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Potential Nationals draft pick Cole Wilcox shows pitchers are athletes too

Potential Nationals draft pick Cole Wilcox shows pitchers are athletes too

With a little over a week left until the start of the 2020 MLB amateur draft, teams are combing over every bit of game footage they have to finalize their top targets for the first round.

Georgia right-handed pitcher Cole Wilcox, who’s been matched up with the Nationals in several mock drafts, made sure scouts got a look at another video of him showing off his athleticism—albeit one off the diamond.

Wilcox has apparently taken offense to the popular opinion that pitchers aren’t athletes. Hoping to put that narrative to rest, he made sure the camera was rolling when he pulled off this impressive trick shot.

The Nationals are slated in the first round at No. 22 overall, putting them right in the middle of the target range in which Wilcox is expected to be picked. If he’s still available when they’re on the clock, his display of athleticism certainly won’t be counted against him.

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Nats' Eric Thames thanks cornhole for helping him perfect his underhand tosses during quarantine

Nats' Eric Thames thanks cornhole for helping him perfect his underhand tosses during quarantine

Like many other professional athletes, Nationals infielder Eric Thames did not have the proper equipment in his home to stay in shape during quarantine. Thames spoke to local reporters in May and said then that hitting off a tee was the only hitting activity he was able to do, meaning no soft toss or live batting practice.

However, the slugger did have one item in his home that unintentionally kept him in shape: cornhole.

By playing "hours of cornhole," Thames perfected his underhand toss, which is something he usually has to do multiple times in a game as a first baseman. 

On Thursday, Thames posted an Instagram picture of him during workouts at Nationals Park, underhand tossing the ball to one of the team's pitchers during pitcher fielding practice (PFP).

"Hours of quarantine cornhole definitely paying off in PFPs!' Thames wrote. "Only a few weeks to go til it’s game time."

The Nationals returned to their home stadium earlier this week to begin 'summer camp' workouts, as the 2020 MLB season is scheduled to begin on July 23. 

RELATED: THAMES OPTIMISTIC ABOUT MLB RETURN AFTER SEEING KBO MODEL

Last week, Thames said that despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, he's optimistic that baseball can work.

"The MLB has a strong safety protocol so we're all going to follow that. Baseball can work," Thames said. "We all need it, as players, the fans and the world. It definitely needs something to watch right now. So, we're chomping at the bit."

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Nationals’ Davey Martinez says World Series rings were ‘definitely worth the wait’

Nationals’ Davey Martinez says World Series rings were ‘definitely worth the wait’

When the Nationals arrived at the ballpark Thursday, they expected another normal day of practice—well, about as normal as a practice that is social-distancing compliant and held in the midst of a global pandemic can be. But Thursday proved to be special, as the players opened their lockers only to find that their World Series rings had finally arrived.

The Nationals were originally supposed to receive their rings April 4 as part of a ceremony in front of a sold-out crowd at Nationals Park. However, those plans were canceled after the coronavirus pandemic forced MLB to delay the start of the season. The organization then decided to unveil the design May 24 and distribute the rings to a select few players but changed course when clubhouse leaders expressed that they wanted the team to receive them all together.

A little over eight months after the Nationals paraded down Constitution Avenue celebrating their title, manager Davey Martinez stood in the corner of the clubhouse and watched as his players finally had the chance to open the rings they had earned.

RELATED: SEAN DOOLITTLE SHOW OFF HIS WORLD SERIES RING USING ‘LORD OF THE RINGS’ BOOK

“I’m still smiling about it,” Martinez said in a Zoom press conference. “It was definitely worth the wait. We waited a while to get these things on our finger but…it’s all about the work we put in to this, the players, the way we did it, the way the players did it. Just means a lot to me, means a lot to my family. Proud to be wearing this thing today and we’re here again to hopefully get another one.”

With no fans expected to be in the stands for the 2020 season, the Nationals have opted to wait before raising their World Series banner. Martinez is hopeful that by the time the D.C. faithful is let back into the ballpark, the Nationals will have two banners that need raising.

“It’s definitely sad that we couldn’t have the fans here with us,” Martinez said. “Our fans are our 26th man. They were there through thick and thin with us all year long. But I’ve always said this: We’ll do this again, hopefully with them in the stands.”

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