02/24/2013 12:44 PM ET
Mayor Gray among Nats' Spring Training fans
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
VIERA, Fla. -- Washington mayor Vincent Gray was at Space Coast Stadium to watch the Nationals play the Marlins on Sunday afternoon. It was the second game he attended this spring. The mayor was in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Saturday and watched the Nats lose to the Mets, 5-3.
"I'm here to see our great Nationals team," Gray said. "It was such an exciting season last year. We have such high hopes this coming year, especially with the additions that they made. It's a great way to support the team and send the message to the city that it's a team that should be supported."
Gray said he would love to see large numbers of people who live in Washington support the Nationals.
"We want the regional support because we are a regional team, but at the same time we want people to feel that it's a team that belongs to them," he said. "Beyond the civic spirit, there is the idea of winning, which is exactly why we are here. It's good for the economy and the city as well."
Gray believes the commercial and retail development around Nationals Park has been facilitated because of the baseball team and that more will come.
"For example, we have a movie theater coming down there," he said. "We have more eateries coming to the area. There certainly will be more people moving in. There will be more residential development down there as well."
Gray also believes that Washington should be a candidate for the All-Star Game. He believes Nationals Park should attract the event.
"I don't know what more we need to do other than not having the track record for not having a successful team; I think we should be a prime candidate now."
Rendon has good day both at plate, with glove
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon had a good day against the Marlins on Sunday afternoon, going 1-for-3 for with a two-run homer and making a great defensive play in the third inning.
With runners on first and second and no outs in the third inning, Chone Figgins bunted the ball toward third base. Rendon grabbed the ball and zipped it overhand to first baseman Chad Tracy for the first out of the inning.
During the one hour, six minute rain delay in the fourth inning, manager Davey Johnson was thinking about taking Rendon out of the game.
"I was watching [Johnson] walk around the dugout telling everyone to sit down," Rendon said. "I was sitting quietly, making sure he might not see me. He looks at me and says, 'You will get another at-bat.' I said, 'Ah, good.'"
Good thing Rendon stayed in the game. One inning after the delay, with the Nationals behind, 1-0, and Steve Lombardozzi on second base, the right-handed hitting Rendon swung at a pitch from Ryan Webb and hit an opposite-field home run over the right field wall to give Washington a one-run lead.
"I made the best of it. That was a bright side of it," Rendon said.
Rendon, the Nationals' first-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, is expected to start the season with Double-A Harrisburg. He will most likely start the season at third base. This spring, however, Johnson has been teaching Rendon the nuances at second base.
"It was awesome. It was little bit on what we did last year," Rendon said. "He re-implemented what we were doing. He kind of helped the footwork. Stay calm. It was more of a slow it down, get your footwork right. Once you get more comfortable with it, you will get a lot quicker."
Storen declines comment on report
VIERA, Fla. -- Two days after CBSSports.com reported that Drew Storen pitched with back spasms in Game 5 of the 2012 National League Division Series against the Cardinals, the Nationals reliever declined to discuss his health during the game.
"It's not an issue," Storen said. "It's done. It's about results. It didn't work out well. Move past it."
Manager Davey Johnson already dismissed the report Saturday. "The only thing I recall is [Storen] didn't throw many strikes," Johnson said, "and I attribute it to trying to be too fine."
Nats likely to miss Garcia for two weeks
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Christian Garcia could be out as long as two weeks because of ligament damage in his right forearm, according to manager Davey Johnson. Garcia said the forearm was feeling better, and he hoped to be involved in baseball activities within five days.
"To be on the safe side, [the forearm] needs more rest, but Christian is feeling better," Johnson said. "It's going to be how he feels before [he starts playing again] -- probably 10 days, two weeks to be on the safe side. But it's going to be totally up to him."
Garcia started feeling pain last Sunday while working out at the team's Minor League complex. It was cold that day, and Garcia had problems throwing his fastball. He didn't have any problems throwing his breaking pitches.
"Right now, I'm just day to day, taking it one day at a time," Garcia said. "It feels better. Each day, [the pain] has lessens, so it's good."
• Johnson has decided to start reliever Tyler Clippard slowly. Clippard will not appear in the first four games of the exhibition season. According to Johnson, Clippard thought he started last Spring Training too quickly.
"He didn't feel right when he started," Johnson said. "He just wanted to back it off a little bit. It about an individual knowing what he needs and when he needs it to be ready for Opening Day."
• Johnson said he hoped to have right-hander Chris Young pitch his first game of the exhibition season against the Cardinals on March 9.
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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.