Rested Clippard enjoying spring plan

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The fact that Tyler Clippard hadn't pitched yet this spring had become something of a running joke in Nationals camp. But it was all part of the plan to bring a reliever with 224 appearances over the last three seasons along slowly. And he happily went along.

"Absolutely. We talked early this spring that this is what we want to do. I'm glad they're letting me do that, take my time and get ready for April 1," Clippard said. "I've had a heavy workload. So there's no reason for me to come in here and kill myself. I'm not really going to change anything or do anything drastically different this spring. It's just getting my body and arm ready for the season, and that's what I'm going to do."

Clippard made his Grapefruit League debut in Friday night's 6-5 win over the Braves at Champion Stadium, pitching a 1-2-3 sixth inning, and he said he has plenty of time to get ready for the regular season.

"My fastball and changeup are pitches for me that are usually there," the reliever said. "I could probably pick up a baseball in December and throw those pretty effectively. It's just the breaking pitches that are the ones you have to get a feel for."