PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The Washington Nationals didn’t bring too many of the players who figure to make their 25-man roster to Port St. Lucie this evening as they take on the Mets in Gio Gonzalez’s first start of the spring. But they did bring a few intriguing minor leaguers like Anthony Rendon, Zach Walters, Matt Skole, and even some no in major league camp like Michael Taylor and Destin Hood.
As for the rest of the travel roster, there were two players who didn’t make the trip as planned.
– Chad Tracy, who took a pitch off his right triceps area on Sunday, got the day off and manager Davey Johnson said he would give him Tuesday off as well.
Tracy played in darn near every spring game last season as he worked to prove he was healthy and could contribute to the Nationals and he will most likely play in a large amount of them this spring as well. Johnson prefers to play his bench guys often in the spring so they are sharp when their playing time decreases in the season. So giving him a few days off now fell into the “it’s a long spring” category. It doesn’t appear to be a significant issue.
– Micah Owings also did not make the trip as scheduled, getting treatment on his left wrist this morning. Johnson didn’t elaborate much on what the ailment might be, but he did say that Owings was disappointed not to be able to travel for the game. Owings played all nine innings in the Nationals’ spring opener, serving as the DH at first and the moving to first base when Chris Marrero was done for the day.
– Henry Rodriguez said his bullpen session on Sunday was just “so-so” but Johnson indicated that it went well enough for the team to be pleased with his progress. He will likely throw one more bullpen before progressing to a little live batting practice. Chris Young will be on the same schedule and the Nationals will try to line him up so that he can assume Ross Detwiler’s spot in the rotation when the left-hander leaves on March 4 for the World Baseball Classic.
– Wilson Ramos got his knee measured this weekend, one of the steps in his rehab and an important part in order for him to be cleared for more activities (namely sliding). Johnson was unclear how much the measurement meant but he indicated that as long as Ramos is able to get into games by mid-March he saw no reason he wouldn’t start the season with the team. Ramos has not yet been cleared to slide and the doctors would prefer he not even DH until he is cleared to do so.
– Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche will likely get in their first games of the spring on Wednesday or Thursday at home, Johnson said. In such a long spring, Johnson has been giving his veterans more time off early.
– Johnson made a point to note that he has been impressed with the progress Ryan Zimmerman and Danny Espinosa have made this spring.
Zimmerman, who has been hitting on the field while he goes through a throwing program to build strength in his right shoulder, could serve as a DH as soon as a week from now. The third baseman generally only likes about 50 at-bats in the spring, though, so if it takes longer it still shouldn’t be an issue.
Espinosa has drawn raves for the work he’s done to strengthen the area around the torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder and Johnson has been complimentary of the approach the second baseman has appeared to have offensively thus far.