- The Washington Times - Friday, February 25, 2005

SEEN AND HEARD

VIERA, Fla. — Nationals special assistant Bob Boone, a former catcher and manager, spent time yesterday perched behind the batting cage.

Boone took particular interest in outfielder Brad Wilkerson, who has a 32-homer season on his resume but is still refining his swing in an effort to cut down on strikeouts. Boone immediately noticed Wilkerson’s weight balance needed work and offered some advice.

Wilkerson proceeded to crush several pitches. …

A few days after Sports Illustrated was in town to take a cover shot for next week’s issue, TV Guide rolled in for a shot of Wilkerson and second baseman Jose Vidro in uniform. GQ can’t be far behind. …

Visitors to Viera get a chance to see all kinds of unusual creatures native to the area. In the last week, several people have spotted armadillos, alligators and four-foot-long lizards. Yesterday, a frog greeted reporters in the press box. That’s pretty impressive considering how high the thing must have jumped to reach the third floor button on the elevator.

THE BUZZ

Down ” Nationals buzz

Things quieting down, just as the Redskins start making news again.

Up ” “DC” caps

Nats’ sharp BP caps are hottest selling item here.

Up ” Frank’s autograph

Robinson has signed for fans every day since camp opened.

Sideways ” Starters in lineup

They should all be in there in Wednesday’s opener, but for how long?

BY THE NUMBERS

4

Players in camp with at least 10 years of service time in the majors (Vinny Castilla, Wil Cordero, Carlos Baerga and Jeffrey Hammonds).

13

Players in camp with no service time in the majors (Mike Hinckley, Josh Karp, Darrell Rasner, Danny Rueckel, Tony Blanco, Larry Broadway, Tyrell Godwin, Bill Bray, Drew McMillan, John Wilson, Ian Desmond, Rick Short and Brandon Watson).

OVERHEARD

“If [his on-base percentage] was better like [Edgar] Renteria’s or [Orlando] Cabrera’s, we couldn’t afford him. The object is winning and helping the pitching staff, and Cristian can do that.”

— Interim GM Jim Bowden on shortstop Cristian Guzman.

NATIONALS’ SCHEDULE

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

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

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

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

WEDNESDAY: vs. Mets in Viera, 1 p.m.

THURSDAY: vs. Bethune-Cookman in Viera, 1 p.m.

FRIDAY: No game, players workout in morning.

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.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Partly cloudy, 43 degrees

Viera: Mostly cloudy, 72 degrees.

Mark Zuckerman and Ken Wright

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