- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 15, 2007

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SEEN & HEARD IN VIERA

Before Manny Acta hit the field for the first time as manager of the Washington Nationals, he said the workouts at spring training camps pretty much are universal throughout baseball.

Indeed. Yesterday’s first workout looked the same as they did in the previous two spring camps under Frank Robinson. Select pitchers threw off the mounds in the bullpen. Skill stations were set up at different fields, where groups of pitchers would work on bunting, covering first base and fielding balls off the mound.

The skill work was followed by conditioning runs, while catchers and a few early reporting position players hit in the batting cage. …

Allow Robert Fick to lighten the mood. The club’s first baseman/catcher welcomed all the newcomers with classic one-liners and other assorted observations. We can’t go into detail here about what Fick said - sorry - but trust us, it was funny and he had at least half the clubhouse rolling with laughter.

TEMPERATURE CHECK

HOT: FIRST WORKOUT

Camp officially opens.

LUKEWARM: SPACE COAST STADIUM RENOVATIONS

Minor league season ended in August, so why isn’t the work already done? But at least they’re cleaning up the place.

COLD: FAN TURNOUT

So far, members of the media outnumber the autograph seekers.

BY THE NUMBERS

12

Prospective starting pitchers vying for just four spots in the rotation.

8

Minutes select pitchers threw in yesterday’s bullpen sessions.

OVERHEARD

“It might get old to you guys, but it’s a very exciting time to be part of the Nationals. If you don’t want to see that, then you’re blind.

“Who wouldn’t want to be in the capital of the United States with a brand new stadium and a team that’s going to be in the top 10 in revenues and also that has a good young core group of position players already that can play.

“If you don’t want to be in this type of situation, then there’s something wrong with you.”

— First-year manager Manny Acta on the club’s future.

SEVEN-DAY SCHEDULE

Today: Pitchers and catchers workout, 9 a.m.

Tomorrow: Pitchers and catchers workout, 9 a.m.

Sunday: Pitchers and catchers workout, 9 a.m.

Monday: Pitchers and catchers workout, 9 a.m., position players report to camp.

Tuesday: Pitchers and catchers workout, 9 a.m., position players take physicals.

Wednesday: Full-squad workout, 9 a.m.

Thursday: Full-squad workout, 9 a.m.

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