MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Dusty confident Nats will be in the thick of things in NL East

Dusty confident Nats will be in the thick of things in NL East

WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Dusty Baker is optimistic his team will be a factor in the National League East race. It helped that his team played like champions during Spring Training, going 19-4-4.

Bryce Harper, the reigning NL MVP returns for his fifth campaign. But most importantly, the team is healthy. Last season, 17 players went on the disabled list, which prompted massive changes to the medical staff.

In a video interview with MLB.com, Baker discussed how he wanted to instill a good attitude in his club from the first day of camp and make a run at the NL East title.

"My whole thing in Spring Training was to come in here, develop a good attitude, develop a good clubhouse, and also make sure we keep our frontline guys on the field," Baker said. "If we do that, and we get out of Spring Training healthy, we have some tremendous players and the ingredients to make a real run at this thing."

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.