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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals talk Houston Astros on first day of Spring Training workouts + more Nats links...

SB Nation logo SB Nation 4 days ago Patrick Reddington
a group of baseball players standing on top of a field © Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

Astros, Astros, Astros! All anyone was talking about yesterday was the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal when the main topic of discussion in West Palm Beach, or at least the Nats’ half of the FITTEAM Ballpark, should have been the Washington NationalsWorld Series win last Fall and the start of the defense of their title. Instead, it was sign-stealing and trash can banging that was discussed. Shame. Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Nats Talk Astros, Astros, Astros:

This was the time for the Astros to own their cheating. Maybe they missed the sign - (WaPost)

"On the other side of the park, Kurt Suzuki, a Washington Nationals catcher who gave complex signs in the World Series to foil the Astros’ thievery, wasn’t buying any of it."

Patrick Corbin says Nationals were ‘prepared’ for Astros’ sign-stealing scheme in World Series - (NBC Sports Washington)

"Patrick Corbin confirmed reports Thursday that the Nationals were warned about the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing techniques prior to the 2019 World Series."

Astros' apology rings hollow to Nationals - (Washington Times)

"Thursday was the day MLB and its fans had been waiting for: Finally, the chastened Astros, in the aftermath of a sign-stealing scandal that rocked the sport, would step up and address — and apologize for — the controversy in a full press conference setting."

Nats on Astros: 'They’ve got to answer to it' - (MLB.com)

“'One day of having to answer questions is not going to make this go away,' Nationals closer Sean Doolittle said at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches."

As Astros apologize, Nats players share thoughts on scandal - (MASN)

"For one organization, this might have been the worst first day of spring training in franchise history. For the other, this was the best."

Max Scherzer, Sean Doolittle address Astros scandal and fallout - (WaPost)

"They are the reigning World Series champions. They beat the Astros to earn that title. They are on the other side of a shared facility with the Astros, far enough from the drama, but enveloped in it just like everyone else."

Max Scherzer: Astros 'crossed the moral line and cheated' - (Washington Times)

"Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer said Thursday the Houston Astros owe the sport’s fans a full explanation about their sign-stealing scheme throughout the 2017 and 2018 seasons."

When Sean Doolittle thinks about the Astros cheating, he thinks about lost jobs - (NBC Sports Washington)

"Sean Doolittle leaned against a shelf in the middle of the Nationals' clubhouse Thursday while explaining his thoughts on the Houston Astros cheating."

Other ST Stories:

Martinez's message for defending champs: "Repeat the process" - (MASN)

"For now, Martinez is under contract only through the 2020 season. There is a $1.2 million club option for 2021 included in his deal, which the front office could elect to pick up any time it pleases. Beyond that, nothing is established."

Nationals spring training notebook: What about Anthony Rendon? - (WaPost)

"Through 68 minutes of group interviews and a bunch of side conversations, there was one particular name that did not come up on the Nationals’ first day of spring training Thursday: Anthony Rendon."

Nationals begin World Series title defense at Spring Training - (MLB.com)

"The Nationals walked into their Spring Training complex not as one of the 29 teams chasing a World Series title, but as the lone club defending it. 'I like the way that sounds,' manager Dave Martinez said."

Healthy Scherzer leads the way on first day of workouts - (MASN)

"Scherzer’s bullpen session lasted 23 minutes, nearly twice as long as anyone else. He threw 56 pitches. He grunted. He sweated. He cursed for the first time in the 16th minute after unleashing a pitch with less-than-perfect execution."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Champion Nationals largely mum when asked about Astros - (ESPN)

"Manager Dave Martinez began camp in the final season for which his contract is guaranteed at the moment -- the Nationals hold an option for 2021 -- and then was prompted to talk about, well, another team entirely."

Washington Nationals open spring training in shadow of Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal - (The Palm Beach Post)

"On an afternoon when the Washington Nationals should have been showered with questions regarding their 2019 World Series championship run, the theme instead was centered around their next-door neighbors."

NL EAST UPDATES:

MLB rumors: Zack Wheeler begins Phillies career with 1 last zinger for the Mets - (nj.com)

"As Wheeler settles in at Phillies spring training in Clearwater, Fla., he had some final words for the Mets. And they were not kind, with Wheeler taking exception to New York’s lack of engagement in contract talks."

Mets' Marcus Stroman declines to rip Astros again for scandal - (NY Post)

"Marcus Stroman may have strong feelings about the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing, but he’s finished discussing it."

Miami Marlins demanded Sixto Sanchez, and now he’s their top prospect - Sports - (The Palm Beach Post)

"When the Miami Marlins traded star catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Philadelphia Phillies last February, the organization had a demand: Include pitcher Sixto Sanchez in the deal."

Leadoff: Signs of change are spotted at Braves stadium - (AJC.com)

"Signs of change are visible at the Braves’ stadium."

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