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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ 1B duo impressing this spring; Juan Soto in context; plus more Nats links...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you wait to see what Juan Soto can accomplish this season...

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Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

In 10 games this spring, Josh Bell is 7 for 22 (.318/.385/.727) with three doubles, two homers, three walks, and six Ks. Bell, acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates this winter, coming off of a down year with the Bucs in 2020’s 60-game campaign, hit his second Grapefruit League HR in Tuesday’s game, and his new manager, Davey Martinez, told reporters afterwards he’s real excited about being able to pencil the first baseman’s name into the lineup this season and watch him crush homers all year.

“I’m not going to lie to you. I like it,” Martinez said. “It’s going to be nice. Like I’ve said, he’s been working with [Hitting Coach Kevin Long] and [Assistant Hitting Coach Pat Roessler] and the biggest thing for him is like I said, just like [Juan] Soto and those guys, accept your walks, and when you get good pitches to hit, don’t miss them. And he’s really had — so far he’s had a really good spring.

“He’s hitting balls hard, and he’s really working really hard to get better at his defense.

“That’s something that he wants to get better at. He’s doing well.”

Go read your links.

NATS BEAT:

Ryan Zimmerman impressing at Spring Training - (MLB.com)
"If Ryan Zimmerman had any rust from electing not to play last season, it looks like he shook it off before arriving to Spring Training."

Soto, Turner, healthy rotation key for champ-to-chump Nats - (Washington Times)
“'We’re winners, man. We’re about winning,' general manager Mike Rizzo said. 'Our goal is to win, and anything short of not winning is a disappointment and unacceptable to us.'"

Trea Turner vs. Francisco Lindor vs. Dansby Swanson: Who’s the best SS in the NL East? - (NBC Sports Washington)
"So, Turner over Lindor? It’s not as crazy as you think. Since both players entered the league in 2015, they’ve posted identical OPS’s of .833."

García's confidence has never been in doubt - (MASN)
"García has a whirlwind 2020. It began with his first big league spring training, during which he seemed to be trying to take after Juan Soto both in mannerisms and batting stance."

Starlin Castro enjoys strong spring camp - (MLB.com)
"It wasn’t long after Starlin Castro underwent surgery for a broken right wrist last season that he expressed his desire to return to the field."

Nationals' Victor Robles tried to become a player he was not. Now, he's found himself again – (The Athletic)
"In the winter of 2019, after winning a World Series and before assembling the worst season of his career, Washington Nationals center fielder Victor Robles wanted to become someone he was not."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Projections outline Juan Soto's HOF path - (MLB.com)
"Only five players through their age-21 seasons had a higher OPS+ than he has (min. 1,000 plate appearances): Mike Trout, Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, Rogers Hornsby and Ty Cobb."

2021 MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year predictions - (MLB.com)
“Soto’s offensive numbers the past three seasons (.295/.415/.557 slash) are extraordinary, and at 22 with an improved lineup around him, he’s only getting more dangerous.”

D.C. Play Ball event connects kids to baseball - (MLB.com)
"In an ongoing effort to further build tangible connections between baseball and the Black community, Major League Baseball partnered with the Nationals to host a special drive-thru Play Ball event at Matthews Memorial Baptist Church."

Struggling businesses near Nats Park relying on Opening Day for more sales - (WJLA)
"With Opening Day on the horizon, struggling businesses are hoping it will attract new customers."

David Bednar, Wil Crowe, Roansy Contreras impress Pirates - (MLB.com)
"Crowe started his MLB career with some struggles, allowing 13 runs (11 earned) in 8 1/3 innings with the Nationals in 2020."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Baseball is losing fans. Phillies' Bryce Harper has ideas to fix that - (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"One of Harper's ideas to capture casual fans as attendance and ratings drop: Send MLB players to the Olympics."

Mets reliever Miguel Castro's stock is rising - (NY Post)
"In four innings this spring, Castro still hasn’t allowed a hit and has walked just one batter."

Paul Campbell impresses in Grapefruit League debut - (MLB.com)
"Another player inserted himself into the conversation for Miami's Opening Day roster Tuesday night."

Braves Season Preview: Atlanta looks to beat projections once again - (Beyond the Box Score)
"Both FanGraphs and PECOTA agree that the Braves are going to hit. It’s easy to come to that conclusion with a roster that features Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuña Jr., Marcell Ozuna, and Ozzie Albies."