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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals happy to have Ryan Zimmerman back; Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber talk + more...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while we try to get our hands on Davey Martinez’s discarded lineup napkins...

When Davey Martinez jots down potential lineup configurations, do they all have Josh Bell hitting behind Juan Soto? Is that what we’re going to see from the Nationals’ manager this season?

“It’s a very strong possibility. I mean, the reason why we got him is he’s hit cleanup before, so regardless of where we’re going to hit Soto, it looks kind of nice to have a switch-hitter behind Juan. A guy that can swing the bat, a guy that can drive the ball, so I think for right now we’re going to try it and see where we’re at.”

Someone please post a comment below about how lineup order doesn’t really matter all that much and “lineup protection” is a myth.

Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Is the Nats bullpen shored up enough to carry the necessary load? – (The Athletic)
"It is unusual for the Nationals to have such a deep group of relievers so early in the year. And it is a welcome development."

Notes: Schwarber on hitting; Jeffress throws - (MLB.com)
"Schwarber took what he learned from Long and incorporated it into his workouts leading up to Spring Training."

Bell, Zimmerman 'excited' to be 1B partners - (MLB.com)
"With Zimmerman back for his 16th Major League season on a one-year deal, the Nats have an experienced duo at first base."

After year away, Zimmerman relishing return to Nats - (MASN)
"Though baseball returned last summer for an abbreviated camp followed by a 60-game season, Zimmerman did not."

The new Nats: Four players Washington hopes will help get them back to the postseason. - (WaPost)
“Bell, Lester, Hand and Schwarber to fill holes on the mound and at the plate.”

Kieboom tries to block out the noise and trust himself - (MASN)
"Here, though, is what Kieboom wants you to hear as he spends his time in West Palm Beach, Fla., getting ready for the 2021 season: He’s going to be fine."

Alex Avila brings experience with Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin to Nationals - (WaPost)
“In a video call with reporters Wednesday, Avila broke down Scherzer’s and Corbin’s tendencies with impressive recall.”

Mike Rizzo says Nationals working with DC officials to get fans in ballpark - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The Nationals are pushing for fans to be allowed back in the ballpark this season after the coronavirus pandemic forced the team to play in empty stadiums last year, President and GM Mike Rizzo said Thursday on 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Speedy Cody Wilson Improves His Swing - (Baseball America)
"In some ways, outfielder Cody Wilson fits right in at big league spring training camp. The 24-year-old non-roster invitee might be the fastest runner and best defensive outfielder in the Nationals' system."

Here is each team's fastest prospect - (MLB.com)
"Nationals: Cody Wilson, OF - The 24-year-old outfielder wasn’t ranked among Washington’s Top 30 prospects at the end of 2020 and (spoiler alert) won’t be there to begin 2021 either..."

After COVID opt-out, Zimmerman 'nowhere close' to retirement - (USA TODAY)
"Back with the Washington Nationals after sitting out last season because of COVID-19 concerns, Ryan Zimmerman said Thursday the time away made him realize he is nowhere close to being ready to retire at age 36."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Could Pache win job in center? He thinks so - (MLB.com)
"But because Pache made the most of the unexpected experience, he will now compete with veteran outfielder Ender Inciarte to determine who will begin this season as Atlanta’s starting center fielder."

Loud and Clear: Mic'd up with Rhys Hoskins - (Phillies - YouTube)
"Pokémon, running drills and so much more ... this mic'd up session with the Big Fella is one you won't want to miss."

Alonso is the one to watch in New York - (MLB.com)
"There has never been a better rookie season in the history of the Mets than Pete Alonso, the Polar Bear, had in 2019..."

Duvall: Marlins' OF can go against any OF - (MLB.com)
"Much has been said about Adam Duvall's impact on Miami's lineup. What has flown under the radar is how his glove might boost the outfield."