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Todd Peterson Jersey

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Cavalli was the first of the group to take the mound, pitching in the second behind starter Kyle Finnegan. He found himself in a pinch with runners on second and third after he walked James McCann and allowed Luis Guillorme to reach on a throwing error. Cavalli buckled down to strike out Khalil Lee and Drew Ferguson swinging to end the inning.

“He was very poised,” manager Dave Martinez said. “There was no panic. He did go to his secondary pitches, which is kind of nice to see. The good thing is that he had a veteran catcher in Yan [Gomes] that could help him out a little bit, and he looked really, really good.”

Said Cavalli, “I took a look around — I’m in a Nats uniform in a big league game. That’s what I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid. Yeah, it’s an exhibition. But I’m going to go out there and compete like it’s not. It’s Game 7 to me every time.”

RHP Jackson Rutledge: 1.0 IP, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts

After Rutledge allowed a single to left field against Brandon Nimmo, the first batter he faced, he quickly rebounded. He picked off Nimmo at first and fanned Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith to quickly wrap up the inning.

“He tries to work extremely fast, he really does,” Martinez said. “He’s a guy that gets the ball and goes. Sometimes you’ve got to slow things down a little bit and catch your breath. He seemed to do that there. I liked what I saw out of him. He threw strikes, he threw strikes with secondary pitches, so it was really good.”

Said Rutledge, “I think the big thing was that I can do it, that I can go out there and be confident and be under control and get guys out. I don’t need to go out and try to be something that I’m not — try to throw too hard, try to hit a corner too much, but really just be confident in my stuff and know that I can get really good hitters out.”

Jackson Rutledge’s strong inning
Mar 5, 2021 · 0:24
Jackson Rutledge’s strong inning
RHP Cole Henry: 1.0 IP, 2 hits, 1 home run (grand slam), 4 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

With one out in the fifth, Henry loaded the bases on a single by Ferguson, a walk to Nimmo and hitting McNeil with a pitch. He got Smith out on a foul tip, but Pete Alonso did damage sending a fastball into right-center field for a grand slam. After the inning, Henry took it in stride, telling Martinez that he didn’t just get his feet wet, he got them soaked.

“He was really good after the game,” Martinez said. “He kind of made a joke, and he knows he’s here to get better. Some time along the line, he’s going to help us in our division, in our league.”

LHP Matt Cronin: 0.2 IP, 1 run, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

Cronin, the Nats’ No. 8 prospect, previously struck out two on Monday and returned to the mound on Thursday. He faced five batters in the eighth inning as the Mets had taken a 7-4 lead. He began the outing by walking Mark Vientos, retired the next two hitters and walked Johneshwy Fargas and Mallex Smith to load the bases. Martinez then made a call to the ‘pen for Todd Peterson.

“He wears a lot of his emotions on his sleeve,” Martinez said. “I told him, ‘Hey, we’ve got to hone in on your energy.’ He’s a guy that pitches with a lot of energy, so we’ve got to kind of bottle that energy and use it to his advantage.

“We talked for a little bit, and I told him, ‘You’re going to get back out there and I want you to slow everything down. Just remember, the biggest thing for you is you’ve got the stuff, you’ve just got to throw strike one and get ahead of hitters. You’ll be surprised at what will happen.’”

Now that the prospects have made their Spring Training debuts, the Nationals will continue to get them stretched out for the season.

“I like all these guys,” Martinez said. “These are guys that eventually are going to help us in the big leagues. They’ve got great stuff. Now we’ve got to get them honed in and get them perfected on what they want to do and what kind of pitchers they want to be and get them to throw strikes.”

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Would you believe spring training is already 40 percent complete? That’s right, the Nationals have made it through the first 16 days of a 40-day camp. Time flies when you’re having fun, huh? (Or when there’s actually baseball being played.)

That’s not to suggest the Nats are anywhere close to being ready for opening night, though. They’ve still got a lot to figure out Washington Nationals Jerseys China over the next 24 days. Truth be told, they’ve barely answered any of the most pressing questions they faced when they arrived in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Is Carter Kieboom ready to start at third base every day? Too soon to say. Is Joe Ross the No. 5 starter? He hasn’t pitched in a game yet. Is Stephen Strasburg back to 100 percent health? Let’s see him actually face another team before drawing any conclusions. Are Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber and Victor Robles going to bounce back from bad 2020 seasons? They look good so far, but it’s too early to say with certainty.

So the upcoming exercise – projecting the opening night roster – may feel a bit premature. But it also feels worth attempting, because there is plenty we do know for sure already.

Here, then, is a look at which 26 men might be in line to come north with the club at the end of the month …

ROTATION (5): Max Scherzer, Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Jon Lester, Ross
Though this is still the safest projection of the opening night rotation, those two last two spots are hardly guaranteed at the moment. Lester figured to be a lock all along, but that was before he reported fatigue and subsequent tests determined he needed to have his thyroid gland removed. That surgery took place Friday in New York. We’ll hopefully know more about his prognosis today, and hopefully everything is fine. That said, it wouldn’t be a shock if Lester (even if healthy) needs a little extra time to be ready to begin the season. Ross, meanwhile, remains the frontrunner for the No. 5 job, but he needs to actually pitch and prove he deserves it. He’ll get his first chance Monday against the Mets. As always, Erick Fedde and Austin Voth are waiting in the wings if they’re needed, though neither has pitched particularly well so far this spring.

Thumbnail image for Suero-in-Rain-Red-sidebar.jpgBULLPEN (8): Brad Hand, Daniel Hudson, Tanner Rainey, Will Harris, Jeremy Jeffress, Wander Suero, Kyle Finnegan, Voth or Fedde
Though this is the most likely octet to open the season in the Nationals bullpen, not everyone in the group is safe. Rainey is currently dealing with a slight muscle strain near his right collarbone, so that could set him back a little bit. Jeffress, who signed a minor league deal after camp opened, is still building his arm up to pitch in a game. Finnegan has pitched in two games and has given up a home run in each. He’s got options, so he’s not a lock to make the team. We’ve been assuming all along the runner-up for the fifth starter’s job will remain as a long reliever, but it doesn’t necessarily have to work out that way. The Nats could decide they’d rather keep a more experienced and versatile reliever like Javy Guerra or Ryne Harper; a second lefty like Sam Clay, Luis Avilán or T.J. McFarland; or a young right-hander who has a good spring like Kyle McGowin or Dakota Bacus.

CATCHERS (2): Yan Gomes, Alex Avila
Something unexpected would need to happen for these two not to head north as the club’s catching duo. Both veterans are healthy. Both are working with all of the pitchers in the mix for jobs. But if something did happen, Welington Castillo or perhaps Blake Swihart is ready to step in. And younger catchers Tres Barrera and Raudy Read also could be called upon in a pinch.

INFIELDERS (6): Bell, Starlin Castro, Trea Turner, Kieboom, Ryan Zimmerman, Josh Harrison
All six of these guys are making the team if healthy. That includes Kieboom, if for no other reason than the fact there is no other realistically viable everyday third baseman in camp. Bell and Zimmerman have looked especially good at the plate so far, going a combined 7-for-10 with three doubles, three homers, six RBIs, three walks and only one strikeout. Harrison can play just about anywhere, including the corner outfield spots.

OUTFIELDERS (4): Juan Soto, Robles, Schwarber, Andrew Stevenson
It’s been an encouraging start to the spring for Robles, who has slimmed down, looks better in the field and looks pretty good as a leadoff hitter. Schwarber is looking more comfortable in his new (actually old) batting stance. Soto doesn’t need to worry about anything other than staying healthy. Stevenson has taken a team-high 12 plate appearances, and though he has only one hit, he’s all but penciled in as the fourth outfielder.

If you’ve added all that up, you realize only 25 players are listed so far. There’s one more spot that needs to be filled, and this is where it gets tricky.

The Nationals could decide to use it on another bench player, but would that be another infielder like Jordy Mercer or Adrián Sanchez; another outfielder like Gerardo Parra, Yadiel Hernández or Yasmany Tomás; or a utility man who can play anywhere like Hernán Pérez?

Or they could decide to keep a ninth reliever, which brings anyone from the aforementioned group of Guerra, Harper, Clay, Avilan, McFarland, McGowin and Bacus back into play.

That’s probably the last decision they’ll have to make at the end of camp. Hopefully by then, the situation will have sorted itself out and someone will have become the obvious choice.

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Davey Martinez shared a fun anecdote with reporters over the weekend when he talked about the adjustments Alex Avila is making as the veteran catcher, who signed with the Nationals on a 1-year/$1.5M free agent deal this winter, gets to Wholesale Washington Nationals Jerseys know his new team and works with a range of new pitchers on Washington’s roster.

“Today he caught Wander Suero,” Martinez said.

The hard-throwing, 29-year-old, cutter-heavy (81.6%) reliever apparently surprised Avila with the movement he gets.

“It’s funny. Wander in his warmups he threw a pitch and obviously it was a cutter, and [Avila] dropped the ball and I said, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’

“And he goes, ‘Cutter. I got it now.’

“I said, ‘Hey, be ready, because they all cut.’

“So it was kind of funny.”

Avila, 34, and a veteran of 12 big league seasons, has history with Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, and Jon Lester, but he acknowledged after signing on in D.C. that it would take some time to get to know the entire pitching staff in the nation’s capital.

“That will be part of the challenge going into Spring Training. I only know three of the guys on the staff, as far as Lester, Pat, and Max, so everyone will be a learning experience for me and that starts with video, that starts with conversations with them, conversations with Jim [Hickey] and Davey [Martinez] and Yan [Gomes].

“Yan, I’ll probably rely on the most as far as trying to figure out what makes these pitchers tick, and I think me and him are going to have a really great working relationship.”

His new manager, who was a bench coach in Chicago when Avila played for the Cubs, said that he’s confident the experienced backstop will get up to speed quickly in his new home.

“I really believe that,” he said, in explaining how the shared duties behind the plate with Yan Gomes would work. “I had Alex in Chicago and he does a great job, he really does with the pitchers. He handles everybody really well, so I don’t think it’s going to be an issue with him catching anybody, whether it’s left-handed or right-handed, so what I would like to do is — obviously Alex is a left-handed batter, against a righty, if we do need to give Yan a day off he’ll catch that day.

“We’ll figure all this stuff out as we get moving, but it’s nice to have both those guys. They’re both veteran catchers, which I like a lot.

“I know that Alex had Jon Lester over there [in Chicago], he caught Max a lot [in Detroit], so it’s nice that he’s familiar with some of these guys, and he’s getting familiar with all the guys.”

Gomes, who shared catching duties fairly evenly with Kurt Suzuki (now with the Angels) in 2019-20, is expected to get the bulk of the starts, with Avila more of a true backup. Gomes said he is excited about getting to know his former divisional rival in the American League Central better as they work to get ready for the start of the 2021 campaign.

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“It’s actually kind of similar as Kurt,” Gomes explained of the process of getting on the same page with his new partner.

“We played against each other for quite a few years when [Avila] was in Detroit and I was in Cleveland, so we’ve always built that relationship. We’ve known each other for a long time.

“As soon as we signed him I tried to get in contact with him and just kind of get to know him kind of get that little awkward stage of the first week of spring out of the way.

“I feel like we’ve kind of hit it off right away. We knew what our job is supposed to be like, we have a tremendous pitching staff, and I look forward to bouncing ideas off of him.”