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NATIONALS WATCH

Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.

Latest Blog Entries

Taking another look at Danny Espinosa's 10-pitch, home run at-bat

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.

Adam LaRoche's big day a welcome sign for Nationals

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?"

Chad Tracy and the art of pinch hitting

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.

Game 2: Nationals, Cubs lineups

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.

Chad Tracy making presence on Nationals' bench felt

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.

Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche and two pivotal walks

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.