Nats pitchers, catchers have first workouts
Nationals pitchers and catchers worked out for the first time Tuesday and — by all accounts – it was everything manager Davey Johnson was looking for.
Before things got started, Johnson had a meeting with his players at 9:45 a.m. ET. He told his pitchers to throw only fastball and change ups. There wasn’t a need to throw breaking balls or try to impress the skipper on the first day. Johnson also told the players if they had a problem, always go to him or the coaches for answers.
“I want to institute things that I’m comfortable with,” Johnson said. “I don’t want to stress a guy’s elbow or shoulder too much,” Johnson said. “Those are the kind of things that I need to get across. They are all going to play. I know I have 10 starters and [some] are going to piggy back [the other starters]. They are going to get their innings and the relievers will follow them at least through the first two rotations.”
Left-handers Gio Gonzalez and Sean Burnett were unable to have bullpen sessions in front of Johnson. Instead, they threw at Space Coast Stadium with pitching coordinator Spin Williams observing. Gonzalez and Burnett had to deal with the Nationals production staff, who were shooting video for the Jumbotron at Nationals Park.
“It was a good camp even though we were interrupted a little bit with the photographers for the Jumbotron, whatever,” Johnson said. “I didn’t get to see Gio, but Spin gave a good report on him. He was throwing well. Burnett was OK and now they are done with that. We can now concentrate what we have to do.”
During one bullpen session, Johnson was seen talking to right-hander Stephen Strasburg. It marked the first time since 2010 that Strasburg wasn’t rehabbing his elbow.
Last year, Strasburg spent most of the season recovering from elbow reconstruction. According to Johnson, Strasburg was happy he could to be throw a bullpen session like the rest of his teammates.
“I asked, ‘It’s nice to be one of the boys, Isn’t it?’ He said, ‘Yeah,’ rather than be a rehabber. He is just one of the guys. He is and he likes that.”