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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals release Jeremy Jeffress; Jon Lester returning to club after surgery + more...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before Mike Rizzo finds another reliever out there to bolster the relief corps in the nation’s capital...

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MLB: Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

How about a random Seth Romero update to start your week? Here’s what the Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez said about the club’s plans for the 24-year-old, 2017 1st Round pick, who is in West Palm Beach this spring after making his MLB debut in 2020’s 60-game COVID campaign.

“We’re going to stretch him out,” Martinez explained. “I’d like to see Seth start, and then we’ll go from there. But we’re going to get him stretched out a little bit, get him to pitch, and hopefully somewhere along the line get him to start some games.”

Romero made three appearances in relief last season, before an injury ended his run in the bullpen, but the organization wants the lefty to build up as a starter.

“He’s going to throw, but he’s going to probably throw some live BPs and actually throw and going to have to start throwing in a game here soon.

“But like I said, we’d like to get him stretched out. Here’s a kid that doesn’t have very many innings in professional baseball. So we’ve got to get him built up.”

Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Pitcher Jeremy Jeffress released by Washington Nationals - (WaPost)
“When asked about the decision Sunday morning, General Manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement: ‘He was released for personnel reasons.’”

Nationals release veteran reliever Jeremy Jeffress - (Washington Times)
"The Washington Nationals released veteran reliever Jeremy Jeffress, a team spokesperson confirmed, ending a two-week stint with the club."

Lester to rejoin club Monday, Jeffress released - (MASN)
"The procedure, in which the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is removed from the throat, typically is a simple one that doesn’t require much recovery time."

Nationals' Jon Lester heads to Florida after thyroid surgery - (MLB.com)
"Lester had been feeling tired, and following a consultation with a doctor last week, he chose to have the procedure during Spring Training."

Stevenson picking up where he left off in September - (MASN)
"In five seasons on the farm, he played regularly and put up decent numbers: a .281/.338/.382 slash line with 19 homers, 174 RBIs, 148 walks and 98 stolen bases over 457 games."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Fantasy Baseball Drafts. Targets from the NL East - (Yahoo!Sports)
"We have lots of great options on this squad, including two players — Juan Soto and Trea Turner — who are reasonable No. 1 overall picks."

Phillies news & notes: Andrew Knapp's value, Héctor Neris' new pitch, Bowa barbs – (The Athletic)
"The Phillies hired Saul Forman from the Washington Nationals to serve as a clubhouse analyst. He will be the analytics department’s presence on the ground floor."

NL EAST UPDATES:

J.T. Realmuto expects to be ready for Opening Day - (MLB.com)
"J.T. Realmuto offered a couple reporters a thumbs-up Saturday morning at BayCare Ballpark."

Mets' Edwin Diaz already adopting regular-season mindset - (MLB.com)
"Edwin Diaz’s season, in his mind at least, began Saturday."

When, why and if you'll see some of these big league prospects in the majors in 2021 - (ESPN)
"J.J. Bleday, Miami Marlins - That Derek Jeter is among what is a diminishing number of former players running baseball ops departments probably works for the Marlins' prospects..."

Max Fried cleared to return to Braves camp - (MLB.com)
"Max Fried received the negative COVID-19 test results he needs to return to the Braves' Spring Training complex."