Spring training, Phil Rizzo and more

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Sorry to not get this up before now, but as you might be able guess, I had to take care of some paperwork today. Apparently it had something to do with the lack of Nats fans in the Northwest U.S.

Anyway, here’s the Nats news for the day.

—The team finally released its spring training schedule this morning (the whole thing is available here). Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 19, and the Nats play their first game March 4. The slate, as we wrote earlier in the week, shows the effects of all the teams that have left the eastern part of Florida, either for the Gulf Coast or for Arizona. Most of the Nats’ games are against six teams (the Marlins, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Tigers and Mets), and none are less than an hour from the team’s spring training complex in Viera.

—The team also continued its offseason makeover by adding another veteran scout to the front office whose name might sound familiar: Phil Rizzo. Yes, Mike Rizzo’s father has joined the team as a senior advisor to the GM. The two have worked together before, and while the father/son relationship certainly helped set this up, the elder Rizzo’s credentials are legit: He’s been a scout for more than 40 years, discovered Brandon Webb with the Diamondbacks and was one of eight inaugural inductees to the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame last year.

As for the situation at our paper…you’ve probably heard by now that there are major layoffs coming to the Times, and while we haven’t been told anything for sure yet, sports could be hit hard, possibly even wiped out completely. But until that happens, it’s business as usual around here. Which means Mark and I will keep working hard to give you the best Nats coverage you can find anywhere. I’ll be at the Winter Meetings next week, and I’ll try to set up another live chat, either from Indianapolis or in the day or two after.

Thanks to everyone who’s e-mailed us or sent well wishes on Twitter. It means a lot to know how much you value what we do. There’s a lot of turmoil in this business right now, and plenty of reasons to be frustrated with it, but the knowledge that people care about what you’re doing is one of the most rewarding things about it. So thank you again.

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