While the Washington Nationals get set to open a three-game set with the National League East-leading New York Mets Monday night, outfielders Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel will take their rehab assignments to Single-A Hagerstown.
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.
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As the Nationals packed up inside the visitors' clubhouse at Wrigley Field Sunday afternoon, they did so in the usual quiet that blankets a loss. But after a weekend in which they were fortunate to find late hits and walk away with two victories, there wasn't all that much to be down about.
Five days removed from getting the news that he would not be a part of the Nationals' 2012 Opening Day roster, John Lannan took the mound in Triple-A Syracuse on Sunday for his first minor league start since 2010.
The Washington Nationals have left no ambiguity with their catching situation. Wilson Ramos is their starting catcher, Jesus Flores their backup.
Updates on Chien-Ming Wang, Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel.
Xavier Nady gets his first start of the season Sunday afternoon, hitting sixth and playing left field as Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson tweaks his lineup for the finale with the Chicago Cubs.
Washington Nationals prospect Anthony Rendon badly sprained his left ankle Saturday night as he rounded third base in Single-A Potomac's game in Lynchburg.
Often times this spring, Washington Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa would talk about his two-strike approach. Espinosa struck out 166 times in 2011 -- the third most in the National League -- and he knew hitting out of the No. 2 hole in the Nationals' lineup this season he'd have to cut that down. He worked on it with hitting coach Rick Eckstein, discussed it with manager Davey Johnson, and put it into practice Saturday afternoon in the eighth inning.
After Adam LaRoche left Wrigley Field Thursday night and met up with his family following an 0-for-3 performance with three strikeouts (and a pivotal walk), he had to face his toughest critic. His nine-year-old son Drake walked right up to him and said "Dad, what were you doing?"
When Chad Tracy was with the Arizona Diamondbacks and his role began to change -- to transition from that of an everyday player to that of a bench contributor -- he began to see the game differently. Sitting on the bench with veterans like Tony Clark for several innings each night, Tracy and Clark would hash out game situations and debate what they'd do if they were the manager. They'd try to predict, he said, where they might be used and help to prepare themselves for when their name was called. On the Nationals' bench on Saturday, Tracy was still doing that.
As Michael Morse travels to New York for treatment, the day in which he and Rick Ankiel are ready for active duty inches closer. The Nationals will have to decide who'll go when they're back.
Washington Nationals' left-hander Gio Gonzalez will make his first start of the season -- and National League debut -- this afternoon as the Nationals return to Wrigley Field for a noon (CT) game.
Morse was 2-for-3 with a double and a home run while Ankiel was 1-for-3 with a home run of his own in the Senators' 5-2 victory over the Bowie Baysox.
Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson spent much of his half-season in the Nationals' dugout lamenting the configuration of his bench. It didn't have enough pop, he felt. It didn't give him the late-game advantages against the other team's pitching staff that he so craved.
The Washington Nationals weren't expecting to have Adam LaRoche as their cleanup hitter. LaRoche was supposed to hit fifth behind the mashing potential of Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse with Jayson Werth hitting behind him in the No. 6 spot. But Morse is hurt, rehabbing a right lat strain with Double-A Harrisburg Thursday (he was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts), and LaRoche and Werth were bumped up in the lineup as a result. On Opening Day, it was hard not to see the void Morse's absence left.