Joe Nathan tossed a scoreless ninth, allowing only an infield single, versus the Braves on Monday.
Nathan was pitching for the first time since injuring a fingernail Thursday. He didn't have his best velocity of the spring today, working at 89-91 mph, but that might have been because of the fingernail. He got the job done, but we'd sure like to see him more consistently in the 91-94 mph range.
Indians released LHP Scott Downs.
The move allows Downs to seek an opportunity with another club. The 38-year-old southpaw was in camp this spring as a non-roster invitee and posted a 2.84 ERA and 5/2 K/BB ratio in 6 1/3 innings during Cactus League action.
Alex Avila went 0-for-4 on Monday, dropping his spring average to .184.
Avila just doesn't hit singles these days, which is why it's curious that Tigers manager Brad Ausmus has penciled him into the seventh spot in between Yoenis Cespedes and Nick Castellanos. It's largely because Avila is a left-hander, but if Ausmus thinks Avila will outhit Castellanos against righties... well, that doesn't bode well for Castellanos.
Vance Worley will begin the season in the bullpen.
Meanwhile, Jeff Locke has secured a rotation spot. Worley entered spring training as the favorite and posted a 5.29 ERA with an 11/1 K/BB ratio over 17 innings. We're surprised to see it go down this way, but odds are Worley will still make a bunch of starts this season.
Jeff Locke has won a spot in the Pirates' starting rotation.
It's a bit of a surprise, as many thought that Vance Worley would begin the year in the rotation while Locke would pitch out of the bullpen, but the situation will actually be flip-flopped. Color us confused. Locke has a 6.59 ERA and 9/5 K/BB ratio over 13 2/3 innings this spring.
Nationals signed OF Reed Johnson to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Johnson was just granted his release by the Marlins on Monday and it didn't take him long to find a new opportunity. The 38-year-old batted just .235/.266/.348 with two home runs in 201 plate appearances last season with Miami, but he could have an outside chance to make the Nats' Opening Day roster given their injury issues in the outfield.
Casey Janssen was diagnosed with right rotator cuff tendinitis after undergoing an MRI.
Janssen reported some discomfort after his most recent Grapefruit League appearance last week, so the Nats decided to get him checked out. It's not a long-term concern, but Nationals manager Matt Williams acknowledged that Opening Day is a question mark.
Drew Storen left Monday's Grapefruit League game due to a blister on his right foot.
That's a sigh of relief for the Nationals, who are dealing with all sorts of bumps and bruises at the moment. Storen, who is expected to serve as Nats' closer this season, should be fine by the time Opening Day rolls around.