2/15/2014 6:30 P.M. ET
Ex-Nat Hernandez to serve various roles in camp
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
VIERA, Fla. -- Former Nationals right-hander Livan Hernandez was in camp Saturday and will have various roles with the team, according to manager Matt Williams.
On Saturday, for example, Hernandez watched the pitchers have their bullpen sessions. He will also work with the pitchers on fielding, bunting and holding runners.
"I look at Livo as a shortstop in a pitcher's body. He could hit. You put him out at shortstop and he could play it," Williams said. "So I want him to bring that expertise. … He was a thinking man's pitcher, right? If we could take guys that have 97-mile-an-hour fastballs and get them to be a little more of a thinking man's pitcher, imagine what they could be in every aspect."
Hernandez will also serve as an ambassador for the organization, Williams said. Hernandez, 38, is arguably the most popular pitcher in Nationals history. He was a workhorse during his time with the Expos and Nats. He was often among the league leaders in innings pitched and was considered the leader of the staff. Hernandez also has the distinction of throwing the first pitch in Nationals history and making an All-Star appearance with the club in 2005.
Strasburg sets sights on propelling Nats to title
VIERA, Fla. -- On Saturday, right-hander Stephen Strasburg said helping the Nationals win the World Series is his top priority.
Strasburg is looking to appear in the postseason for the first time in his career. In 2012, after the Nationals won their first National League East title, Strasburg was on an innings limit and was left off the playoff roster because of the Tommy John surgery he had in 2010. Strasburg won 15 games in '12 and had a 3.16 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 159 1/3 innings.
"[Winning the World Series is] the most important thing to me, however long it takes. Not just get to the World Series, but winning it," Strasburg said. "I'm not going sit here and say that it is going to happen this year or the next year. But that is the ultimate goal."
Asked two years later if it bothered him that he couldn't help the Nationals in the 2012 NL Division Series, Strasburg said, "You really can't control what happened -- even if I was in there. At the time, I felt I didn't feel part of the team. I helped get them there and it felt the rug got pulled out [from under me]. It was tough to swallow. I think the way I reacted to it was, 'OK, it's something I did. I have to get better doing this. I got myself out of whack [the last few starts of that season]. I wasn't being myself. I was trying to be so much bigger. I was trying to be perfect. I think if you go out there and stay true to yourself ... it's so much easier to live with yourself with what happens."
Harper expected to be 'full go' for Spring Training
VIERA, Fla. -- Manager Matt Williams said outfielder Bryce Harper is expected to be ready for Spring Training. Harper underwent offseason surgery to repair the bursa in his left knee. Harper hurt the knee on May 13, when he slammed into the right-field wall at Dodger Stadium.
"As far as I know, he is full go for Spring Training. We are going to monitor him, though," Williams said. "We are going to see how his knee reacts. … We'll monitor him every day. If we see anything that is bothering him, we'll modify his program, first. And if we have to hold him out a day, we hold him out a day to make sure he is ready to go. Right now, he is full go."
At NatsFest, Harper said he wanted to spend a lot of time in Spring Training strengthening his lower body and making sure he doesn't rush the process.
"It's all about how I feel in rehab and how I feel that day," Harper said in January. "If I'm not feeling very well, if the knee's not reacting very well, then I'll take a day off and see where I'm at the next day."
New addition Roenicke arrives at camp
VIERA, Fla. -- Right-hander Josh Roenicke -- who also happens to be Ian Desmond's brother-in-law -- was in Nationals camp Saturday. It comes a day after he signed a Minor League deal with the club.
Roenicke said he had contact with the Nationals earlier this offseason, but then communication stopped as Spring Training was getting closer. But Roenicke heard from the Nationals two days ago and decided to join the team. It helped that Desmond played a role in getting Roenicke signed.
"It's good to join a competitor. They can win it all, so I'm excited," Roenicke said.
Last year, Roenicke was solid for most of last season with the Twins. As of Sept. 3, he had a 2.91 ERA, but he then allowed 12 earned runs in his final 6 1/3 innings and saw his ERA climb to 4.35.
"I was having a great five months and I had a rough one in September. You really can't do that late in the season. It probably cost me my job, now that I think about it," Roenicke said.
Infielder Zach Walters experienced a tight back on Saturday and was not able take batting practice with the position players at Space Coast Stadium. The injury is not considered serious, and Williams hopes Walters is able to work out Sunday.
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.