With two weeks to go until Opening Day, the Washington Nationals will start to ramp things up down the stretch in Spring Training as they prepare for the start of this season’s full 162-game schedule.
Manager Davey Martinez was asked on Tuesday what’s next for the club in his fourth spring at the helm and how it differs from previous years.
“Now guys have got their feet under them, they’ve played a lot of games so far, it’s getting them stretched out and in games,” Martinez said in explaining the plan for the next weeks.
“You will start seeing guys play back-to-back days, six, seven innings, and things of that nature,” he explained.
“Spring Training has been going well. The biggest thing for me — as I’ve said before — is getting these guys healthy, keeping them healthy, and getting them ready for Opening Day.
“So far camp has been really, really good. Guys are getting a lot of work. We did things a little bit differently this year.
“We wanted to focus on doing a lot more individual work, as opposed to doing a lot of other things that we’ve done in the past. Guys love it, they’re getting a lot more attention, and yet we’re still getting our work in as far as team fundamentals are concerned.”
Thus far, Martinez said, it’s been the usual mix of revisiting the work they’ve done previously and teaching where it’s needed.
“For me every year it’s a refresher course for everyone, you know,” Martinez said.
“And it’s always about the little things. We talk about the 27 outs, 27 quick outs in the game.
“We prepare these guys, we put them in situations during practice to obviously go through those outs and get them accustomed to throwing the ball to the right base, hitting the cutoff man, doing all the little things, bunt plays, all that stuff, so when it does happen in a game, it’s just a reaction.
“With that being said, we’ve covered a lot of different things thus far. We’ve still got some things to cover, but the boys are enjoying it. And I like it. I get to see a lot of different things, especially from individuals and things that I feel like they need to work on that we can get it done.”
Martinez and his ballclub have two weeks to fine-tune things, and then a hopefully healthy roster will head to the nation’s capital for the start of the regular season. For now, it’s more Grapefruit League action...