Storen exits outing due to blister on toe

Injury to Nationals' closer considered minor, according to manager Williams

Storen exits outing due to blister on toe

JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals closer Drew Storen exited Monday's 6-2 loss to the Cardinals in the sixth inning with a blister on his right big toe.

Storen was able to get two outs in the inning, but after he walked Kolten Wong, pitching coach Steve McCatty came to the mound and decided to take Storen out of the game. Nationals manager Matt Williams called it a regular Spring Training blister, and the fact that Storen had already thrown a lot of pitches made the decision to take him out of the game easier.

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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. 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 acquire outfielder den Dekker from Mets

Washington sends lefty reliever Blevins to NY

Nationals acquire outfielder den Dekker from Mets

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Nationals made a trade with one of their division rivals on Monday afternoon, acquiring outfielder Matt den Dekker from the Mets in exchange for reliever Jerry Blevins.

den Dekker can play all three outfield positions, and the Nats are seeking depth in the outfield because of the injuries to center fielder Denard Span and left fielder Jayson Werth.

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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.

Rendon sees Dr. Andrews about ailing left knee

Nationals third baseman sprained MCL while making diving play on March 9

Rendon sees Dr. Andrews about ailing left knee

JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon traveled to meet with orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., on Monday in order to receive a second opinion on the sprained MCL in his left knee.

Rendon was injured while making a diving play on March 9, and the knee has continued to bother him during even the most routine activity. He could not complete a light jogging exercise this past Friday without feeling soreness.

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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' offense shows early life in loss to Cards

Stewart, Uggla lead off run-scoring innings; Storen exits early

Nationals' offense shows early life in loss to Cards

JUPITER, Fla. -- Matt Holliday's two-out, two-run single off Nationals reliever Xavier Cedeno finished the Cardinals' climb out of an early two-run hole and lifted St. Louis to a 6-2 win at Roger Dean Stadium on Monday.

Facing the Cardinals for the fourth and final time this spring, the Nationals jumped on Cardinals starter Michael Wacha for runs in both the second and third. Leadoff doubles by Ian Stewart and Dan Uggla set up each of those run-scoring innings.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nationals sign outfielder Johnson to Minor League deal

Nationals sign outfielder Johnson to Minor League deal

JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo stayed busy on Monday, signing outfielder Reed Johnson to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Johnson will report to Nationals camp on Tuesday. If he makes the Major League team out of Spring Training, Johnson could earn $1 million, according to a baseball source.

The deal with Johnson came on the same day the Nats acquired outfielder Matt den Dekker from the Mets for reliever Jerry Blevins.

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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.

Janssen dealing with rotator cuff tendinitis

Nationals reliever isn't sure if he'll be ready by Opening Day

Janssen dealing with rotator cuff tendinitis

JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals reliever Casey Janssen is dealing with rotator cuff tendinitis in his right shoulder, the results of his MRI revealed Monday.

Janssen said at the Nationals' complex that he felt like he needed a couple days off after the soreness in the shoulder did not feel like usual Spring Training soreness.

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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. 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 to rely on inspired bench production early

With key players starting season on DL, club must improve numbers from fill-ins

Nationals to rely on inspired bench production early

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals are looking to improve their numbers off the bench for the upcoming season after pinch-hitters posted a .143 average with five home runs, 18 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .243 in 2014.

Of all the players on Washington's bench last year, only infielders Kevin Frandsen and Danny Espinosa and catcher Jose Lobaton remain. Of the three, Frandsen was Washington's best pinch-hitter, going 11-for-47 (.234).

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

Nationals send catcher Leon to Red Sox

Nationals send catcher Leon to Red Sox

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Nationals traded catcher Sandy Leon to the Red Sox for cash considerations, the club announced Monday morning.

Leon was seen packing his belongings at Space Coast Stadium before leaving for Red Sox camp. He will report to the Red Sox on Tuesday.

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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.

Rizzo confident in roster, sees opportunity for NRIs

Despite injuries to key players, GM not planning on making moves before Opening Day

Rizzo confident in roster, sees opportunity for NRIs

VIERA, Fla. -- Even though the Nationals are faced with their share of injuries, general manager Mike Rizzo said he is satisfied with the roster he has in place, and he doesn't see himself making trades before the start of Opening Day.

"Things could be worse," Rizzo said. "Like I've always said, 'One man's injury is another man's opportunity.' We expect all those guys back in pretty quick order. We're not too down about it. It's nice to have your full complement of guys on the first days of the season, but to get them soon thereafter will be fine."

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

Fister more in 'swing of things' despite rough outing

Right-hander gives up six runs on eight hits, including three homers, vs. Miami

Fister more in 'swing of things' despite rough outing

VIERA, Fla. -- Right-hander Doug Fister had his rockiest outing of the spring during the Nationals' 11-7 victory over the Marlins on Sunday. He allowed six runs in four innings and struck out two batters against one walk. Fister now has a 7.02 ERA in five Grapefruit League starts.

On a windy day at Space Coast Stadium, the Marlins managed three home runs off Fister. But the right-hander didn't use the elements as an excuse.

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

Injuries may force Williams to shuffle lineup

Leadoff hitter Span set for DL; Opening Day status of Werth, Rendon in question

Injuries may force Williams to shuffle lineup

VIERA, Fla. -- With the start of the season nine days away for the Nationals, manager Matt Williams will need a contingency plan in case some of his major players are not ready for Opening Day.

Center fielder Denard Span will start the season on the disabled list because of a surgically repaired rectus abdominis (abdominal) muscle. And it's still up in the air if third baseman Anthony Rendon (left knee) and outfielder Jayson Werth (right shoulder) will start the season on time. One has to think that being on the 25-man roster when the Nats break camp is in jeopardy for both players.

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

Nats' big bats make up for Fister's rocky start

Harper, Nationals mash four homers; righty gives up six runs in four innings

Nats' big bats make up for Fister's rocky start

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals and Marlins found themselves in a slugfest on Sunday afternoon at Space Coast Stadium. When it was over, it was the Nats who won the game, 11-7.

Neither starter was effective, and they came away with nearly identical lines. Washington righty Doug Fister gave up six runs on eight hits, including three homers, in four innings. He walked one and struck out two. Miami right-hander Tom Koehler was also tagged for six runs in four innings, but on 10 hits, including three homers. He struck out three against two walks.

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

Williams unhappy with Nats' shaky defense

Washington makes two errors in win over Marlins

Williams unhappy with Nats' shaky defense

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals have played 26 games during Spring Training and have made 27 errors. Manager Matt Williams admitted that he was not pleased by the amount of errors the team has made this spring.

Before the start of the Grapefruit League season, Williams and his coaching staff worked hard with players to improve the defense, which ranks 26th in fielding percentage entering Monday's action against the Cardinals. Last year, after a slow start, the Nats finished in the middle of the pack.

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

Harper's HR off deGrom literally left the building

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Harper's HR off deGrom literally left the building

A recent ruling from the high court of journalistic grammar -- The Associated Press Stylebook -- dictates that monster home runs like the one Bryce Harper hit the day after being voted the most overrated player in baseball by some of his peers are just that: home runs. 

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Strasburg shows rust from ankle sprain vs. Mets

Nats' starter admits being tentative in longest spring outing

Strasburg shows rust from ankle sprain vs. Mets

PORT ST.LUCIE, Fla -- Even though right-hander Stephen Strasburg is a bit behind the rest of the Nationals starters, he is not worried about how that may affect his preparation for the start of the regular season.

His start in Saturday's 10-2 loss against the Mets was his first since he sprained his left ankle last week while working out in the weight room. He still had some hesitation about landing on that ankle.

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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.

Williams sets Nationals' rotation behind Scherzer

Order could be tweaked in first weeks of season

Williams sets Nationals' rotation behind Scherzer

PORT ST.LUCIE, Fla -- Ever since the Nationals signed Max Scherzer as a free agent during the offseason, the order of the team's starters has been an intriguing quandary. An argument could be made for each pitcher to be slotted anywhere in the rotation from one through five.

Prior to Saturday's game against the Mets, Nationals manager Matt Williams officially revealed the order of his regular season starting rotation. Max Scherzer was already announced as the Opening Day starter (April 6 against the Mets at Nationals Park), and he will be followed by Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister.

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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.

Strasburg, Nats' bullpen roughed up by Mets

Starter gives up four runs while Roark surrenders five

Strasburg, Nats' bullpen roughed up by Mets

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Jacob deGrom kept thriving, David Wright and Curtis Granderson kept mashing and everything continued going swimmingly for the Mets on Saturday in a 10-2 win over the Nationals.

Granderson and Wright hit back-to-back home runs off Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg in the third, giving deGrom all the cushion he would need. In his penultimate spring start, the reigning National League Rookie of the Year fired seven innings of one-run ball, the only damage coming on a leadoff homer by Bryce Harper in the sixth. That lowered his Grapefruit League ERA to 2.45, tops amongst all pitchers with more than 20 innings.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Werth takes first BP, but return date uncertain

Injured Span also making progress, eyes May comeback

Werth takes first BP, but return date uncertain

VIERA, Fla. -- Opening Day is 10 days away and Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth still doesn't know if he will be on the 25-man roster to start the season. He has yet to play in a Major League Spring Training game because of his surgically-repaired right shoulder.

The good news is, after hitting off a batting tee Sunday morning at Space Coast Stadium, Werth took batting practice in the cage for the first time. His swing was strong and he was watched closely by Minor League hitting coordinator Troy Gingrich, who told Werth he was a little soft when it came to making contact during the early portion of batting practice. Toward the end of practice, Werth was making solid contact.

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

Zimmermann finds midseason form over six

Righty allows one run; Storen returns from surgery with scoreless inning

Zimmermann finds midseason form over six

VIERA, Fla -- Backing up much of the hype surrounding their pitching staff, the Nationals have continued to turn in stellar outing after stellar outing this spring. The latest came on Friday courtesy of right-hander Jordan Zimmmermann, who is on pace to be the team's No. 2 starter this season.

Zimmermann surrendered one run on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings during a 1-1 tie with a split Cardinals squad. Zimmermann saw his Grapefruit League ERA rise incrementally to 1.37.

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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.

Contract status last thing on Zimmermann's mind

Contract status last thing on Zimmermann's mind

VIERA, Fla. -- Jordan Zimmermann is enjoying one of the best springs of anyone at Nationals camp. The right-hander's latest performance came on Friday afternoon, when he limited the Cardinals' split-squad team to one run on four hits and a pair of walks while striking out four in six innings. His Grapefruit League ERA sits at 1.37 after his fifth start.

Yet Zimmermann seems prepared to enter the 2015 season pitching in the final year of his contract. He has said he doesn't want to talk about his contract once the season starts, and he reiterated that point after the Nationals' 1-1 tie with the Cardinals.

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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.

Storen passes test in return from hand surgery

Glove hand feels strong after eventful inning against Cardinals

Storen passes test in return from hand surgery

VIERA, Fla -- Nationals closer Drew Storen entered Friday's 1-1 tie with the Cardinals in the seventh inning, making his first appearance in a Grapefruit League game since he had a minor surgery to remove the hook of the hamate bone in his left hand.

Naturally, the first batter Storen faced, second baseman Kolten Wong, hit a grounder to first base that forced the right-hander to cover first base and test out his left hand.

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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.

Zimmerman exits after diving stop at first

Williams' decision to remove Nats infielder deemed precautionary

Zimmerman exits after diving stop at first

VIERA, Fla -- Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman left Friday's 1-1 tie with the Cardinals in the third inning after making a diving stop in the first inning.

Nationals manager Matt Williams said Zimmerman "banged himself pretty good" while ranging to his left on a grounder hit by Randal Grichuk. Taking Zimmerman out of the game was strictly precautionary, according to Williams, especially since the infielder was making his third consecutive start.

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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.

Rendon tries lateral jogging; Span progressing

Third baseman attempting to return by Opening Day; outfielder swings fungo

Rendon tries lateral jogging; Span progressing

VIERA, Fla -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon did some light jogging in right field early Friday morning, with an emphasis on lateral movement to test his sprained left knee.

Rendon, who has been shut down since March 9, feels fine while running straight ahead, but he has been having trouble when moving side to side. It is the next small step for Rendon in his rehab as he attempts to return to the Nationals' lineup in time for Opening Day.

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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.

With sharper vision, Uggla has case to make Nats

Veteran second baseman displaying power, patience in spring audition

With sharper vision, Uggla has case to make Nats

VIERA, Fla -- One of Dan Uggla's biggest issues while struggling during the past two seasons has been his inability to put the ball in play. The strikeout totals were astonishing -- his 217 strikeouts in 188 games since the start of the 2013 season were more than his total of hits (101) and walks (88) combined.

But after correcting an issue with his eyes in the offseason, Uggla is tracking the ball better this spring. Entering Friday's game against the Cardinals, Uggla had more hits (10) and walks (7) than strikeouts (5) and was batting .323/.462/.581 overall. Yes, it is Spring Training and the sample size is small, but the Nationals are impressed with what they have seen from Uggla this month.

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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 reassign six to Triple-A Syracuse

Dykstra, Burriss, Lerud, Ka'aihue, Robinson, Delcarmen sent to Minor League camp

Nationals reassign six to Triple-A Syracuse

VIERA, Fla. -- Prior to Friday's game against the Cardinals, the Nationals announced that they had reassigned six players to Minor League camp. Those moves trimmed the spring roster to 36 players, seven of whom are non-roster invites.

Infielders Cutter Dykstra and Emmanuel Burriss, catcher Steven Lerud, outfielders Kila Ka'aihue and Derrick Robinson along with right-hander Manny Delcarmen were reassigned to Triple-A Syracuse.

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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.

Gio grooves on success in start against Mets

Gio grooves on success in start against Mets

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez completed his longest and best outing of the spring, but his performance was matched by Mets right-hander Matt Bowman. Both pitchers completed five scoreless innings in New York's 8-3 victory on Thursday night at Space Coast Stadium.

The Mets scored four runs in the eighth off reliever Craig Stammen, punctuated by a two-run homer from Matt den Dekker, one of three jacks for New York. The Nationals' only offense came in the sixth off reliever Jeurys Familia, who was removed with two outs in the inning after allowing three runs on four hits.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. 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 entertaining plenty of bench options

Nationals entertaining plenty of bench options

VIERA, Fla. -- As the Grapefruit League begins to wind down, the Nationals are starting to focus on who will fill out the final spots on their bench.

They have multiple players in camp who play similar roles at first base and in the outfield in Tyler Moore, Clint Robinson, Kila Ka'aihue and Matt Carp.

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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.