After an exhibition game against Georgetown’s basepall program, the Nationals officially get things underway in Kissimmee, Florida at the Spring Training home of the Astros. Edwin Jackson’s on the bump for the opener, throwing opposite former Nats pitcher Livan Hernandez. Jackson’s on a limit of 40-45 pitches. As expected, Bryce Harper is starting. He’ll do so in right field and batting seventh in the order.
Skipper Davey Johnson, seemingly beleaguered by answering Harper-related questions, was reluctant to talk much about him and instead demurred by mentioning players he’s especially keen on. And those he specified are Xavier Paul, Brett Carroll, Mark Teahen and Chad Tracy. This is particularly telling since Johnson called it an important spring training to some guys competing for spots.
The spring games also hold significance in they’re the precursor to what could be an exciting season. Not only is the buzz palpable but Johnson pronounced the goal as that of competing for winning the division. He also proclaimed that the team’s in neither a development or building mode.