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Posted at 07:50 AM ET, 03/20/2012

The second half of spring training

Think of Monday’s scheduled off day for the Washington Nationals as a mini-all-star break. The Nationals have played 16 spring training games so far (not counting the exhibition against Georgetown), and have 16 left to go (including the April 3 game at Nationals Park against the Red Sox).

In the second half of spring training, things are about to get serious. As we noted in today’s story, Manager Davey Johnson will start taking over management of the team’s offense (the running game, hit-and-run plays, etc.), as well as the pitching. And for those of you here in Viera, you’re going to start seeing a lot more of the team’s regulars — no more “get yourself two at-bats and hit the golf course.”

“We’re getting closer to our 25-man roster,” Johnson said, “and the everyday guys will start getting more at-bats. Everyday players, this next week, will start playing nine innings. Catchers will be capable of going nine. Pitchers should be able to give me five innings after the break.

“Basically, a week before the [regular] season I want everyone feeling awful good about themselves, as far as their conditioning, their arms and legs, their timing at home plate. I want them ready a week early. I don’t want my guys putting it together the last week or two.”

The second half of spring training opens tonight with the Nationals visiting the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie. Stephen Strasburg will be your starting pitcher.

Lineups to come.


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