VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals released a statement on Tuesday in response to recent speculation that they may change Spring Training venues after this season.
"The Washington Nationals are continuing to explore options for Spring Training sites beyond the current lease. Our current focus, however, is on what we expect to be an exciting 2013 Spring Training season in Viera. While we certainly appreciate public interest in our future plans, we will be making no further comment until there is something new to report."
The Brevard County Commission has remained optimistic that the Nats will remain at Space Coast Stadium beyond 2013. According to Florida Today, the club has a contract to play there through 2017, but because the $7.1 million in construction bonds on the stadium will be paid off in April, the Nationals would not face a major financial penalty if they choose to move before then.
Garcia eager to make contribution to Nats
VIERA, Fla. -- Christian Garcia got such a taste of the Major Leagues as a September callup last season that he's eager to be a part of the club again this season -- in any capacity.
Garcia remains a question mark for the Nationals -- though a talented one -- with a spot as either a starter or a reliever entirely possible. Though he made a strong impression last season out of the bullpen and the rotation appears to be set -- with Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler and the newly acquired Dan Haren -- the Nats have expressed interest in reverting him to a starter.
"I haven't gotten any concrete answer [as to] what exactly I'm doing, so I'm just coming into camp as a pitcher," Garcia said. "So whatever they want me to do -- start, relief -- I know they're going to extend me a little bit, they said, and have some innings … and stretch me out."
Garcia, 27, made his Major League debut on Sept. 4 and totaled 12 2/3 innings of work, allowing just three earned runs and striking out 15.
Garcia was drafted by the Yankees in 2004, then twice had Tommy John surgery (2007 and '10). Manager Davey Johnson and pitching coach Steve McCatty mentioned last year that a transformation could take place for Garcia this spring.
"It's exciting, more so for the opportunities," Garcia said. "Whether it's relieving or starting, it's an opportunity to win a job somewhere. Just the opportunity is all I want -- an opportunity to compete for a job. And that's what they're giving me. I've got to go into it and do my job. Do what I've got to do."
Garcia struck out 66 in 52 1/3 innings, with a 0.86 ERA, split between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse last season.
"Just seeing what [the Nationals] did this offseason, and the team that they brought back, that doing anything you can for this team in any way you can help, you just want to be a part of it," he said. "It's going to be a very special year."
Giolito in good spirits as he recovers from injury
VIERA, Fla. -- Lucas Giolito, the Nationals' first-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, is in good spirits at camp, encouraged by his rehab from the Tommy John surgery he underwent on Aug. 31. The 18-year-old has thrown a few times this week, from short distances.
The Nats understood the risk they were taking when they signed Giolito, whose fastball has been clocked as high as 100 mph.