For baseball fans, this weekend signifies the end of winter and the beginning of spring, as their favorite teams open camp, preparing for the 2012 Major League Baseball season. The hometown Washington Nationals hold spring training in Viera, Florida, and Sunday at midnight is the official deadline for all pitchers and catchers to report. Via the official tweitter feed of the Nationals:
Today is pitcher/catcher report day...all pitchers and catchers are required to be in Viera (FL) by midnight.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) February 19, 2012
The Nationals have made significant moves this offseason, bolstering pitching depth with the additions of Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson, and of course Washington still has to figure out what to do with hitting phenom Bryce Harper over the next six weeks. Hope springs eternal for fans of baseball in Washington, and the cautious optimism for the 2012 season begins in earnest today when pitchers and catchers report.
Practices begin Monday, with the first complete squad workouts scheduled to begin next weekend. Exhibition games start on March 2. Play ball.
We'll have much more on Spring Training here at SB Nation DC in the coming weeks. In the meantime, check out SB Nation's Nationals blog, Federal Baseball, for more news and notes. And don't forget to visit Baseball Nation, the MLB hub of SB Nation for information from around the league.