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Nats not actively pursuing infielder

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Nats not actively pursuing infielder

NEW YORK -- Despite a lack of organizational depth at the position, the Nationals are not actively seeking to acquire a middle infielder in the wake of Ian Desmond's placement on the disabled list.

According to a club source, the Nationals are content to move forward with Danny Espinosa at shortstop, Steve Lombardozzi at second base and Mark DeRosa as their backup infielder until Desmond is ready to return from a tear of his left oblique muscle.

Desmond is likely to miss at least a month, but the source said the Nationals don't believe any potential backup infielders available before next week's trade deadline provide a significant enough upgrade for the price they would cost.

Team officials aren't willing to deal away any top prospects for a two-month rental, and neither are they willing to take on a hefty contract for such a player. That would seem to rule out the likes of Minnesota's Jamey Carroll (still owed about 5 million through 2013) or Colorado's Marco Scutaro (owed about 2 million the rest of this season).

The Nationals are taking a chance neither Espinosa nor Lombardozzi suffers an injury, a development that would force DeRosa (hitting .148 entering tonight's game) into the starting lineup. The organization doesn't have any major-league ready replacements at Class AAA Syracuse or Class AA Harrisburg, so another injury would probably force general manager Mike Rizzo into acquiring another player.

But for now, the Nationals appear content with the status quo, not only at middle infield but at catcher as well. Despite a score of injuries that has plagued the position this season, the club source said they are prepared to continue with Jesus Flores backed up by Sandy Leon and Jhonatan Solano (currently on the DL with an oblique strain).

If anything, the Nationals are surprisingly set at every position on the field for the stretch run, an unusual position for any contender, let alone a club in a pennant race for the first time.

They have inquired about potential major acquisitions, but would only make such a move if such a player was under team control for several seasons and still wouldn't be willing to part ways with most of their elite prospects to make those types of deals.

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Nationals' Dusty Baker thinks Washington teams are positioned to win a championship this year

Nationals' Dusty Baker thinks Washington teams are positioned to win a championship this year

Nationals manager Dusty Baker is back for a second year and feeling optimistic for his Washington team. Spring training has begun in Florida and it has Baker thinking about how the Nats can create some excitement for local sports fans.

In an interview with American University’s WAMU radio station, Baker said D.C. wants to be a "city of champions.” Furthermore, he thinks it can be pulled off before the year ends.

"I came here to win a championship and you know I would love nothing more than to bring one to Washington. Washington, I didn’t know it before I got there, but it’s had a tough time getting out of the first round in a number of sports."

He projected the Nationals to bring home the next championship for the District, but he knows they have competition of late. 

"Washington Wizards are looking pretty good. I’m pulling for them first because their season ends before ours, so I’ve been really following them. The Capitals have a good thing going. I started watching the Redskins more this year.

"You know once it gets contagious in a city and you get a positive attitude throughout the city, then it transfers to the sports teams. So we want to be known as a city of champions, before the end of the year hopefully."

Baker has a reputation for bringing out the best in his teams, especially managing star players. He managed the San Francisco Giants for ten seasons before moving on to the Chicago Cubs, a team he managed for four seasons.

He's never won a World Series, but has taken a team to Game 7. He also finished third for the 2016 National League Manager of the Year award.

So, what are Baker’s steps for the Nationals to get that ultimate prize? A simple formula, really.

"I think that we’ve got to stay healthy, number one. We’re trying to fill the holes that we need to fill, and we’ve got to play," he said. "You know last year we were very close, we were one hit away or one play away or one pitch away from going to the next round against the Cubs."

While he says he came to win Washington a championship, he's also enjoying his time in the city. 

"I love D.C. Before that, San Francisco was my favorite town; that’s my home. But I tell you, D.C. is definitely in the running," he said. "I thought San Francisco had the best seafood, but man, you guys have the best seafood I think in the world."

Thanks, Dusty!

The Nationals play their first spring training game against the New York mets on Saturday.

RELATED: NATIONALS REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE

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Former Nationals outfielder admits to drinking vodka before MLB games

Former Nationals outfielder admits to drinking vodka before MLB games

When it comes to sports, we sometimes forget that the athletes we look up to are just normal people. Normal people who have a lot to prove to millions of people on a weekly basis. Former Nationals outfielder Rick Ankiel has discussed one of his human moments in an interview with 590 The Fan in St. Louis.

Ankiel admitted to drinking vodka during his plight as a pitcher. He referenced his first two starts of the 2001 season, in particular against the Arizona Diamondbacks where he allowed his anxiety to give in to alcohol to soothe him. In the previous postseason, he became the first pitcher since 1980 to throw five wild pitches in a single inning. 

It may have worked for a couple of games but Ankiel eventually realized it was only making matters worse.

Ankiel began playing in Majors at the age of 19, and has had a fluctuating career through six teams. All the while, he has kept a “never give up” mentality.

Why the sudden need to vent? Ankiel is getting up close and personal with his upcoming book, “The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed my Life” which is co-written by sports writer Tim Brown. The book will be released on April 18.  

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