VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals will get a rare morning off on Thursday when they play their first home night game of the season. The game, which will be broadcast on MASN at 6:05 p.m., means even the players not scheduled to play will have their workout in the afternoon.
Here are a few notes to tide you over until then:
– Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche will return to the Nationals’ lineup on Thursday. Both veterans got into their first game action on Wednesday but with two home games back-to-back, manager Davey Johnson is using it as a chance to get guys who don’t normally travel much some playing time.
Werth and LaRoche were a combine 0-for-4 on Wednesday but they weren’t alone as the Nationals mustered just three hits against the Marlins in a 5-1 loss.
– Wilson Ramos could get into games as the designated hitter as early as next week, Johnson said, but Ramos still has to be cleared by doctors to slide and Nationals medical director Wiemi Douoguih isn’t expected back in Nationals camp to examine Ramos until this coming weekend at the earliest.
– Ryan Zimmerman was expected to expand his throwing program again on Wednesday, moving up from 90-foot throws as he continues to progress in strengthening his shoulder. Johnson said he, too, could be DH-ing by next week, but both were guesstimates on the manager’s part.
– Will Ohman, one of the lefty relievers in camp to compete for a bullpen job, is dealing with a hamstring strain and hasn’t pitched in a game yet.
– Christian Garcia (forearm/wrist strain) is hoping to play catch by the beginning of next week. Garcia said the tightness in his wrist has improved. “It’s still there,” he said. “It’s just lessened.”
– Tyler Clippard is expected to see his first game action on Friday. Clippard has been easing in this spring, a calculated move by the Nationals for the reliever with one of the heaviest workloads in the major leagues the past few seasons.
– The Nationals came into spring training with a pretty good idea of the 25 guys who would make up their roster when the regular season began. Asked on Wednesday if the workouts or the first few games of the Grapefruit League season had altered any of that thinking, Johnson was frank: no.
The manager did allow that he would “keep an open mind” about right-hander Cole Kimball. Kimball has made a remarkable comeback from 2011 rotator cuff surgery and while it’s still most likely he starts the season closing at Triple-A, particularly given how crowded the Nationals’ bullpen could be, Johnson did not close the door on him.
– Bryce Harper will get a day off on Thursday. But in the lineup Johnson had written out before he decided to give the 20-year-old the night off Harper was batting third behind Jayson Werth in what looked to be close to a possible regular-season lineup with the only regular not slated to play being Zimmerman.