- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 22, 2005



Esteban Loaiza froze his teammates in their tracks.

For his second straight session throwing off the mound, the Nationals’ veteran right-hander stayed late tossing extra pitches. This time, however, Loaiza asked bullpen coach Bob Natal to stand in and simulate a batter from both sides of the plate.

When the second group of pitchers arrived in the bullpen for their day on the mound, they appeared mesmerized by Loaiza’s routine. After a few minutes, pitching coach Randy St. Claire noticed everybody was standing around in the bullpen watching Loaiza work.

“C’mon, guys, get it going!” St. Claire barked to his pitchers turned spectators. …

The folks at Space Coast Stadium have done their best to incorporate the Nationals’ name and logo throughout the complex, but a few vestiges of the Expos remain scattered around the place.

For example, one of the billboards on the right-field wall proclaims Culligan is “the Expos choice of bottle water.”

Bad grammar notwithstanding, we’re not sure how much water you’re going to sell when your best customer is a defunct Canadian franchise with no substantial fan base.


Up ” The big names

Guillen, Castilla, Vidro, Wilkerson all show up to take BP together.

Down ” Fans shagging balls

Inside the fence doesn’t mean you’re allowed to reach under.

Up ” Beachfront restaurants

It took a week to find them, but it turns out there’s more to Viera than Cracker Barrel!

Down ” Farmer’s tan

It’s already noticeable, and there’s still six weeks to go.

By the numbers

.103 Difference between third baseman Vinny Castilla’s batting average at Coors Field (.321) and everywhere else (.218) last season.

10 Players on left-hander Joey Eischen’s Babe Ruth League team in California who went on to get drafted.


“I know the president lives there …”

” Vinny Castilla when asked whether he knows anything about Washington.

Nationals schedule

TODAY: First full-squad workout, 9:45 a.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

MARCH 2: First exhibition game, vs. Mets, 1 p.m.

How to get to Space Coast Stadium from Orlando/North: Take Rte. 528 East (Bee Line Expressway) 25 miles to I-95 South. Exit I-95 South at Fiske Blvd. (Exit 195). Proceed south on Fiske Blvd./Stadium Parkway to the stadium. Approx. time: 45 minutes.

From Melbourne/South: Take I-95 North to Wickham Rd. (Exit 191) and turn left. Turn right on Lake Andrew Dr. and follow to the stadium. Approx. time: 20 minutes.


Washington: Snow showers late, 51 degrees

Viera: Mostly sunny, 78 degrees.

Mark Zuckerman and Ken Wright

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