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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals option Carter Kieboom; Ryan Zimmerman hits another home run; + more Nats links...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you wait for the start of the final game of Spring Training...

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Davey Martinez thinks the Washington Nationals have the bats in the lineup to keep teams from giving Juan Soto the Barry Bonds treatment, after he had the fifth-most walks (41 BB over 154 plate appearances) in the majors last season, and the highest BB% (20.9%) in the majors amongst qualified hitters in MLB’s 60-game campaign, as well as getting the most intentional walks (12) in the majors.

“Juan, last year he hit second, he hit fourth, third, I think this year I want him to bat second,” Martinez said, “I want to keep him second, we’ve got Josh Bell, we’ve got [Kyle] Schwarber, we have [Starlin] Castro hitting behind him, and I think that’s going to work. The good thing about Soto is that he understands the strike zone, and we talk to him all the time about not expanding his strike zone, take his walks, and he understands that. The big thing for him is when he gets a pitch that he thinks he can hit, he doesn’t miss them.

“He’s pretty good about making good, solid contact as we all know, but that’s the way I see it right now, where he’d bat second.”

Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Kieboom optioned:

Nationals hope Carter Kieboom finds consistency at plate after demotion - (Washington Times)
"A week ago, with Carter Kieboom mired in a spring training slump, the Washington Nationals gave their first indication that the 23-year-old prospect might not be the team’s starting third baseman come opening day."

Nationals’ Carter Kieboom is swinging through the disappointment of being sent down - (WaPost)
“An hour passed, then two, and Carter Kieboom was still in the batting cages — sweating, swinging like a pendulum — while the Washington Nationals took the field Sunday.”

What's next for Nats after cuts and what Kieboom has to do - (MASN)
"The Nationals livened up an otherwise sleepy off-day on Saturday with a swath of roster trimming that pretty much cements the 26-man roster heading into Thursday’s opener."

Other Nats Stories:

Ryan Zimmerman is ready to head north for Nationals Opening Day - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Ryan Zimmerman has said before that his only knock on spring training is that he'd rather save his best play for the regular season."

Why Max Scherzer pitched for the Fort Worth Cats to earn his first contact - (WaPost)
“Now, three Cy Youngs and a World Series title later, he is 36 and entering the final season of a seven-year, $210 million contract with the Washington Nationals.”

Lester, Corbin both pitch as Nats try to figure out order - (MASN)
"A manager has two goals on March 28: Get everybody who still needs work enough work before camp ends, and make sure everybody’s healthy when the charter plane takes off in 24 hours."

Nats plan to open with Castro at third, Harrison at second (updated) - (MASN)
"Castro was supposed to be the everyday second baseman, but last week’s decision to have him begin taking grounders at third presaged the big moves that were announced this weekend."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Phillies, Nationals and Cubs make notable roster cuts ahead of 2021 MLB Opening Day - (CBSSports.com)
"In and of itself, it's not a huge deal. Kieboom is still 23 years old and there's plenty of time for him to pan out."

The unavoidable areas of concern for some of MLB's top contenders - (ESPN)
"As Washington Manager Dave Martinez acknowledged the other day, however, the Nationals have to at least improve on defense."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Top Prospect Performers March 28 - (MLB.com)
"Atlanta’s 16th-ranked talent Alex Jackson impressed both at and behind the plate to headline Sunday’s prospect performers."

Highly regarded prospect Jazz Chisholm wins Marlins’ 2B job - South Florida Sun Sentinel - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Chisholm batted .268 with three homers and four stolen bases in spring training.

Phillies option Scott Kingery and JoJo Romero - (MLB.com)
"Scott Kingery cannot fix his swing in the big leagues, so the Phillies sent him to Triple-A."

Mets' Jeff McNeil isn't taking his shaky spring lightly - (NY Post)
"Jeff McNeil isn’t taking his underwhelming spring training lightly."