MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Dusty has Nationals running this spring

Dusty has Nationals running this spring

VIERA, Fla. -- Manager Dusty Baker has been true to his word -- so far. During the offseason, he said the Nationals were going to start stealing bases. After two exhibition games, the team already has stolen seven bases, including four in a 9-4 victory over the Mets on Thursday.

Baker feels first-base coach Davey Lopes will play a huge role in the Nationals stealing a lot of bases this year. After all, Lopes was a guy who stole 557 stolen bases during his playing career.

"Davey Lopes is going to be a great addition over at first base. He knows the keys [to stealing bases] as far as when they can go and when not to go. We have some guys who are getting good jumps," Baker said.

In other news, left-hander Sean Burnett pitched one scoreless inning vs. the Mets. Baker was impressed by what he saw from Burnett, who pitched his first game since 2014. Burnett has been dealing with elbow reconstruction the last two years.

"Oh, man, it's great," Baker said. "He was one of the best in the business before he had Tommy John surgery. I understand this is his second Tommy John. I didn't know that. He is quiet, goes about his business. Although you can't hear him, you can't overlook the possibility of him making the team."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.