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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals exploring alternatives to Nationals Park due to D.C.’s coronavirus restrictions? For reals? + more Nats news...

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Catch up on a wacky 24 hours in Nationals news with the club now apparently exploring playing home games in Virginia or Florida?

Nationals practice

Is it all a bluff as some have suggested since Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty wrote that the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals are, “unsure whether they will begin this season playing at Nationals Park because of municipal coronavirus protocols ...and the team is actively exploring alternative sites — with Opening Day only a week away.”

Wait, what? The city’s protocol for people who come into contact with those who who have tested positive for COVID-19 requires they do a two-week quarantine, as we saw with Howie Kendrick, Juan Soto, and Victor Robles recently, and, “The District is unwilling to bend that requirement for the Nationals, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation, and the team is wary of its ability to compete under those guidelines.”

So, according to the WaPost report, the Nationals are exploring the idea of playing games in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where their High-A affiliate moved this season, or West Palm Beach at their Spring Training facilities. But seriously, they want to play in Florida right now?

Is this for real? How do you explain moving somewhere with less strict health policies to the players who decided to participate in the 2020 season? Seriously, Florida?

The situation in D.C., Dougherty writers, “... has created doubt about whether the Nationals can operate in Washington.”

For Frank’s sake. Go read your links. Start with that story...

Nationals explore playing away from Nats Park due to D.C. coronavirus restrictions - (WaPost)
“The Washington Nationals are unsure whether they will begin this season playing at Nationals Park because of municipal coronavirus protocols...”

NATS BEAT:

Virginia or Florida?:

Nationals in standoff with D.C. over quarantine rules - (MASN)
"The Nationals and the District of Columbia are engaged in something of a standoff, the team trying to convince local authorities to grant an exception of its strict COVID-19 quarantine rules..."

Relocating the Nationals' opener from DC is fraught with stumbling blocks - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The Nationals are considering alternate sites for next Thursday’s Major League Baseball season opener, and future games, NBC Sports Washington confirmed."

Other Nats Stories:

'Welcome back': Nationals get Juan Soto, Howie Kendrick in camp after delay - (Washington Times)
“'It was tough for me, because I wanted to be back so bad,' he said. 'But I got through all that and now we’re back.'"

Soto, Kendrick, García cleared to work out (updated) - (MASN)
"Soto and Kendrick were among the biggest names among the group of 11 Nationals players who had not initially been cleared to join the rest of the roster at Nationals Park..."

Inbox: Can short slate work in Nats' favor? - (MLB.com)
"The question is, who will be the fifth starter? Erick Fedde and Austin Voth are the top contenders after Joe Ross elected not to play this season."

Nationals need to determine how much to push Juan Soto, Howie Kendrick - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Baseball players are not prone to honesty. They often lie about how they feel so they can play."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Astros coach: One missed strike call vs. Nationals ‘changed the entire World Series’ - (NBC Sports Washington)
“'I still reflect back and I know people will laugh at me but on my screensaver on my computer is the 2-1 changeup that [Greinke] threw to Soto that was a strike that got called a ball in the seventh inning and I think changed the entire World Series.'"

The MLB teams hurt the most by fanless games - (NY Post)
"Man, these folks, so electric at Nationals Park during last year’s postseason, would’ve been fired up to cheer on their defending champions, even with Gerardo 'Baby Shark' Parra gone."

2020 MLB season: How baseball families are adjusting to unusual year - (Sports Illustrated)
“'He made his final decision pretty last-minute,' Heather [Zimmerman] says. 'But there were a lot of factors weighing on us, and on him...'"

NL EAST UPDATES:

Freeman unlikely to be ready for opener - (MLB.com)
"It seems unlikely Freddie Freeman will be ready for Opening Day, which is scheduled for July 24 against the Mets at Citi Field."

Phillies release Bud Norris, add Rafael Marchan and Austin Davis to player pool - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"The Phillies made three roster moves Thursday afternoon, releasing veteran reliever Bud Norris and adding catcher Rafael Marchan and left-handed reliever Austin Davis to their player pool."

Mets' Jacob deGrom eyeing Opening Day start after injury scare - (NY Post)
"After incurring back stiffness during a scrimmage-game appearance earlier this week and receiving a subsequent clean MRI exam, the Mets right-hander Thursday indicated he’s thinking toward July 24 and the Braves."

Rowson: 'Create a great identity here' - (MLB.com)
"[James] Rowson is instituting an 'attack mode' mentality this year as the Marlins' bench coach/offensive coordinator."