Now Commenting On:

Nationals aware of threat Braves pose


Orlando, Fla. -- Tuesday was set to be the Nationals' first look at the Braves, who beefed up their lineup over the offseason and figure to be Washington's chief competition in the National League East.

Atlanta lost third baseman Chipper Jones to retirement and utility man Martin Prado to the D-backs, but added outfielder Justin Upton in that trade with Arizona and his brother, B.J., via free agency.

"I think Atlanta, their history has been great," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "They've always had good young players coming along. I thought the last couple years, they had a strong left-handed presence in their lineup and I thought they always needed a little more right-handed presence in the lineup and they certainly did that with the two Upton boys, so I think their lineup is much more balanced."

The Nationals finished four games ahead of the Braves in the division last season, and the Braves went on to lose to the Cardinals in the one-game Wild Card playoff. Washington won the season series, 10-8, and outscored Atlanta, 84-69, on the year.

They'll meet six times this spring in Grapefruit League action.

"I don't look at anybody as a weak sister," Johnson said of the NL East. "Obviously, Philadelphia and Atlanta, with what they've done over the last decade, you have to say those are the teams you've got to beat in your division. We had our problems with the Marlins last year. I look at all of them as tough competitors."

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español