- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 21, 2006

VIERA, Fla. — Nationals players aren’t allowed to take their cell phones out onto the practice fields. Managers are another story. (Hey, when you’re a Hall of Famer, you’re afforded some special privileges.) Not that the players didn’t give Frank Robinson a little ribbing yesterday when they caught him yapping on the phone behind the batting cage. “Cha-ching,” reliever Joey Eischen yelled out as if Frank was subject to the same fines players are for such infractions. “Who’s he talking to? You know it’s not [general manager Jim Bowden]. He’s already out here.” …

Being the general manager’s son has its privileges, too. Chad Bowden, 12, received some specialized baseball instruction during the morning workouts. He took 20 or so grounders along the first-base line from Jose Cardenal, one of Jim Bowden’s special assistants. Chad, who usually plays catcher, said he flubbed three. “I was terrible,” he said. “I should have stretched before I did it.”

THE BUZZ

BIG GUN IS HERE

Ace Livan Hernandez’s arrival changes clubhouse mood.

LIVO’S RIGHT KNEE

Hernandez says knee won’t be 100 percent until April.

NO JUICE

Steroids talk isn’t dominating this year’s camp.

WHEN WILL SORIANO SHOW?

Team officials haven’t heard whether star slugger will report to camp on time Thursday.

BY THE NUMBERS

2461/3Innings pitched by Livan Hernandez in 2005, tops in the majors.

1Inning caught by Matt LeCroy, one of the Nationals’ projected backup catchers, in 2005.

OVERHEARD

“It happens a lot quicker than you’d think. After 90 or 100 pitches, you start to learn what the guy’s got.”

— Catcher Brian Schneider on how long it takes him to get to know new pitchers.

SEVEN-DAY SCHEDULE

TODAY: Pitchers/catchers workout, 9 a.m.

TOMORROW: Pitchers/catchers workout, 9 a.m.

THURSDAY: Position players report.

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.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Sunny, 48 degrees.

Viera: Mostly sunny, 80 degrees.

Mark Zuckerman and Ken Wright

HOW TO GET TO SPACE COAST STADIUM

From Orlando/North: Take Rt. 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.

Got a question about the Nats?

Mark Zuckerman has the answers. The Times’ beat reporter for the Nationals will respond to your questions on-line and in print each Monday, beginning Feb. 27. Send questions to Mark at natsmailbag [AT] washingtontimes.com

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