nationals. Now they’d like him to swing a little less."

NL EAST UPDATES:

'Art of pitching' fueling Velasquez's rotation bid - (MLB.com)
"Vince Velasquez needs to be more than a guy that pumps fastballs by everybody, if he expects to be the Phillies' No. 5 starter this season. He knows this."

Mets' Jeurys Familia finds difference-maker in new grip - (NY Post)
"Jeurys Familia is working on a new grip for his splitter this spring."

A Brighter Future in Miami? - (FanGraphs)
"This isn’t a bad time for Marlins fans. There aren’t many organizations you could credibly make that claim about following a 105-loss campaign and consecutive last place finishes, but this is Miami, where the standards are comparatively low."

Leadoff: Braves' Acuna, Ozuna hitting under .100 for the spring - (AJC.com)
"Ronald Acuna struck out in each of his three at-bats in Sunday’s exhibition game against the Yankees, dropping his batting average for the spring to .083."