By Michael Marzzacco
The Nats continued their pursuit towards a new season by holding an intrasquad scrimmage, officially introducing Matt Wieters and opening their exhibition schedule over the weekend. Here’s how it all went down from Florida:
2/23: The Nationals held an intrasquad game that featured a seven inning scrimmage. Stephen Strasburg and Tanner Roark started on the mound for each team.
Roark pitched two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Top prospect Victor Robles got an infield single but Roark picked him off at second to end the top of the first. Strasburg had a rough outing needing 23 pitches to face four batters before the bottom of the first inning was called. He did give up a run in the bottom of the first but it was caused by two errors. Strasburg struck out Wilmer Difo on a curveball. Koda Glover pitched an inning and he retired the side.
2/24: Matt Wieters gets introduced
The Nationals made it official. Matt Wieters passed his physical and met the media shortly afterward. After spending his first eight years with the Orioles, he now joins the team in the middle of the DMV.
“It’s something in baseball that’s always crazy like that. You never know where it’ll be a fit… Once we were able to finally start to getting into talking with teams, Washington came back as kind of a team that was interested and thought I could help them. I thought it was a good fit for me,” said Wieters.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) February 24, 2017
Feb. 25: Nats Take Spring Opener
First pitch of the year, a ball from Sean Gilmartin to Trea Turner. 86 toasty degrees here in Port St. Lucie. pic.twitter.com/F8pWS4iFYD
— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) February 25, 2017
The Nationals clubbed four homers en route to their first win of the exhibition slate 8-6 over the Mets at First Data Field in Port St. Lucie. Bryce Harper homered in his first at bat of the spring in the second inning.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) February 25, 2017
Gio Gonzalez got the start on the mound and threw one scoreless inning with one strikeout.
Washington added to their 1-0 lead in the fifth with a solo shot by Neftali Soto. In the sixth Andrew Stevenson and Matt Skole each homered. Stevenson’s was a two-run shot after the Nats scored on a fielder’s choice. Skole’s blast made it 7-0.
The Mets would score four runs but the Nats got insurance in the top of the ninth with an RBI double by Brandon Snyder.
Feb. 26: Nats Fall to Twins
The Nationals fell in their second game of the spring 5-2 to the Twins at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers. A.J. Cole got the start for Washington and allowed four runs on four hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings.
The Nats got on the board in the third with an RBI groundout by Chris Heisey to score Michael Taylor. The Nats didn’t score again until the ninth inning with an RBI groundout by Andrew Stevenson.
Feb. 27: Turner Homers in Nats’ Loss to Cardinals
Tanner Roark, who is gearing up to represent Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, got the start and tossed three scoreless innings. He struck out four while allowing just two hits. 26 of his 37 pitches on the afternoon were for strikes.
The Nats jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second with an RBI single by Derek Norris that scored Chris Heisey. After the Cardinals tied it, Trea Turner homered in the top of the fifth to put the Nats back in front. An RBI single in the sixth and an RBI sac fly in the eighth by Brandon Snyder put the Nationals ahead 4-1. The Cardinals rallied for four runs in the eighth to win 5-4.
The Nationals will open their new Spring Training ballpark on Tuesday afternoon at 1:05. They’ll host their other mates who share the facility, the Houston Astros. This is the first game at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. You can catch the game on MASN.