Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.
In 2012, while the Washington Nationals were setting a hectic pace to reach the best record in the major leagues, there was one team they never could quite shake: the Cincinnati Reds.
Bryce Harper showed no ill-effects from a first-inning collision with Marlins catcher Rob Brantly, despite taking an elbow to the right side of his chin as he scored the Nationals' second run of the day.
There has been a lot of discussion and scrutiny of Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman's throwing motion as he continues to gain strength following offseason shoulder surgery. But there is another, perhaps less obvious, improvement to his defense that has come from having a healthy shoulder: Zimmerman can play deeper at third base, which allows him to add to his already elite range.
Over the course of the Washington Nationals' rise to prominence in the major leagues, the one thing they have steadfastly relied on as the bedrock upon which they've been built is scouting and player development. In a new partnership with Bloomberg Sports that they formally announced on Thursday, the Nationals are taking their commitment to that area to a new level.
Ten days after they granted right-hander Chris Young his unconditional release, the Washington Nationals welcomed him back with a minor league deal on Thursday.
The Washington Nationals have their first getaway day of the season Thursday afternoon, playing the Miami Marlins in the finale of their three-game, four-day set at Nationals Park. After the game, the Marlins will mosey on up to New York to play the Mets while the Nationals will head to Cincinnati for a series that will feature two teams many expect to be in the playoffs.
The Washington Nationals built their success in 2012 on the backs of what was the best pitching staff in the major leagues for much of the season. Inside their clubhouse they didn't expect 2013 to be much different. After all, four of their starting pitchers were returning, one was a veteran with a significantly successful track record and they have power arms piling up in the bullpen. But 18 straight scoreless innings to open the season?
Head down, lips pressed together, Gio Gonzalez tried as hard as he could not to smile. He placed one foot in front of the other, rounded second base and then third. When he crossed home plate he couldn't take it anymore. He flashed his pearly whites. Ushered into the dugout amongst a sea of high-fives and hugs, Gonzalez basked in his moment. His home run helped lead the Nationals to a 3-0 victory over the Miami Marlins.
Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper spent his first off-day of the 2013 season in unique fashion. Harper, who hit two home runs on Opening Day, visited the White House Tuesday evening for a reception and a screening of the movie '42' with President Obama.
The Nationals and Marlins will meet Wednesday night for the second of their season-opening three-game set. Gio Gonzalez will make his first start against Marlins right-hander Kevin Slowey. It's doubtful that the Marlins anticipated having Slowey pitch their second game of the season when they constructed their roster, but injuries toward the end of the spring necessitated it.
In all the hoopla that surrounds Opening Day and the start of the season, this item got pushed back a little bit. But I didn't want it to get entirely overlooked. Spring training is long (as you may have heard) and can tend to drag toward the end. But one of the most impressive things we saw all spring in Viera was nine-year-old Robie Whiting throw out the first pitch on March 24, in one of the final games of the spring.
The way Major League Baseball sets the schedule up, teams that will have to deal with the possibility of bad weather get a day off built in for the day that follows Opening Day. This is mostly "in case of emergency," but it always seems like the day is needed anyway.
Wilson Ramos popped out of the dugout just after noon on Monday and jogged out to the outfield to begin his warm-up. As he and Stephen Strasburg made their way to the bullpen, Ramos took in the scene. He was overwhelmed.
Bryce Harper celebrated the first Opening Day of his young major league career in style, hitting home runs to right field in his first -- and second -- at-bats of the season.
The Washington Nationals have remained in touch with right-hander Chris Young ever since he was granted his unconditional release from the club last week. Young, who the Nationals signed in the hope that he'd serve as starting pitching depth for them, is still a free agent.
By John Solomon
How the government's punishing of the exposure of official wrongdoing can linger for years