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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ remaining roster decisions; Spring Training winds down + more Nats links...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you wait to see if the club can get through tonight’s game without any injury issues...

MLB: Houston Astros at Washington Nationals Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Davey Martinez updated reporters on Starlin Castro’s hamstring issue before last night’s matchup with the Miami Marlins.

Castro left a game earlier this week, after he’d started at third base for the first time, when he tweaked something while going first-to-third on a hit.

“Starlin had his MRI and he has a very mild strain of his [left] hamstring, so he’s going to be day-to-day. I’m not going to put a timetable on it, but we hope to get him back soon.”

What’s the plan without Castro in the lineup for now?

“Obviously we’ve got some options, so you’ll see [Josh] Harrison over there playing, you’ll see [Carter] Kieboom playing, you’ll see Luis García playing, [Jordy] Mercer, [Hernán] Pérez.

“Like I said, we still got a few days. We hope to get him back soon, but these guys will all get an opportunity to play in the infield.”

Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

The Nationals have had a promising spring training. Now let’s see if it lasts. - (WaPost)
“If the March performances of Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber and others prove to be prologue, not mirage, there will be fireworks from this Washington offense.”

Nationals must make roster decisions as Spring Training ends - (MLB.com)
"Even though Victor Robles has been thriving in the leadoff spot, Martinez could see a benefit of him returning to the bottom of the order."

Castro MRI shows "very mild strain," Nats trying out "opener" - (MASN)
"Castro, who hurt himself running the bases Tuesday against the Cardinals, doesn’t appear to be seriously injured. But at this late stage of the spring, each day lost carries more significance."

Mike Rizzo vs. Dave Dombrowski vs. Alex Anthopoulos: Who’s the best GM in the NL East? - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The Nationals have been under the guide of Rizzo since 2009. He’s led them to eight winning seasons with five 90-win campaigns, four NL East titles and the 2019 World Series championship."

What to make of Soto's shockingly bad spring numbers? - (MASN)
"The heart of the Nationals lineup has put up some huge numbers this spring. But here’s the strange thing about that: Juan Soto has had nothing to do with it."

Mechanics, not ruptured calf tendon, on Strasburg's mind - (MASN)
"Those are positive developments for the right-hander and the Nationals, who have no reason to worry at this point he won’t be ready when the season begins next week."

Stephen Strasburg aiming to be ready by Opening Day - (MLB.com)
"Strasburg is trying to get himself ready to be in the Nationals' Opening Day rotation after suffering a calf injury that sounded worse than it was."

Stephen Strasburg dogged by command issues in first outing following calf injury - (WaPost)
“While breaking down his outing Wednesday night, Stephen Strasburg slipped in that he ruptured the plantaris tendon in his left calf March 14.”

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

2021 MLB Preview: NL East Defenses – (The SIS Blog)
"The Nationals finished last in the majors in Defensive Runs Saved in 2020 and there are some questions to answer moving forward."

Handicapping the 2021 MVP and Cy Young Races - (FanGraphs)
"It may seem a little bit early to start talking about postseason hardware, but what’s the fun of a projection system if you’re not looking at every way to separate the best of the best?"

MLB National League East Preview: Balanced Atlanta Braves Could Prevail - (Forbes)
"Adding the potentially potent bats of first baseman Josh Bell and left fielder Kyle Schwarber in the offseason could provide additional spark and more power to an already superb lineup."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Phillies schedule: All but 3 games in April will be a challenge - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"It’s not just that the Phillies open the season with 13 straight games against the Braves and Mets. They play 27 games in April and 24 of them will be difficult."

https://twitter.com/AndrewSimonMLB/status/1375168192314769412?s=20

With the clock ticking on Lindor and Conforto contract talks, Mets are prepared to spend big - (Newsday)
“In these waning days of spring training, time is best measured in hours. Friday morning, for example, marks 72 hours until the Mets break camp.”

Marlins 1B/OF Garrett Cooper makes important change to swing - (Miami Herald)
"Garrett Cooper belted a home run in a scrimmage in Jupiter to continue his strong spring. The slugger made one key adjustment that has the Marlins feeling good."

Braves name Max Fried opening-day starter - (AJC.com)
"Max Fried had the best season of his career in 2020. Consider Thursday’s announcement another reward for his breakthrough."