Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday's workout

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Gio Gonzalez throws live BP today with Class AAA pitching coach Greg Booker watching.
VIERA, Fla. -- We've reached that inevitable point in spring training where everyone pines for the games to begin. There are only so many defensive drills and live BP guys can take before they start clamoring for some real game action.

Fortunately, that day has nearly arrived. The Nationals will host Georgetown in a charity game Friday at noon, then head to Kissimmee to face the Astros in their official Grapefruit League opener Saturday at 1:05 p.m.

Sensing his guys are just about ready to play nine innings against an opponent, manager Davey Johnson took the unusual step this morning of having his club work out inside Space Coast Stadium instead of on the practice fields just down the road. There are still too many players to use just one field, so half of the squad worked out right across the parking lot on Field 5. But most of the veterans and regulars were inside the stadium, making for a nice change of scenery.

"It automatically elevates the energy level," Johnson said. "And I wanted them to get comfortable over here. I know I'm more comfortable over here. ... I'm anxious for Friday to get here."

Today's workout featured some more rounds of live BP, with Gio Gonzalez, Sean Burnett and Drew Storen among the bigger names pitching to hitters. And those hurlers got to experience some fun, head-to-head encounters with teammates.

Gonzalez got a kick out of pitching to Ian Desmond. The two squared off years ago in the Florida state high school playoffs, and Desmond has been bragging this spring about how he got two hits off the otherwise unhittable left-hander back then.

"Everything about him is the same," Desmond said. "I don't remember him being any different than what he is right now. He's just fun. He's a goofball."

There was plenty of playful banter going back and forth between the two; Desmond was quite proud of himself for recording a couple more hits off Gonzalez today, though one of them was a broken bat flare to right field.

"The ones I got off him in high school were a lot harder than the ones I got today," he said.

Burnett, meanwhile, had several hitters and coaches impressed with his performance. The lefty reliever was getting a lot of movement out of his sinker and at one point completely sawed Michael Morse's bat in half. That was perhaps sweet redemption for Burnett, who over the weekend served up a towering shot to Morse off the top of the batter's eye in center field.

"The first day he knew what was coming, so that's cheating," Burnett said with a laugh. "No, it's just important right now for them to see strikes. I'm trying to throw everything for a strike, and of course the other day he ran into one. Today was a little more of an indicator, not letting him know what was coming."

Storen also enjoyed a rematch, in his case with Bryce Harper, who tagged one pitch to deep left-center off the Nationals' closer (who did otherwise look quite sharp).


Anonymous said...

I hope it's an indicator! Burnett sawing bats from monster RH hitters would be great to see over and over in 2012.

Best 25 go North!


C.Cohen said...

I am a total Rizzo defender and there is no GM in the league I would rather the Nats have, but we are going to have to address the outfield situation in some fashion.

Most teams have 5 outfielders and 4 is considered the bare miniumum for a 25-man roster. We have 5 outfielders on our 40 MAN ROSTER! And that includes Morse! When Morse is brought back into the infield where he belongs, we will officially have 3 outfielders on the active roster and 1, that's right 1... outfielder available on the rest of the 40 man.

I'm willing to acknowledge that there is some shuffling that can be done with Adam LaRoche in case of emergency, but a team looking to contend can not play this fast and loose with their depth. If there is a single injury (not unimaginable, particularly with Werth), we will need another natural outfielder who is ML ready.

I'm hoping to hear some progress on this front before opening day.

NatsJack in Floeida said...

Ankiel will go on the 40 man at the end of ST and are you counting DaRosa?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Plus the 40 man only has 38 players listed.

natsfan1a said...

I'm pining for the fjords, uh, baseball, too.

Can't wait to listen to a game on Saturday. Looking forward to hearing Livo's Bugs Bunny curve. :-)

Anonymous said...

And they do have several outfielders including CF Corey Brown.
Plus destin Hood and Tyler Moore Re close. If anything they have
too many outfielders so with Solis out pitching depth is an issue
especially left handed short relief.

Anonymous said...

I think DeRosa is going to play a lot of RF until Harper comes.


David said...

speaking of Corey Brown. how has he looked this spring?

NatsJack on Florida said...

He hasn't done anything to stand out. Hopefully, he'll show something starting Friday.

Anonymous said...

How much can a guy stand out when all they are doing is running drills at this point?

NatsJack in Florida said...

He could be hitting ropes to all fields with power like Rendon.

UnkyD said...

Damn... That sounds so good, Jack!

Anonymous said...

Ropes to all field in BP? Where Ichiro smacks HR's at will; righhhttt. Good indicator.

Soul Possession, PFB Sofa said...

Ropes to all field in BP? Where Ichiro smacks HR's at will; righhhttt. Good indicator.

Ichiro as a comparison for much of anybody. Fair enough. He's nothing special.

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