Moore's big day lifts Zimmermann, Nats over Braves

Moore's big day lifts Zimmermann, Nats over Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Jordan Zimmermann surrendered just one hit as he completed two scoreless innings in his Grapefruit League debut as the Nationals defeated the Braves 9-8 on Friday at Champion Stadium.

The Nationals right-hander proved to be one of the few pitchers who impressed during this slugfest that featured Freddie Freeman's towering home run, a two-hit performance from Ian Desmond and Dan Uggla's encouraging debut against his former Atlanta teammates.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Uggla hoping to make most of opportunity with Nationals

Former All-Star looks to make the Opening Day roster as backup infielder

Uggla hoping to make most of opportunity with Nationals

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Dan Uggla had never actually been inside the visitors clubhouse at Champions Stadium before Friday, even during his four seasons playing for the Braves.

He arrived wearing a Nationals jersey on Friday, where he is trying to win a spot on the team's Opening Day roster. On the first pitch of his first at-bat of Spring Training, he roped a single into right-center field.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zimmermann has grasp on what's ahead this year

Zimmermann has grasp on what's ahead this year

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Even this early on in Spring Training, Jordan Zimmermann already has a grasp on how important this season will be for him personally.

He is set to become a free agent at the end of the year, and the Nationals hope he can lead them to the World Series.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Moore making the most of his chance

Moore making the most of his chance

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- With Jayson Werth and Nate McLouth both rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery, the Nationals expect Tyler Moore to get a lot of playing time in the outfield during Spring Training.

So far he is making the most of it.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Escobar to have back stiffness examined

Escobar to have back stiffness examined

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Yunel Escobar is scheduled to be examined by a team doctor about the stiffness in his back.

He was scratched from Thursday's game after feeling sore during batting practice. The Nationals believe it is a result of the extra ground balls he had been fielding after the team's workout each day in an effort to feel comfortable at second base.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Treinen has shot to make Opening Day roster

Treinen has shot to make Opening Day roster

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals manager Matt Williams has not ruled out right-hander Blake Treinen making the team as a reliever. Treinen entered Thursday's 5-4 victory over the Mets in the ninth inning, retired the side in order and picked up the save.

Last year, Treinen was an emergency starter and performed well with a 3.00 ERA in seven starts. Treinen also appeared in eight games as a reliever and allowed two runs in 14 2/3 innings with 14 strikeouts.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Scherzer strikes out two in debut with Nationals

Right-hander allows one run, a solo shot, over two innings against the Mets

Scherzer strikes out two in debut with Nationals

VIERA, Fla. -- Max Scherzer was the first player to jog onto the field on Thursday, greeted with warm applause by the crowd at Space Coast Stadium as he hopped over the first-base line ready to make his much-anticipated Nationals debut.

It was only Spring Training, and there are games to come that will carry more importance in the regular season and, the Nationals hope, the postseason. In his first appearance since signing a seven-year, $210 million contract with the Nats during the offseason, Scherzer completed two innings, allowed a pair of hits -- including a solo home run to John Mayberry Jr. -- and struck out two in Washington's 5-4 victory against the Mets.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nationals win Scherzer's debut on HR by Ka'aihue

Right-hander allows one run over two innings against Mets

Nationals win Scherzer's debut on HR by Ka'aihue

VIERA, Fla. -- Max Scherzer made his Nationals debut and pitched OK, allowing a run over two innings in a 5-4 Washington victory over the Mets at Space Coast Stadium on Thursday night.

Mets starter Bartolo Colon, who could get the Opening Day nod, struck out two over two perfect innings.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ankiel's wife gets creative to help traded players' families

Lory started info-sharing website to assist in becoming acclimated to new cities

Ankiel's wife gets creative to help traded players' families

The 2010 Trade Deadline deal that sent Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth from the Royals to the Braves was, for most that were paying attention, a moderately interesting transaction that floated across the television screen as a ticker update.

But for people a little closer to the situation, that deal also came with a healthy dose of anxiety. No one understands this better than Ankiel's wife, Lory, who at the time of that trade was pregnant with their first child and was living comfortably with her husband and two huge dogs in Kansas City.

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Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Normal soreness good sign day after Werth swings bat

Nationals outfielder takes first step after right shoulder surgery with positive results

Normal soreness good sign day after Werth swings bat

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals are encouraged with the progress made by Jayson Werth, who experienced some natural soreness Thursday morning, one day after swinging a bat for the first time since right shoulder surgery in January.

"That normal soreness is there, which it should be," manager Matt Williams said.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Escobar scratched from lineup due to back soreness

Escobar scratched from lineup due to back soreness

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals second baseman Yunel Escobar was scratched from Thursday's lineup against the Mets because of back soreness, according to manager Matt Williams.

Infielder Kevin Frandsen replaced Escobar at second, while Mike Carp replaced Frandsen as the designated hitter.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zimmerman looks comfortable at 1B in spring opener

Williams impressed with how Nationals slugger handled himself at new position

Zimmerman looks comfortable at 1B in spring opener

VIERA, Fla. -- In a 5-4 victory over the Mets on Thursday night, Nationals slugger Ryan Zimmerman played first base as if he had manned the position for years.

A third baseman by trade, Zimmerman prevented throwing errors from shortstop Ian Desmond and third baseman Anthony Rendon by scooping up balls in the dirt in the first and second innings, respectively. Manager Matt Williams came away impressed by what he saw from Zimmerman.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Justice: Wealth of arms could be key to October success

Washington opens season with six proven starting pitchers

Justice: Wealth of arms could be key to October success

VIERA, Fla. -- Max Scherzer got the ball first. His manager, Matt Williams, cautioned against reading too much into it. After all, the Washington Nationals have potential No. 1 starters here, there and everywhere. As problems go, it's the kind every manager would love to have.

So rather than sweating the small stuff, let's sit back and enjoy what could be an amazing little ride.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Friendly competition: Harper takes hacks vs. Strasburg

Former No. 1 overall picks face off for first time in round of live BP at Nationals camp

Friendly competition: Harper takes hacks vs. Strasburg

VIERA, Fla. -- For a moment during the Nationals' workout Wednesday morning, Field 4 was the center of attention. Stephen Strasburg was one of the pitchers who had requested to throw a second live batting-practice session in advance of facing hitters in Spring Training games.

The first hitter to step into the batter's box against Strasburg? Bryce Harper.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Eager to be ready by opener, Werth starts activity early

Outfielder doesn't wait full 8 weeks after shoulder surgery, but says swinging off tee no big risk

Eager to be ready by opener, Werth starts activity early

VIERA, Fla. -- Jayson Werth admitted to being a little anxious to finally test his surgically repaired right shoulder. The Nationals outfielder was initially supposed to wait eight weeks (which would've been Friday) after having arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder before he began any activity, but he decided to start a little early.

Before the Nats began their workout Wednesday morning, Werth took about 20 swings, most of which were dry cuts, but included five swings off a tee.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Scherzer eager to see how Nats' rotation stacks up

Right-hander brings years of pitching knowledge to Washington's rotation

Scherzer eager to see how Nats' rotation stacks up

VIERA, Fla. -- Inside the Nationals' spring clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium is a row of lockers that's indicative of how strong their starting rotation may be this season.

From left to right: Jordan Zimmermann, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. It's still to be determined whether that group will be good enough to pitch the Nats into the World Series for the first time in the 46-year history of the Montreal/Washington franchise.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Escobar's transition to second ahead of schedule

Escobar's transition to second ahead of schedule

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals have nothing but good things to say about Yunel Escobar. After the team acquired him from the Athletics in January, Escobar was informed that he would switch from shortstop to second base, a position he hasn't played since 2007.

Since he arrived in camp, Escobar has worked hard to get comfortable at his new position. After he takes batting practice with the team, Escobar goes back to Space Coast Stadium for extra work around the bag. There are days he wants to get used to playing with his new double-play partner, Ian Desmond. Escobar gets used to the double-play feeds from Desmond and vice versa. There are other days Escobar wants to improve his footwork around the bag.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After difficult year, Gwynn ready for fresh start

With the passing of his father, Nats outfielder had trouble focusing on baseball

After difficult year, Gwynn ready for fresh start

VIERA, Fla. -- After a long trip from San Diego, outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. arrived at Nationals camp on Wednesday, looking for a fresh start.

Gwynn wondered if he was ever going to get a chance to play baseball again, after no offers came his way during the offseason. But the Nats came calling Monday morning, and the two sides were able to get a deal done later that night.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Williams says new rules will become second nature

Pace of play will be in effect for Nats' spring opener, and manager isn't concerned

Williams says new rules will become second nature

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals will have their first experience with Major League Baseball's new pace-of-play rules during Thursday's Grapefruit League opener against the Mets.

Manager Matt Williams met with MLB officials earlier this week to discuss specifics on the new rules, which include hitters having to keep one foot in the batter's box between pitches, and a clock to limit time between innings.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Scherzer gets nod for Nationals' spring opener

Williams gives no indication for Opening Day

Scherzer gets nod for Nationals' spring opener

VIERA, Fla. -- After an offseason of buzz that has carried into the first few weeks of Spring Training, Max Scherzer will make his anticipated Nationals debut Thursday, starting the team's Grapefruit League opener against the Mets at 5:05 p.m. ET.

Scherzer is scheduled to throw two innings or about 45 pitches, depending on which comes first.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ankiel brings wealth of experience to new role

Former pitcher/OF on hand to help players cope with everyday stresses

Ankiel brings wealth of experience to new role

VIERA, Fla. -- Rick Ankiel, the Nationals' new life skills coordinator, arrived at the team's spring facility on Tuesday for his first day on the job, which he spent introducing himself to some players while getting reacquainted with others.

Washington hired Ankiel to the new position in January, and he is hoping to use the wealth of his experiences in the Majors to impart wisdom through the team's Minor League system.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

There's an air of excitement in Nationals' camp

Club has plenty of talent in all phases of the game, but rotation in a category by itself

There's an air of excitement in Nationals' camp

VIERA, Fla. -- The key word here is "excited" or "exciting" or "excitement."

But this is not child-at-Christmas-jumping-for-joy-right-now excitement. This is more like the healthy anticipation of down-the-road achievement, on the part of highly competitive adults.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Strasburg appreciates Gwynn's style of play, work ethic

Pair grew up and work out in San Diego

Strasburg appreciates Gwynn's style of play, work ethic

VIERA, Fla. -- Right-hander Stephen Strasburg was pleased to learn that the Nationals signed outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to a Minor League deal Monday night. Gwynn is expected to join the team on Wednesday.

Strasburg and Gwynn saw a lot of each other during the offseason, working out in San Diego. When he was a kid, Strasburg remembered watching Gwynn play high school basketball. Strasburg also played college baseball for Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn Sr. at San Diego State.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gwynn joins Nationals' outfield competition

Gwynn joins Nationals' outfield competition

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals have signed outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to a Minor League contract, the team announced on Monday night. Gwynn will join the team at big league Spring Training on Wednesday.

Gwynn, the son of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, spent last season with the Phillies, hitting .152 in 105 at-bats with three RBIs and three stolen bases. The 32-year-old has a chance to make the team as its fourth outfielder. With outfielder Jayson Werth limited as he recovers from Jan. 9 right shoulder surgery, Gwynn will get his share of playing time at Nationals camp.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zimmerman puts in extra work at first base

Veteran infielder learning how much time he has during plays at new position

Zimmerman puts in extra work at first base

VIERA, Fla. -- After the Nationals completed their workout on Monday, Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman went to Space Coast Stadium to get some extra work in the infield with manager Matt Williams and defensive coordinator and advance coach Mark Weidemaier.

"Hold on skipper," Weidemaier said. "I'm going to put a timer on it."

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zimmermann doesn't ease up during live BP

Nationals right-hander feels he could 'go up against any hitter right now'

Zimmermann doesn't ease up during live BP

VIERA, Fla. -- It was just his first live batting-practice session of Spring Training, and most of the hitters did not even swing the bat, but Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann treated it with increased intensity.

He stepped on the mound focused on finding out how sharp his breaking ball is and how well he can command his fastball. Zimmermann even ran one fastball too far inside and nailed Clint Robinson in the right leg.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Barrett makes most of each opportunity with Nats

Righty had plenty of success as a rookie in 2014, but he also faced adversity

Barrett makes most of each opportunity with Nats

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Aaron Barrett vowed to never let adversity get the best of him. He learned how to take the good with the bad by watching how players such as Adam LaRoche, Ian Desmond, Craig Stammen and Drew Storen reacted to certain situations.

"You just learn about their character, the way they handled themselves in tough times and good times," Barrett said. "… Just knowing that these guys have been through the good and the bad in their careers, you learned as much as possible, just the way those guys go about their business. It helped me a lot."

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Purke hopes to move past injuries, contribute to Nats

Left-hander has dealt with shoulder, elbow issues since being selected in '11 Draft

Purke hopes to move past injuries, contribute to Nats

VIERA, Fla. -- Left-hander Matt Purke has been injury prone since he was selected by the Nationals in the third round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

First, he had shoulder issues. Last May, Purke had Tommy John surgery, and he was taken off the 40-man roster when the team released him in November. The 24-year-old was later re-signed to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.