02/20/2013 4:48 PM ET
Strasburg impresses in first spring batting practice
By Bill Ladson and Joey Nowak / MLB.com
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg threw his first batting practice of the spring on Wednesday and was in top form. The session lasted about 10 minutes.
Tyler Moore, Roger Bernadina, Chris Snyder and Chad Tracy faced Strasburg and were largely unsuccessful at the plate. Moore was able to hit two liners up the middle that went into center field.
"He looked really good," Moore said. "The ball was coming out of his hand -- electric, sharp curveball, heavy sink on the sinker and a good sink on his changeup. Everything you want out of one your starters, and everything you don't want to see as the other hitter."
Said Strasburg about the outing, "I felt good. It was good to get back out there. It's good to get your sights back and throw certain pitches. I was working on a sinker, changeup, threw a couple of good curveballs in there. I was working on fastball command."
Strasburg will pitch the Nats' first Grapefruit League game against the Mets on Saturday at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie.
"It's going to be good to get back out there, get my work in, work on some of the things that I have been trying to build on from the offseason," Strasburg said. "Just begin the steady progression in getting ready for the season."
Stomach pain postpones Garcia's throwing session
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals pitcher Christian Garcia did not throw his scheduled batting-practice session on Wednesday, and planned to see a doctor for a stomach ailment that kept him out of action.
Garcia said he had been experiencing a "pain that comes and goes, kind of like a strong cramp," and was going to get tests after the team's workout. He said the sharp pain would hit him every few hours, and he was also experiencing it Tuesday.
"I've never felt anything like it," Garcia said.
Reliever Ryan Mattheus also missed a few days of action this week because of illness. Manager Davey Johnson, who suffered appendix issues earlier in his career, was concerned that may be the case for Garcia.
Garcia said he was also feeling some discomfort in his right wrist, but said that's not something he or the club is concerned about.
"It's not typical," Garcia said of his wrist. "I've never had it, but the important stuff here [his elbow] and here [shoulder], that feels 100 percent. It's early, hopefully a couple days and I can be back at it."
General manager Mike Rizzo echoed Garcia's thoughts, saying the team is not overly concerned with the pitcher's ailments. Johnson said they're planning to play it by ear as far as when Garcia can throw next.
"Depending on what's wrong with him there, and when he comes back and if he's fresh, he won't get to throw BP unless he has a miraculous recovery and can throw BP tomorrow, so we'll play that by ear," Johnson said.
Ramos motivated after catching Strasburg's BP
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos caught 20 minutes of batting practice Wednesday and didn't have any problems with his right knee, which was surgically repaired last summer.
Most impressive was that Ramos was able to block a couple of balls in the dirt thrown by right-hander Stephen Strasburg.
"I was very excited to be behind the plate again and [try to] get my job back," Ramos said. "I feel better. I was blocking the ball. A couple of days ago, I was scared. But now, I have more confidence. My mind is a little clearer. I think I'm ready to go."
Strasburg was pleased to throw to Ramos during the session.
"It was awesome throwing to him," Strasburg said. "He was pretty excited just to get back out there today. I think we can definitely relate how hard it is just to get back from a serious injury and spend so much time out here on the back field training and stuff. He looks great. He is only going to get better as time goes on."
• Johnson announced that Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth most likely will not play during the first week of the Grapefruit League season. There is nothing wrong with the trio. Johnson plans to start them off slowly.
• Johnson plans to start Bryce Harper in left field, while Moore will be in right. Johnson wants Harper and Moore to get used to Denard Span, who will play center field, and shortstop Ian Desmond and second baseman Danny Espinosa will likely play during the first week. "I want to get comfortable … with the cutoff positions for Span," Johnson said. "So that is my main concern early," Johnson said. "Since we have a week early in games, I'm just going to hit the things that I [feel are important]."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.