VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson said the players he is most intrigued with in camp are infielders Matt Skole and Zach Walters, who have been solid this spring.
"Skole is a very impressive young man," Johnson said. "I like his hands, I like his bat, I like his approach. I like everything about him. He is very interesting."
Walters has been swinging a hot bat, hitting home runs in consecutive games and seeing his batting average climb to .333. Johnson has already announced that Walters will be one of the final cuts this spring. The infielder is expected to start the season with Triple-A Syracuse.
"He is a country boy. He really doesn't know what his potential is and who he is. He is starting to learn that this spring," Johnson said. "He has had good at-bats up here. … He has a lot of ability from both sides of the plate. He has been very impressive."
Young acknowledges slow start for Nationals
VIERA, Fla. -- Right-hander Chris Young made his first official start for the Nationals on Saturday afternoon, pitching three innings and allowing three runs on three hits in an 8-7 victory over the Marlins. He threw 50 pitches, 26 for strikes.
Young got off to a slow start by throwing five straight balls, but he settled down and prevented the Marlins from scoring in the first by inducing Matt Downs to hit into a double play, while Joe Mahoney grounded out to Young to end the inning.
However, Miami was able to score three runs off Young in the third inning. Mahoney highlighted the scoring with a two-run homer.
After the game, Young said he was erratic on the mound and not at full strength. Young pointed out that he always gets off to a slow start every spring, but expects to get better by the end of the exhibition season. He will not worry about the results until the end of Spring Training. Young is replacing left-hander Ross Detwiler, who is playing in the World Baseball Classic for Team USA.
"I was a little out of sync," Young said. "The shoulder felt really good. ... The mechanics are a work in progress. I threw three good pitches and four bad ones. It's not the consistency I would like. That's what Spring Training is for. It's pretty consistent for where I am. Every spring in my career, it takes a little time."
Forearm fine, Werth talks way into lineup
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was originally scratched from Saturday's lineup against the Marlins because of a tight right forearm. But he convinced manager Davey Johnson that he was ready to play, and the skipper placed him second in the lineup.
Werth hurt the forearm Friday against the Cardinals while throwing the ball from right field.
"I threw the ball funky. It's not a big deal," Werth said. "Davey is just being cautious. I'm OK. It's Spring Training. These things come up every year. It's just one of those things. … Davey is really cautious. I played for guys who are not very cautious and they don't care if you have something going on. They want you out there.
"It's early in the spring. … It's fine, but at the same time, I want to be in there. I want to play, I want my at-bats. You have to be careful. You don't want to injure it more."
Karns to throw Sunday as injury not deemed serious
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Nathan Karns saw the doctor on Saturday to check on the upper part of his right leg, and it was determined the injury wasn't serious. Karns will throw a bullpen session on Sunday.
"He passed all the tests today and the doctor looked at him today. He will throw on the side tomorrow and we'll make a determination from there," manager Davey Johnson said.
Karns had his toughest outing of the spring Friday against the Cardinals, allowing seven runs (one earned) in two-thirds of an inning.
"[The injury] is a distraction right now for me," Karns said. "It's something that I feel every pitch. I'm out there not fully committed to the pitch. It's in the back of my mind. I don't know what's going on with it."
Karns has been dealing with tightness in his right leg since March 2 against St. Louis.
"Yesterday, the leg was bothering me a little bit, not to the point where I couldn't compete. But I'm not able to compete at the level that I want to right now," Karns said. "In my opinion it's not too severe. It's tolerable. It's a little kink I have to iron out."
• Left-hander Will Ohman does not have an out-clause in his contract, but the Nationals granted him his unconditional release on Saturday. Ohman pitched in one game and walked two batters against the Cardinals. Manager Davey Johnson said he didn't have enough innings for Ohman, who was sent to Minor League camp earlier this week.
• Johnson hopes to have Ryan Zimmerman play third base by March 18. Zimmerman has been practicing on the field, but has been playing in the exhibition games as a designated hitter.
• Left-hander Bill Bray has reported to Minor League camp and will work on his mechanics.
• Johnson still doesn't believe right-hander Christian Garcia will start the regular season on the disabled list. The skipper feels there is plenty of time for Garcia to get ready for the season. Garcia has not pitched in a game this spring because of a strained right forearm.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.