Notes: Aníbal ready for debut; Crowe starts

February 24th, 2020

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Nationals will begin to see more of their regular starters on the mound.

is set to make his Spring Training debut on Tuesday when the Nats travel to nearby Jupiter, Fla., to face the Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. The following day, is slated to get the call against the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.

Sánchez, who turns 36 years old on Thursday, is now in his 15th Major League season. He went 11-8 with a 3.85 ERA in the 2019 regular season, and 1-1 with a 2.50 ERA in three playoff starts.

“It’s all about his mechanics and keeping the ball down,” manager Dave Martinez said. “The word we use for him is ‘connected.’ He’s got to stay connected with his head and his lower half and not get out ahead of himself with his head. We’ll just be watching that. When he’s throwing strikes, he’s really good. I talked to him this morning; he’s excited about going out there tomorrow.”

Ross, 26, once again is in contention with and for the fifth spot in the rotation. He started in nine of his 27 games last season, going 4-4 with a 5.48 ERA. He was 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in two playoff games (one start).

The Nats had planned for Ross to make his spring debut and follow in Saturday’s opener against the Astros, but it was rained out after the second inning. Initially, the game was going to resume after a delay, and Ross warmed up in the bullpen, resulting in his start getting pushed back.

“The only bad thing is, we lost Joe because he got hot,” Martinez said that night. “He got another bullpen in.”

and have yet to make their spring debuts. The Nationals are planning for them to throw an extra round of batting practice before live action to avoid rushing them into games following a long World Series run.

Scherzer pitched two scoreless innings on Saturday.

Crowe vs. power
In the Nationals’ first two Spring Training games against the Astros, Houston didn’t put its regular players out on the field. Their opponent on Monday took a different approach. The Mets listed everyday players in their lineup, including reigning National League Rookie of the Year Award winner . Nats starting pitcher Wil Crowe faced power at the plate and handled it well.

Crowe completed his pre-determined two innings, throwing 13 of his 19 pitches for strikes. He allowed two hits, including a home run to Wilson Ramos, and struck out one batter in the Nats' 2-1 loss.

“I was happy with it,” Crowe said. “Tip my hat to those guys -- they put two good swings on two good pitches. The other guys, I thought I made my pitches and hit my spots and did everything I wanted to today.”

Crowe appeared in 26 Minor League games last season, going 7-10 with a 4.70 ERA. He was ranked the Nationals' No. 4 prospect in 2019, per MLB Pipeline, and he has a favorite pitch in his repertoire.

“Probably my changeup,” Crowe said. “It’s the best pitch in baseball. Everyone’s geared up for the fastball. You get the funky looking swings if it’s a good one.”

A look inside BP
Call it multitasking. Victor Robles doubled up on his drills when he ran from second to third base mid-batting practice. The Nationals are considering Robles in the leadoff spot this season. He scored 86 runs and stole 28 bases last year.

Up next
Sánchez and the Nationals will hit the road on Tuesday for their first away game -- a 20-minute bus ride to Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., to face the Cardinals at 1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV.