This time tomorrow, the Nationals’ bus will be fuming down Interstate 95 to Port St. Lucie, headed toward the first game on the Grapefruit League schedule. With Stephen Strasburg on the mound, the Nationals will bring about half their regulars.
Denard Span, Ian Desmond and Bryce Harper will all make the trip. Bench stalwarts Chad Tracy, Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore will travel, as will top prospect Anthony Rendon.
Danny Espinosa, Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Kurt Suzuki will stay behind. Zimmerman, by the way, will take full batting practice on the field today, a first for him this spring as he completes his recovery from November shoulder surgery.
No sign of newly signed Chris Young in the clubhouse yet. Christian Garcia was there, but he said he had not yet heard any results from the tests on his tight right wrist or his aching stomach. The Nationals are holding a meeting now about media policy, so expect the quotes to go downhill. (Just kidding, hopefully.)
The Nationals will face pitchers Shaun Marcum and Zack Wheeler, a big-time prospect, of the Mets. Here’s the full list of players making the trip for the Nationals’ Grapefruit League opener.