Greetings from Viera. I haven’t had a chance to ask anyone about the significance of this sign hanging outside the Nationals’ spring clubhouse yet, but it is definitely new this year. A touch from new manager Matt Williams? Something GM Mike Rizzo wanted to instill after last year’s disappointment? A three-for-one giveaway at the motivational poster store? We’ll find out in the coming days.
Nationals pitchers and catchers will officially report Thursday, but already a slew of pitchers and catchers are on the premises. This morning, a host of pitchers — including Drew Storen, Gio Gonzalez and Craig Stammen — threw bullpen sessions. Steve McCatty arrived on a golf cart and immediately began giving everyone a hard time. He stood behind a few pitchers as they threw. “Very nice,” he said after one of Storen’s pitches. Among the other pitchers spotted: Ryan Mattheus, Taylor Jordan, Tanner Roark, Ross Detwiler, Gabriel Alfaro and Luis Ayala.
Ian Desmond is the most prominent position player already in camp; this morning he took groundballs at shortstop with Jamey Carroll, a non-roster invitee fighting for a bench job. Catchers Jhnoatan Solano, Sandy Leon and Chris Snyder, the trio duking it out to backup Wilson Ramos, are also here. They caught some bullpen sessions and took batting practice.
There’s no sign of Rafael Soriano in camp yet. You may recall he missed the first week or so last season after he had visa issues. I’ve heard he had no such trouble this year, so he should be here on time tomorrow.
We’ll have some more substantial posts to come. Just wanted to let you know that weather is gorgeous, baseball players are doing baseball things and spring is not as far away as it seems up in Washington.