VIERA, Fla. -- A very pleasant Sunday morning to you all from Viera, where the sun is shining at last and the temperature is very slowly rising to something resembling late-February in Florida. Some of the locals here are saying this stretch of the last couple weeks has been the coldest they can ever remember in these parts, and at some point you have to wonder if it might actually interfere with the Nationals' preparations. They've already had to call off one workout in the last week due to rain, and yesterday had to try to squeeze as much as they could into an abbreviated session before the latest round of precipitation hit. Hopefully the worst is behind us and things can proceed from here without tweaks, delays or postponements.
In the meantime, a few news nuggets to share this morning before the workout begins...
-- Jim Riggleman says he's not sure yet who will start on Opening Day against the Roy Halladay and the Phillies. Obviously, it's either going to be John Lannan or Jason Marquis, but several factors will come into play with this decision. Should it be based on track record (favoring Marquis)? Should it be based on status within the Nats' clubhouse (favoring Lannan)? Should it be based on who matches up better with the Phillies' lineup (perhaps favoring Lannan because of all the lefty sluggers)?
-- Josh Willingham, whose wife Ginger gave birth to son Ryder on Tuesday night, still hasn't reported to camp, and it's going to be at least several more days before he does. Riggleman said Willingham's delayed arrival was due to "a personal matter" and didn't want to go into more detail, but he did say the outfielder is "doing good himself."
-- More details about the Nats' rotation through the first few days of exhibition play are trickling out. Riggleman said Miguel Batista will start Friday against the Braves, and he believes Lannan will start Saturday against the Mets (though he couldn't say that one with 100 percent certainty). So to recap what we know so far: Garrett Mock will start Thursday's split-squad opener against the Astros, with J.D. Martin pitching in the other game against the Marlins. Batista will start Friday against the Braves. Lannan may start Saturday against the Mets. Sunday (against the Mets again) and Monday (against the Marlins) remain TBA. Stephen Strasburg makes his debut next Tuesday against the Tigers. Got all that?
-- Four more days of workouts before the Grapefruit League opens, including today. Riggleman has no plans to hold an intrasquad game between now and then. He feels there's more to be gained at this point from live BP sessions and fundamental drills than a pseudo-game situation in which teammates are facing teammates.