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Washington Nationals vs Houston Astros: Grapefruit League GameThread

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Washington and Houston meet up in their shared spring home at 1:05 PM ET with Austin Voth on the mound for the Nationals against Astros’ righty Nivaldo Rodriguez. FOLLOW: Radio only via MLB.com.

MLB: Washington Nationals-Workouts Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

How was the experience of playing in front of fans again in the Grapefruit League opener in Jupiter, FL’s Roger Dean Stadium on Sunday?

“I mean this full-heartedly,” Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters after a 4-4 tie in the first game of the spring with the St. Louis Cardinals.

“It was nice to see the fans, it really was,” Martinez said.

“I mean, I’ve said this before. We miss them. And they are a huge part of our game. So, the guys were excited to see fans out there today, and it was a lot of fun.”

“I just like seeing people out there, seeing energy in the stadium,” Trea Turner said, after he went 1 for 2 with a single in his first at bat of the 2021 campaign.

“I think that’s what makes the game special, being able to share it with the fans.

“We didn’t get a chance to do that last year for obvious reasons, but just having even a small percentage of the people in the stadium is nice for us, I know we appreciate it.”

This afternoon, Washington gets to play in front of their spring home crowd in West Palm Beach, FL’s FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, where they meet up with the Houston Astros in their shared Spring Training facility.

While they’re starting with smaller crowds for now, the hope, both Martinez and Turner said, is that they’ll eventually be playing in front of more fans as the season goes along this year.

“Across the board, all players want people in there,” Turner said.

“And hopefully over the course of the season we can get more and more and share the moments again.”

“Hopefully in the near future we’ll start getting a lot more fans in the stands and we’ll get back to some kind of normalcy,” Martinez added.

“I know the guys were excited to play today, they’ve been waiting a long time to get back on the field playing another team, and that was exciting.”

Now they get to return to competitive action in West Palm Beach.

HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP VS THE ASTROS IN THE HOME OPENER: