Rendon gets latest opinion, will open on DL

Rendon gets latest opinion, will open on DL

JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon received a third opinion on his left knee Tuesday in Vail, Colo., and Dr. Steven Singleton had the same opinion as the previous two doctors: Rendon has a sprained MCL in his left knee.

There is no timetable as to when Rendon will be back on the field. He will start the season on the disabled list. Rendon injured the knee making a diving play against the Braves on March 9.

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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.

Staying injury-free vital for Harper, Nationals

Staying injury-free vital for Harper, Nationals

JUPITER, Fla. -- Bryce Harper badly wants to go to the World Series and feels the Nationals have the team to make some noise in October.

Harper, 22, knows how important it is for the Nationals to win this year, because core players like Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister are free agents after the season.

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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.

Zimmermann allows eight runs in final tuneup

Zimmermann allows eight runs in final tuneup

JUPITER, Fla. -- Before Wednesday's game, Marlins manager Mike Redmond claimed there is not a "bigger" three-four lineup combination than Giancarlo Stanton and Michael Morse. The two sluggers showed their clout in an 8-0 win over the Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium.

Morse connected on a three-run homer off Jordan Zimmermann in the first inning, and Stanton blasted a two-run shot in the second.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats release Frandsen, send Gwynn down

Espinosa likely the utility infielder; pitcher Martin, third baseman Stewart also reassigned

Nats release Frandsen, send Gwynn down

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Nationals have granted infielder Kevin Frandsen his unconditional release and reassigned outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., pitcher Rafael Martin and third baseman Ian Stewart to Minor League camp.

Frandsen was manager Matt Williams' go-to guy off the bench last year and was productive, hitting .259 with a home run and 17 RBIs. However, he was 3-for-35 this spring, but Williams said stats had nothing to do with the move.

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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.

Nationals show off park upgrades in advance of opener

Nationals show off park upgrades in advance of opener

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals made a big splash by adding former Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, but the right-hander wasn't their only upgrade this offseason.

The ballpark Scherzer is set to call home for the next seven years got as much attention from the franchise as the Major League roster. On Wednesday, five days before the Nats host the Mets on Opening Day, the club showed off some new aspects of Nationals Park's gameday experience to members of the media. The additions include stadium features, concessions, giveaways and more.

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

Williams feeling excited, not pressure over expectations

Manager discusses loaded pitching staff, injury concerns

Williams feeling excited, not pressure over expectations

In his first year as manager, Matt Williams guided the Nationals to the National League East title and captured the NL Manager of the Year trophy.

This year, Williams has a chance to win a World Series title and another Manager of the Year trophy. It doesn't hurt that the Nationals have a dominating pitching staff led by Opening Day starter Max Scherzer.

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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.

Gonzalez fans six in solid outing vs. Mets

Left-hander allows two runs over 5 2/3 innings in start

Gonzalez fans six in solid outing vs. Mets

VIERA, Fla. -- In their sixth and final meeting this spring before they face-off to start the season, the Mets defeated the Nationals 2-0 at Space Coast Stadium on Tuesday. New York will travel to Washington for the season opener at Nationals Park on April 6 in D.C.

Jon Niese held the Nationals to four hits while striking out three and not allowing a run in six innings. He is scheduled to make his first start of the regular season on Saturday, April 11 against the Braves.

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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.

Werth takes swings in Minor League game

Outfielder recovering from offseason surgery goes 1-for-2 with a walk

Werth takes swings in Minor League game

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth went 1-for-2 with a walk in a Minor League game on Monday, his first at-bats in any game this spring.

"I felt like it was the first game of Spring Training," Werth said. "So if I had a month left, I'd be right where I needed to be, but I got six days, five now [before Opening Day]. We're gonna do all the work we can, and we're going to do everything we can to get there. I just don't know if it'll be enough. Again, that's not my decision anyway."

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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 to seek third opinion on MCL sprain

Escobar getting chance as replacement for third base

Rendon to seek third opinion on MCL sprain

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon saw Dr. James Andrews on Monday, and the doctor confirmed that Rendon has a MCL sprain in his left knee.

Rendon is expected to see Dr. Steven Singleton from in Vail, Colo., on Tuesday to get a third opinion on the knee. According to manager Matt Williams, this is Rendon's choice to get a third opinion.

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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.

Johnson, den Dekker bring depth, versatility to Nationals' lineup

Additions help outfield group dealing with several injuries

Johnson, den Dekker bring depth, versatility to Nationals' lineup

VIERA, Fla. -- Reed Johnson was in the Marlins' clubhouse cleaning out his locker at Roger Dean Stadium on Monday afternoon while his new team, the Nationals, was actually on the field playing the Cardinals.

No, he did not ride the bus back to Viera, Fla. with the team -- "that would be little weird," Johnson said -- but instead, had the chance to relax and enjoy dinner before he reported to Space Coast Stadium the next morning.

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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 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 infielder Danny Espinosa and catcher Jose Lobaton remain. As pinch-hitters, neither player was productive with the bat, but they were valuable with the glove.

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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.

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.