- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Washington Nationals released their 2008 spring training schedule yesterday, a 32-game slate that begins in late February in Florida and concludes a month later at the franchise’s new ballpark in the District.

Nationals pitchers and catchers are due to report to Viera, Fla., on Feb. 15, with position players arriving five days later. All told, 72 players have been invited to spring training, including 36 pitchers. (Right-hander Collin Balester, one of the organization’s top prospects, is the only nonroster player who was not contractually obligated to be invited.)

The Grapefruit League schedule commences Feb. 27, when the Nationals travel to Jupiter, Fla., to face the Florida Marlins, the first of five exhibition games between the division rivals. Washington’s first home game at Space Coast Stadium, Feb. 29, also comes against the Marlins.

The Nationals face their geographic rivals, the Baltimore Orioles, five times this spring as well: twice in Viera (March 1 and 27), twice in Fort Lauderdale (March 2 and 16) and once in the District (March 29 in the first game at Nationals Park). That 6:05 p.m. final tuneup for the following night’s regular-season opener against the Atlanta Braves will be free to all season-ticket holders.

Tickets for all games at Space Coast Stadium range in price from $8 to $24, go on sale Jan. 26 at 9 a.m. and can be purchased at the stadium box office, at nationals.com or by phone at 888/632-6287.

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