2/23/2014 6:21 P.M. ET
Ramos: 'Our minds are in Venezuela'
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
VIERA, Fla. -- It's hard for Nationals catchers Wilson Ramos and Jose Lobaton to concentrate on baseball 24 hours a day. They are concerned about their loved ones because of the violence and unrest in Venezuela.
Ramos is telling his family to buy all the food they can and stay home until the chaos is over.
"I feel sad to see about what's going on in Venezuela. We can do nothing [in Florida], just support the country and support the people over there. We have to see what happens to the government. They have to do something," Ramos said. "We are working right now, but our minds are in Venezuela. It's hard for us to concentrate on what we have to do here, because all the families are over there."
Lobaton is reluctant to talk about it, because he is concerned about the safety of his family.
"We have it on our minds all the time, but we have to separate it from baseball because this is our job," Lobaton said. "We are waiting for good news that everything is over. I really don't like to talk about politics. … Every day is so dangerous, but we want something good. It's hard to say a lot of things about it. We are praying for Venezuela."
Southpaw Detwiler adds cutter to arsenal
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals left-hander Ross Detwiler has added a cutter to his arsenal, because he doesn't want hitters to sit on his fastball like they did last year.
In 2013, the Nationals felt that Detwiler relied too much on his fastball. According to Fangraphs.com, in fact, Detwiler threw a fastball 88 percent of the time. He is also known to throw a curveball and changeup.
"Opposing hitters have had the same look. They kind of know what to expect," Detwiler said. "I'm just trying to throw something else out there. Just another look. Open up everything else if I want to go back to the fastball or whatever."
Detwiler is competing with Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan for the fifth slot in the rotation. He missed most of the 2013 season because of back issues, but he was healthy enough to go to the instructional league toward the end of the season. If he does not win a starter spot, the Nationals are considering putting him in the bullpen.
Top-prospect status motivating Goodwin to improve
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals outfielder Brian Goodwin, who was rated by MLB.com as the top prospect in the Nationals' farm system in 2013, will be the first to say he needs to improve his game. And being the top prospect motivates him to work even harder.
In his second year in professional baseball, Goodwin had an up-and-down season for Double-A Harrisburg, hitting .252 with 10 home runs, 40 RBIs and 19 stolen bases.
"I want to improve everything -- baserunning, hit for contact, improve my bunting, setting up before pitches, getting good jumps, getting good reads," Goodwin said. "I want to touch a little bit of everything. I want to get where my game is polished. I want to do everything with the best of my ability."
Goodwin is a non-roster invitee to Spring Training and will likely start the season with Harrisburg.
• Manager Matt Williams said the Nationals will not have an intrasquad game before the exhibition season starts. He will name his starting pitcher for Friday's contest against the Mets after Tuesday's workout.
• Right-hander Tyler Clippard is scheduled to have a bullpen session on Monday. He hasn't been able to throw much because of tightness in his back.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.