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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talks; Joe Ross starts + more Nats links

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you wait to see if the Nationals add another reliever after they let one go this past weekend...

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Is Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo optimistic about the possibility of having fans in the stands in the nation’s capital at some point this season? You know Rizzo, he’s an optimist.

“I’m an optimistic person,” Rizzo said on a Zoom call with reporters on Monday morning.

“I think that we’re optimistic. We’re working hard hand in hand with them to do the right thing and keep not only the citizens of the DMV safe, but to do it the right way.

“And I think when we team up we’ll come together and get something that works everybody.”

Go read your links, and hopefully we’ll see you at the park in 2022 or something...

NATS BEAT:

Jeffress Released:

Nats won't detail Jeffress decision; Lester back in camp - (MASN)
"Though they will not reveal any reasons for Sunday’s release of reliever Jeremy Jeffress, the Nationals are acknowledging the surprise move was not for baseball reasons."

Rizzo Talks:

Mike Rizzo talks Juan Soto, Trea Turner extensions - (MLB.com)
"In addition to determining a fifth starter, the Nats also have to weigh an abundance of options for their bullpen."

Rizzo: Nationals’ release of Jeremy Jeffress unrelated to on-field performance - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Rizzo described the personnel matter as an 'employment issue' that was not related to on-field performance."

Ross Starts:

Joe Ross feels good in first spring outing - (MLB.com)
"On Monday, Ross returned to action for the Nationals after electing not to play last season."

Joe Ross returns to Nationals after opting out - (WaPost)
“Welcome back, Joe Ross. Here are Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor and Michael Conforto to face in your first live inning since March 7, 2020.”

Pitching in his first game in a year, Ross feels right at home - (MASN)
"Ross has experienced the feeling of a return to game action after a long layoff due to injury."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Nats 1 of just 5 MLB teams with no plans for fans on Opening Day, but could that change? - (WJLA)
"Washington is now just one of five MLB teams that have not announced plans to allow fans in the stands in time for Opening Day, which is April 1 this year."

Nats GM won't say why Jeffress was cut, but not for on-field - (USA TODAY)
"Asked to define the term he used in relation to the move, Rizzo responded, 'A "personnel reason" is an employment issue.'"

John Angelos Talks MASN App and Washington Nationals - (105.7 the FAN Baltimore)
"When talking about the legal battle with the Washington Nationals, John [Angelos] says 'It’s unfortunate that this has become a distraction' but he’s happy that he believes the end of the battle is near."

Top 10 picks for MLB Comeback Players of the Year: Bowden's predictions to watch – (The Athletic)
"When I was the general manager of the Reds and Nationals, I had several players win the comeback award including Ron Gant (1995) and Eric Davis (1996) in Cincinnati, and Dmitri Young in Washington (2007)."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Remembering Rheal Cormier, a Phillie who was, quite simply, good people - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"Rheal Cormier threw his last pitch in a Phillies uniform 15 years ago, yet I find myself thinking about him often. I really do."

Top prospect performers March 8 - (MLB.com)
"Braxton Garrett, LHP, Marlins - In his second Spring Training appearance, Garrett kept his ERA at 0.00."

Mets' defense struggling in spring training - (New York Daily News)
"Errors or mental lapses, whichever they may be, the Mets must start playing better defense sooner rather than later."

5 things Braves: HR leaders - (AJC.com)
"Six times, Atlanta Braves players have accomplished what no Houston Astro has been able to since the franchise was incepted in 1965: Lead their league in home runs."