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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ “Replacements” stepping up; Nats in LA + more...

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you wait for the ceremonies to end and the baseball to start in LA...

2019 NLDS Game 2 - Washington Nationals v. Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Considering the situation the Washington Nationals are in right now, with a number of their players unavailable following positive COVID tests and contact tracing, you can forgive the club if they had concerns getting back on a plane to travel for their first road trip of 2021.

Manager Davey Martinez told reporters before Wednesday’s doubleheader with the Atlanta Braves in D.C., he was prepared for the trip to LA and St. Louis.

“Yeah, you know, knowing that what happened, happened,” Martinez said. “We went through this last year, and we were pretty good. So, I mean, like I said, we just got to do everything as protocol demands, but you’ve got to sit on the plane, we’re sitting six feet away, so we just got to be careful. I bought some extra Clorox wipes, so I’ll be wiping everything down. We just got to be really careful.”

[wipes down links]

Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Nationals players stepping up early - (MLB.com)
"With 10 players on the Nationals’ injured list to open the 2021 season, there is a supporting cast making the most of their new opportunities."

Washington Nationals replacement players get rare chance amid covid outbreak - (WaPost)
“In a tense moment of the fourth inning, Jonathan Lucroy jogged out to chat with reliever Sam Clay before they attacked Freddie Freeman.”

Should opening series encourage or discourage Nats? - (MASN)
"There are a couple of ways to think about the Nationals’ season-opening series."

The Nationals' Absurd 17-Month Journey Since Their World Series Title - (Washington City Paper)
"It finally happened. On Tuesday, April 6, the Washington Nationals played in front of their fans at Nationals Park for the first time since Game 5 of the 2019 World Series."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

MLB Rosters Include 45 Players From Eliminated Draft Rounds - (Baseball America)
"On the other end of the spectrum, Nationals' shortstop Luis Garcia, a 2020 call-up, remains the youngest player in the majors."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Kevin Cooney: So far this season, Joe Girardi has been handling the 'bull' - (PhillyVoice)
"The early results of Phillies relievers are more in line with what the manager has been in his career."

Taijuan Walker shows renewed velocity in Mets debut - (NY Post)
"Taijuan Walker didn’t want to be “too amped” up for his first start of the season at Citi Field."

Mets walk off with hit-by-pitch in home opener - (MLB.com)
"As home-plate umpire Ron Kulpa rose out of his crouch to begin signaling a called third strike, Conforto turned and pointed to his elbow, indicating that the pitch had hit him."

Ten things to know about Braves home opener Friday - (AJC.com)
"The Braves will play their first home game of the season Friday night against the Philadelphia Phillies."