Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Nationals take field in first intrasquad game

'The fact that I didn't drill anybody, that's a big plus,' Scherzer says
MLB.com

VIERA, Fla. -- With a number of pitching decisions to consider, first-year manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Mike Maddux are using every opportunity to evaluate their new club.

They began on Sunday with the Nationals' first intrasquad game, which served to break up the monotony of Spring Training drills and give the coaching staff a different setting to see players in action.

VIERA, Fla. -- With a number of pitching decisions to consider, first-year manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Mike Maddux are using every opportunity to evaluate their new club.

They began on Sunday with the Nationals' first intrasquad game, which served to break up the monotony of Spring Training drills and give the coaching staff a different setting to see players in action.

"I urge these guys, whether it's a B-game, practice game, whatever, I'm analyzing all the time," Baker said. "Especially when you don't have a bunch of time and when you don't know guys. I'm analyzing when they're practicing, running bases. The guys that I really respect and admire are the guys who practice the way they play."

Spring Training: Tickets | Ballpark | 40-man roster | NRIs

Most of the presumptive starting position players -- with the exception of Danny Espinosa, Ben Revere and Wilson Ramos -- did not play in the game.

Still, Baker said he walked away impressed with several players he had yet to see up close -- outfielder Reed Johnson's ability to hit a fastball, left-hander Sean Burnett's first time facing hitters since his second Tommy John surgery and top prospect Lucas Giolito's bat boy skills. 

"He looked like he was really enjoying it," Baker said with a smile.

The respective starting pitchers for the game, Max Scherzer and Joe Ross, each tossed one inning before their day was finished.

"It's honestly just [an opportunity to] get out there and get some feel," Scherzer said. "It feels so awkward getting back out there in a game situation, really haven't done it in 5 to 6 months.

"So the fact that I didn't drill anybody, that's a big plus."

Ross added: "It was good to get out. I didn't feel like I was in that good a rhythm or anything. Just to go throw and get one inning, had to work with some runners on, but just a productive day overall."

The Nationals will host a second intrasquad game Monday at Space Coast Stadium with Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez as the starting pitchers. Jonathan Papelbon, Bronson Arroyo and Giolito are also scheduled to throw Monday.

Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals