Anthony Rendon, Danny Espinosa involved in “open competition” at second base for the Nationals

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Danny Espinosa didn’t exactly have a great 2013 season. Due largely to playing with a fractured wrist, Espinosa posted a .465 OPS, resulting in a stint on the disabled list and a demotion to Triple-A Syracuse. Anthony Rendon took over and was more or less average offensively with some hiccups on defense. Nonetheless, an upgrade.

According to Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington, Espinosa asked new manager Matt Williams for a chance to win back his job at second base. As a result, Williams is holding an “open competition” at second base between Espinosa and Rendon during spring training.

“I believe it’s open competition,” Williams said. “And that’s all you can say about it at this point. They haven’t even taken their first grounder officially yet. But I think that it’s good to have competition in spring. It makes guys come into camp ready … There’s no favorite at this point. We’re going to give them both ample opportunity to become the starter, and we’ll see where we go.”

Despite what Williams said, one would have to consider Espinosa the underdog. In the event Rendon remains the starter, Espinosa could serve in a utility role, backing up at second base, third base, and shortstop.

Second base is one of the only areas still up in the air for the Nats. The #5 spot in the rotation will see some competition between Tanner Roark, Ross Detwiler, and Taylor Jordan. Otherwise, you can write just about everyone else in pen.

Marcus Stroman: Blue Jays are “f– terrible”

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Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman strugged in Sunday afternoon’s start against the Red Sox, yielding four runs (three earned) over five innings. He fell to 2-7 with a 5.86 ERA. The Jays dropped three of four games to the Sox in the series and now sit with a 43-52 record heading into the All-Star break.

Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun reports that while Stroman was initially cool, calm, and collected when speaking to the media after the game, he eventually snapped. Stroman was asked by a reporter about breaking into professional baseball with short-season Single-A Vancouver in 2012. Stroman yelled at the reporter, noting that his team had just lost to the Red Sox, and called his team “f– terrible.” Keegan Matheson’s account of the situation lines up with Buffery’s as well.

Prior to the outburst, Stroman had just praised his teammates, saying, “My team picks me up a ton. They pick me up all year. I should be able to pitch better in times like that when my team doesn’t have my back. Because they’ve had my back a ton of times. So, love my guys on my team and like I said, I would go to war with them any day.”

Stroman will have off until Friday, so hopefully the time off helps him clear his mind. It has understandably been a frustrating season in Toronto.