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Severino will start NLDS Game 1, Difo makes playoff roster

Severino will start NLDS Game 1, Difo makes playoff roster

Though the Nationals have until 10 a.m. on Friday morning to announce their NLDS roster, we’re learning more about what it will look like by the day. 

Dusty Baker revealed after Thursday's workout that Game 1 starter Max Scherzer will be paired with 23-year-old catcher Pedro Severino. The rookie backstop, on the roster after All-Star Wilson Ramos was lost for the year with an ACL tear, has only has appeared in 18 regular season games in his career.

"He's pretty good against left-handed pitchers," Baker added. "I don't think he's seen one quite like this in Kershaw before. He's worked with our guys and you know, [Jose] Lobaton is a little bit injured and that's one reason why he's not catching tomorrow."

"In most scenarios, having a rookie catcher behind the plate, you probably have pause for concern," Scherzer added. "But Severino is completely different. First off, he's way more mature and understands the game way further than any rookie catcher I've been around. He gets it."

The other development from Thursday's press conference was Baker's announcement that infielder Wilmer Difo would make the roster. It's a bit of a surprise move, but the speedy 24-year-old could give the Nats a late-game pinch running option. 

"Number one, he's a switch-hitter," Baker said. "You know, he has speed. He's very good from the right side and also he can play all three infield positions, and with Daniel Murphy still coming off an injury, he gives us a possibility at second base late in the game and run for Daniel Murphy, as well."

Difo’s addition on the bench means there could be only one reserve spot left to determine. If that’s the case, that means Baker must choose between first baseman Clint Robinson and outfielders Ben Revere, Michael Taylor and Brian Goodwin.

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Astros' Carlos Correa on the negative fan reaction in spring training debut: 'I didn't hear anything'

Astros' Carlos Correa on the negative fan reaction in spring training debut: 'I didn't hear anything'

For the first time since the Astros sign-stealing scandal broke, Houston infielders Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, and Yuli Gurriel took the field in spring training on Monday.

As expected, they were showered by a bunch of 'boos' from the crowd.

Correa was asked by Astros' beat reporter Chandler Rome about the reaction the players received, and the third baseman claimed he could not hear anything.

"What reaction?" Correa said. "I didn't hear anything."

As seen by the videos above, the 'boos' would have been certainly hard to tune out.

The Astros played their first spring training game on Saturday against the Nationals, who they share a complex with, but none of the players that were on the World Series team in 2017 played. They were still booed, and multiple signs by fans needed to be removed by stadium employees.

All four infielders had three plate appearances on Monday before being removed from the game. Correa finished 0-2 with a strikeout, walk, and grounded into a double play. Altuve was hit by a pitch, but it was on a breaking ball that got away. He was not intentionally thrown at. 

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Ryan Zimmerman 'couldn't be happier' for Alex Ovechkin scoring 700 career goals

Ryan Zimmerman 'couldn't be happier' for Alex Ovechkin scoring 700 career goals

Two of the longest-tenured athletes in Washington, D.C. are Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin and Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman.

Zimmerman and Ovechkin made their respective MLB and NHL debuts within nearly a month of each other; Zimmerman's first game with the Nationals was on Sept. 1, 2005, while Ovechkin's first game with the Capitals was Oct. 5. Since then, both have spent their careers with the same organization, becoming legends in the nation's capital and being an integral part of a championship team.

Ovechkin scored his 700th career NHL goal on Saturday, a feat only seven other players have done in the history of the league. Zimmerman, who has had a relationship with the goal-scorer for years and is an avid Capitals fan, was thrilled to see Ovechkin continue to climb in the record books.

"[Ovechkin's] commitment to that organization, his work ethic, his character, the way he's gone about his business, just his longevity, his consistency has been unbelievable," Zimmerman told NBC Sports Washington. "I couldn't be happier for him."

The two teams have an incredible bromance with one another.

Throughout the Capitals' Stanley Cup run in 2018, Zimmerman and his Nationals teammate Max Scherzer were often seen in the stands showing support. When the Caps boarded a plane to Nashville ahead of the Nationals Game 5 clash with the Dodgers in the NLDS this past season, the whole Caps team sported Nats gear. The Capitals have a Nationals batting helmet in their locker room that's given to the de-facto player of the game. The list goes on and on.

By being in Washington, D.C. for the past 15-plus seasons, Ovechkin and Zimmerman have each been able to see the other grow both on and off the playing field. 

"I appreciate the entertainment for 15 years on and off the ice, I guess you could say," Zimmerman said. "You're talking about one of, if not the best goal scorer of all-time. So it's been fun to watch. He's just one of those guys who competes every day. He plays with passion and it's fun to watch him play."

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