Nationals at Rays in Port Charlotte, Fla.
First pitch: 1:05 p.m.
Radio: MLB.com (Rays)
Starting pitchers: Nats - Tanner Roark vs. Rays - Jake Odorizzi
After more than two weeks of spring training drills, and after a few intrasquad scrimmages, the Nationals are ready to take on their first real opponent of 2016. Their Grapefruit League schedule begins on Wednesday with a 1:05 p.m. matchup at the Tampa Bay Rays.
Manager Dusty Baker told reporters he plans to get a good look at Tanner Roark and Joe Ross, with the duo expected to be the Nationals' No. 4 and 5 starters come Opening Day. Roark will get the first crack with Ross to follow.
There are no stars in the lineup today with Dusty instead relying on some of his younger players and a good group of potential bench options. Trea Turner and Michael A. Taylor are the headliners. The Rays, however, will trot out Evan Longoria and Kevin Kiermaier, among others.
SS Trea Turner
2B Wilmer Difo
RF Matt den Dekker
1B Tyler Moore
CF Michael Taylor
LF Chris Heisey
3B Jason Martinson
C Jose Lobaton
DH Spencer Kieboom
(RHP Tanner Roark)
RF Mikie Mahtook
CF Kevin Kiermaier
3B Evan Longoria
DH Logan Morrison
LF Desmond Jennings
1B James Loney
SS Tim Beckham
2B Nick Franklin
C Curt Casali
(RHP Jake Odorizzi)
Despite Mark Lerner's comments to NBC Sports Washington that the team hasn't been in recent contact with Bryce Harper and has filled out the roster, SNY's Andy Martino says not to give up hope.
"Do not believe that the Nationals are out on Harper," Martino said. "People I talk to around the situation are saying don't rule the Nationals out until the moment that Harper signs elsewhere."
Martino believes that the clearest options may not be what they seem.
"The Phillies of course are pursuing him, but I continue to hear they have a tough road to get Harper to come to Philly," he said. "The Phillies are possible but I don’t know that I would call them frontrunners."
After the news of Manny Machado signing with the Padres, all eyes turn to Bryce Harper and how long this continues to drag out.
The clock is ticking.
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When Nationals principal managing owner Mark Lerner see his team lose, he has a postgame ritual that rivals one of the most ordinary passionate fan.
“ I go into a closet and scream a little after,” Lerner told NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas in an exclusive interview in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Friday. “No, no. That’s one thing that’s good about baseball. You’re going to play the next day. But I go home. I’m totally depressed. I won’t turn on the sports news or anything and get up the next morning, it’s a new day, get up and go after it again today. When I’m sitting down there, I’m very passionate as a fan. I’m yelling at the umpires like everybody else. I want to win. I hate losing exhibition games let alone regular-season games.”
Lerner also spoke about Bryce Harper's future - or lack thereof - with the team, Anthony Rendon and what he expects from the team this season.
The interview is now available in full on the MyTeams app, which can be downloaded here.
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