VIERA, Fla. -- These next few days will probably drag along more than any others this spring, because it's around this time that everyone begins itching to get the exhibition season started.
Unfortunately, the Grapefruit League doesn't commence until Thursday, when the Nats send one split-squad to Kissimmee to face the Astros and another to Jupiter to face the Marlins. Until then, they've got three more days of full-squad workouts to slog their way through.
That means another round of defensive fundamentals today, another round of conditioning and another round of live BP. The guys throwing today include John Lannan, Scott Olsen, Ron Villone, Eddie Guardado, Garrett Mock, J.D. Martin, Matt Capps, Collin Balester, Brian Bruney, Jason Bergmann and Drew Storen. I'll try to catch a glimpse of as many of them as I can and report back with some analysis later.
Meanwhile, we got a couple more confirmations from Jim Riggleman about the upcoming starting rotation. Here's what we now know for sure...
THU at HOU (ss): Mock
THU at FLA (ss): Martin
FRI at ATL: Batista
SAT vs NYM: Lannan
SUN at NYM: Marquis
MON vs FLA: TBA (Olsen would seem a logical choice)
TUE vs DET: Strasburg
If you want to extrapolate the schedule out on a five-day plan, Lannan would be lined up to start Opening Day, though Marquis would need to be bumped one day to pitch Game 2, since there's an off-day between the two.
Other tidbits gleaned so far today ... Josh Willingham should arrive Wednesday or Thursday after dealing with some complications following the birth of his son, Ryder. Riggleman said he'll most likely start playing in games around next Monday. ... Everybody else among the position players (except for Jesus Flores) is good to participate in games from the get-go. ... For those wondering about the eventual makeup of the bullpen, Riggleman said he's not necessarily committed to keeping two left-handers (ie. Sean Burnett and either Eddie Guardado or Ron Villone). But he's also not going to rule out the possibility of keeping all three. This could wind up being one of the toughest roster decisions of the spring.