It is dangerous, if not downright foolish, to read into spring training statistics. The Nationals have not been playing their regulars lately because of injuries and typical spring rest. Today, they finished their 9-0 loss to the Cardinals with a team on the field consisting almost entirely minor leaguers.
Those crucial caveats out of the way, the Nationals are not hitting lately. At all. They were shut out for the second time in three games, and yesterday they scored two runs, one coming in the 10th inning. The Nationals have a .689 team OPS this spring, 25th in the majors.
“I don’t want them peaking too early,” Manager Davey Johnson said, before pausing. “And they’re not.”
Still, Johnson expressed more encouragement than concern over the Nationals’ offense. Ryan Zimmerman has been on fire; he just hasn’t played that much. Jayson Werth has two homers in 24 at-bats. Mark DeRosa and Rick Ankiel, who smoked a single today, have had nice springs, too.
With their revamped, excellent pitching staff, the Nationals’ success this season will be dependent on whether or not they can score enough runs. Johnson still believes they will.
“We’re way ahead of what I’ve seen the last couple years in our approach,” Johnson said. “That’s all I care about, is our approach. Are we aggressive? Things like that. I like the approach, and if I didn’t like it, I’d tell you that, too. I like where we’re at. I think most guys are pretty close.”
●After heading back to Washington for tests on his biceps and triceps area, closer Drew Storen should be fine, a person familiar with the results said. The Nationals needed to make sure soreness in his arm did not indicate any deeper issue. They will continue to build his arm strength slowly with hopes of his being ready by opening day