Baker to give regulars more playing time

Nats manager wants players stretched out ahead of season

March 9th, 2016

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Nationals brought most of their starting position players to Joker Marchant Stadium for Wednesday's game against the Tigers, the first road trip of the spring for players such as Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon.
Most of the regulars had been playing about every other day, but manager Dusty Baker said he plans to give his starters a lot of playing time the next few days, in an effort to stretch them out in advance of the season.
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Baker said he wanted to try to get some of his regulars in three consecutive games, and Wednesday presented an opportunity to do it. The Nats play at night Thursday and during the day Friday, both at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla., giving players their first taste of playing three days in a row, including a day game after a night game.
"I know how to get guys ready for the season," Baker said. "Get their endurance up without hurting them."
Baker also said he wants to play second baseman Daniel Murphy and shortstop Danny Espinosa together as much as possible this spring, as they try to build a rapport up the middle. The two stayed after Tuesday's game against the Astros to work together with bench coach Chris Speier.
"Those are the two most important guys that have to know each other," Baker said. "They have to know exchanges -- and in a hurry."
• The Nationals agreed to terms with all 22 of their pre-arbitration-eligible players -- including Michael Taylor, Clint Robinson, Trea Turner, Trevor Gott, Felipe Rivero, Tanner Roark and Joe Ross -- the club announced Wednesday. Every player on Washington's 40-man roster is now under contract for this season.