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Original Issue



Photograph by Brad Barr/US Presswire

TIME TO SOAK IN THE NATIONAL PASTIME The first full week of spring training brought heavy rains to the Nationals' Viera, Fla., camp but couldn't dampen the expectations of a club that should contend in the free-agent-fortified NL East (page 34). The Nats' six-year, $100 million extension of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman's contract last weekend only further whetted Washington's hopes that the franchise's 31-year postseason drought may soon be over.


Photograph by David Goldman/AP

IS THIS A DAGGER WHICH I SEE BEFORE ME? Or so suggests the wary gaze of the Bard of Boston, 26-year-old righthander Daniel Bard, as he is set upon by the notoriously hungry Hub media on Feb. 21; Bard, who faltered during the Red Sox' historic final-month collapse, is attempting to make the switch from the bullpen to the rotation.


Photograph by Jeff Roberson/AP

THE STRIPPING DOWN OF THE NEW YORK METS IS NEVER-ENDING Fresh from one of the largest off-season payroll parings in MLB history, the Mets began sing, er, spring training on an interesting note. A depantsed Jeurys Familia was instructed to belt out the national anthem of his native Dominican Republic, one of several players who were similarly punished by a team strength and fitness coordinator for lack of effort.