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Nats release spring training schedule

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Nats release spring training schedule

The Nationals have announced the exhibition schedule for what likely will be their final spring training in Viera, a 32-game slate that underscores why the franchise hopes to relocate to Florida's Gulf Coast in 2014.

Washington will open the Grapefruit League on Feb. 23 in Port St. Lucie, the first of six spring encounters with the Mets (who train about an hour south of Viera). The Nationals also face the Astros (who train 50 minutes west in Kissimmee) six times. They'll face the Braves (who are an hour west in Lake Buena Vista), Cardinals and Marlins (who train nearly two hours to the south in Jupiter) five times a piece, while facing the Tigers (who are nearly two hours away in Lakeland) four times.

The Nationals also must make a six-hour round trip to Clearwater on March 6 for a single exhibition game against the Phillies.

All told, the Nationals will spend more time on Florida's highways than any other club in the Grapefruit League, the primary reason ownership hopes to relocate to the Gulf Coast in 2014.

The Nationals have been in negotiations with government officials from Fort Myers, seeking funding to renovate the City of Palms complex that was vacated by the Red Sox last year. If they're able to strike a deal and move in 2014, the Nationals would train in a town that also hosts the Red Sox and Twins and is also located a short drive from three other camps on the west coast: the Rays, Orioles and Pirates.

Here is the full exhibition schedule for this spring. Reporting dates for pitchers and catchers and then position players has not been finalized yet, but they will come earlier than usual because the World Baseball Classic will be held in March...

NATIONALS 2013 GRAPEFRUIT LEAGUE SCHEDULE
Game times TBA
Feb. 23 at Mets in Port St. Lucie
Feb. 24 vs Marlins in Viera
Feb. 25 at Mets in Port St. Lucie
Feb. 26 at Braves in Lake Buena Vista
Feb. 27 vs Marlins in Viera
Feb. 28 vs Mets in Viera
Mar. 1 at Braves in Lake Buena Vista
Mar. 2 at Cardinals in Jupiter
Mar. 3 vs Cardinals in Viera
Mar. 4 OFF
Mar. 5 vs Astros in Viera
Mar. 6 at Phillies in Clearwater
Mar. 7 at Astros in Kissimmee
Mar. 8 vs Cardinals in Viera
Mar. 9 vs Marlins (ss) in Viera
Mar. 10 at Tigers in Lakeland
Mar. 11 vs Braves in Viera
Mar. 12 OFF
Mar. 13 (ss) vs Mets in Viera, (ss) at Astros in Kissimmee
Mar. 14 vs Astros in Viera
Mar. 15 at Cardinals in Jupiter
Mar. 16 vs Astros in Viera
Mar. 17 at Tigers in Lakeland
Mar. 18 vs Tigers in Viera
Mar. 19 OFF
Mar. 20 at Marlins in Jupiter
Mar. 21 at Braves in Lake Buena Vista
Mar. 22 vs Tigers in Viera
Mar. 23 at Mets in Port St. Lucie
Mar. 24 vs Braves in Viera
Mar. 25 at Astros in Kissimmee
Mar. 26 at Marlins in Jupiter
Mar. 27 at Cardinals in Jupiter
Mar. 28 vs Mets in Viera

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Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?

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Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?

The Washington Nationals announced Friday Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018. 

Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history, and the Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, but they failed to make it to an NLCS.

Baker is 14th in MLB history with 1,863 career wins.

The next Nationals' manager will be their seventh since they arrived in DC.

Only the Marlins have had as many.

"I'm surprised and disappointed," Baker told USA TODAY Sports. "They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me."

"I really thought this was my best year. We won at least 95 games each year and won the division back to back years but they said they wanted to go a different direction. It's hard to understand." 

The team also announced the contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired, and the search for a new manager will begin immediately.

RELATED: BRYCE HARPER THANKS NATIONALS' FANS FOR SUPPORT

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Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery

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Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery

While Nats fans were still digesting the news that Dusty Baker will not return as manager next year, the team released some more surprising news. 

Second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent knee surgery today, per an official team report. 

Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes reported that the surgery is considered significant and the team won't put a timeline on the recovery process:

"The procedure, according to the statement released by the team, repaired articular cartilage in Murphy’s right knee. For those interested in the details, it was a debridement and microfracture surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kremchek performed it."

"For those concerned with the implications of the procedure, those are still unclear. The statement clarified that Murphy’s rehab “will progress throughout the offseason,” as one would hope, and did not include a timetable.

RELATED: HARPER THANKS FANS FOR SUPPORT