- The Washington Times - Monday, February 23, 2009

Decelerated camp

VIERA, Fla. - There’s one noticeable absence at Nationals spring training, and it’s not a player, coach or front office executive. It’s the club’s accelerated minor league camp, which was held the last two years but was called off this spring.

The reason? Some within the organization speculated it was a financial decision, but team president Stan Kasten said it was deemed less necessary because the big league camp is a week longer because of the World Baseball Classic and because several of the club’s top prospects are in camp.

The accelerated camp - in which 30 or so top prospects got a chance to work out together before the rest of the minor leaguers reported - was widely praised the past two years. It allowed Washington’s major league coaches to get a firsthand look at many young players, and it also provided a nice option for pitchers or injured players to get work in without appearing in Grapefruit League games.

The Nationals will have a tougher time this spring making sure all their pitchers get enough innings.

“That really helped last year,” manager Manny Acta said. “But it’s a longer spring training this year; we’re starting to play a little earlier. So we’ll get through it.”

Lannan up first

Manager Manny Acta revealed his starting rotation for the first week of spring training games, and John Lannan will get the first crack on the mound.

The young left-hander will start Wednesday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Astros, with Collin Balester starting Thursday against the Tigers, Shawn Hill pitching Friday against the Astros and Daniel Cabrera going Saturday against the Cardinals. Scott Olsen rounds out the quintet Sunday against the Orioles.

Acta was quick to caution against reading too much into the pitching order and trying to extrapolate it to the regular season. He said it was specifically designed to be flexible and that the final rotation order won’t be set until mid-March.

- Mark Zuckerman

TEMPERATURE CHECK

UP - Bowden’s words

GM talks for first time this spring

DOWN - Bowden’s substance

Didn’t reveal much

UP - The temperature

It actually cracked the 70-degree mark Sunday

BY THE NUMBERS

2 Rule 5 picks by the Nationals, out of six drafted in the last four years, to make it through the full season on the big league roster (Jesus Flores, Tony Blanco).

MONDAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Windy, 39 degrees.

Viera: Mostly sunny, 69 degrees.

THREE-DAY SCHEDULE

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

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

Wednesday: vs. Astros in Kissimmee, 1 p.m.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide