Martinez ready for managerial debut Friday

February 22nd, 2018

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Nationals manager Dave Martinez has done his best to run a loose camp during this abbreviated spring schedule, finding time for his players to complete their workouts while also allowing them to have fun. A popular new feature has been music during workouts. got his turn to serve as DJ on Thursday with a playlist featuring old-school hip hop.

Now, the Nationals are about to begin the Grapefruit League portion of the spring, with their first game Friday at 1:05 p.m. ET against the defending World Series champion Astros at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

Nationals Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

Even though Martinez said he was impressed with how many players were prepared to play so early in camp, he will ease most of his veteran starters into game action. Tommy Milone, who is competing for a spot as the fifth starter, will start on the mound for the Nationals, in front of a lineup that includes some of their promising young players -- , , -- and a few veteran reserves in Matt Adams and .

"We're trying to see all our young guys early," Martinez said. "I wouldn't read into that stuff early. We want to give our guys a chance to see everybody because there's so many young guys. Some of the guys that have been around. Get to see everybody. Some guys that I haven't seen before. Trying to see them all."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

That's likely the lineup model for the opening games this spring: a few veterans trying out for spots mixed in with younger players trying to impress the new coaching staff. Eventually, Martinez will start to mix some of his starters in.

"My biggest concern is not getting anybody injured, just getting them ready for March 29," Martinez said, referring to Opening Day. "And slowly but surely you're going to start seeing our regular guys getting in more games and getting more at-bats. But we've still got a ways to go, so I just want to make sure they're ready to play."

One notable debut to watch for in Friday's game will be Martinez himself, managing his first game. During the course of the spring, Martinez will be one of the most interesting people to watch with the Nationals, because there is so much unknown with his style and how he envisions utilizing his roster.

For years under Joe Maddon, Martinez said he would manage the game in his mind. And although they would converse together before they made decisions, Maddon, of course got the final call.

"I've sat there and I've managed games and given my opinions," Martinez said. "I'm very opinionated. When I got the job, he knew that. And it worked out. Now I get a chance to make the final decision."