(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

The Nationals will play 35 games in the Grapefruit League, 162 in the regular season and perhaps 20 or so more in the playoffs. The grind begins today in Port St. Lucie, where Tradition Field contains baseball-like substance. The Nationals are playing the Mets in their spring opener. Stephen Strasburg vs. Shaun Marcum, for the first couple innings, anyway. You can watch it on MLB Network, and we’ll have updates here, too.

Strasburg will be  limited to 45 pitches, Manager Davey Johnson said, which could be distributed over two or three innings. The Nationals’ regulars on the trip – Bryce Harper, Denard Span and Ian Desmond – should play three or four innings.

Do check out Boz’s column on Davey Johnson, who returned to the game after a decade as sharp as ever.

Here are the full lineups:


1. Denard Span, CF

2. Steve Lombardozzi, 2B

3. Bryce Harper, LF

4. Tyler Moore, RF

5. Chad Tracy, 3B

6. Ian Desmond, SS

7. Chris Marrero, 1B

8. Chris Snyder, C

9. Micah Owings, DH

-Stephen Strasburg, SP


1. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF

2. Ruben Tejada, SS

3. David Wright, 3B

4. Ike Davis, 1B

5. Marlon Byrd, RF

6. Lucas Duda, LF

7. John Buck, C

8. Justin Turner, 2B

9. Jordany Valdespin, DH

– Shaun Marcum

Craig Stammen, Cole Kimball and Bill Bray are also down to pitch for the Nationals. Big-time Mets prospect Zack Wheeler will pitch in relief for the Mets.