VIERA, Fla. -- Good morning from Space Coast Stadium, where it is officially reporting day for pitchers and catchers. This is always a bit of a misnomer, though, because all it means is that all pitchers and catchers must either a) show up at the ballpark or b) call someone with the team to inform that they will be arriving sometime soon. It's really one of the least-formal days of the spring.
Everyone takes physicals tomorrow, then first real workout will take place Sunday morning. That said, plenty of these guys who show up today will take the fields for some informal work, so hopefully we'll get a look at a few of them.
Just finished my first sweep through the clubhouse and was greeted by a handful of guys, including Jesus Flores, Drew Storen, Ron Villone, Ryan Speier, Josh Whitesell, Joel Peralta and probably a couple more that I'm forgetting at the moment.
Spent some time chatting with Flores, who is obviously looking forward to being back on the field and in uniform after missing most of last season with that shoulder injury. At the same time, he knows the worst thing he could right now is rush back too quickly, lest he suffer a similar fate to last year. (Remember, he fractured his shoulder in early May when he was struck by a foul ball. Then, while rehabbing later in the summer, he began experiencing pain in the shoulder, which was later discovered to be the result of torn labrum.)
Flores really hopes not to have to start the season on the DL, but he said if it's necessary, he'll do it. He's been throwing a lot, building the muscle back up. And he's swung the bat three or four times so far. Basically, he wants a fresh start after all the difficulties last year. And that includes one significant change: His uniform number.
For the first time since he joined the Nats in 2007, Flores won't be wearing No. 3. He's switched to No. 26. Why? Because that's the number he used to wear before he ever came to Washington, both in Venezuela and in the Mets' farm system. He wanted to keep it when he arrived in D.C. as a rookie, but Wily Mo Pena already had it to himself. So Flores took No. 3, and was happy with the success he had wearing it. Still, he said, it never felt right hearing the PA announcer belt out: "Now batting, number three, Jesus Flores!" And with the Weapon of Minimal Production no longer around, he went to clubhouse manager Mike Wallace and asked if he could switch to No. 26 at last.
Some other new numbers of note, either holdover guys who switched or new guys to the team...
Jerry Owens -- 3
Ivan Rodriguez -- 7
Eric Bruntlett -- 10
Eddie Guardado -- 18
Jason Marquis -- 21
Tyler Walker -- 25
Willy Taveras -- 29
Brian Bruney -- 32
Chris Duncan -- 38
Chien-Ming Wang -- 40
Miguel Batista -- 43
Drew Storen -- 58
Collin Balester -- 99 (I'm definitely going to need to dig deeper into this one)
OK, back to the clubhouse to see who else has reported. Jim Riggleman meets with us at 11 a.m. Chien-Ming Wang press conference at noon. Plenty more to come.