JUPITER, Fla. (AP) A torrential thunderstorm forced the cancellation of a game between the Washington Nationals and the Miami Marlins on Friday night, costing both teams the chance to get some valuable nighttime at-bats for their regulars.
Lightning bombarded the ballpark in the hour leading up to the scheduled 7:05 p.m. start time, with one bolt striking a light tower, temporarily knocking out a bank of lights.
Neither manager welcomed the rainout.
Washington's Dusty Baker was looking forward to getting his regulars at-bats under the lights. Bryce Harper wasn't originally supposed to make the trip, but he requested to come along just for the night at-bats.
''I always like to have my teams play a couple games under the lights because when the season starts you probably play 80 percent of your games under the lights,'' Baker said. ''You've got to get acclimated to seeing the ball, picking up the rotation - it's a different game at night.''
The rainout also complicates the Nationals' rotation. Scheduled starter Tanner Roark will pitch Saturday against the Cardinals, bumping scheduled starter Joe Ross. It's unclear what the Nationals will do with Ross, but the right-hander needs work after exiting a start Sunday against Detroit in the second inning after being struck in the foot by a comebacker.
Miami manager Don Mattingly also wanted to get his regulars some nighttime at-bats, and the unplanned day off is throwing a small wrench in the Marlins' preparation for the season.
''We had one the other day, that felt pretty good,'' Mattingly said. ''But right now, we've still got guys that need the work.''
ALL LINED UP
Dee Gordon, Marcel Ozuna, Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton made up the first four players in the Marlins lineup on Friday. That's the order Mattingly intends to use once the season starts. Mattingly could have either left-handed hitting Justin Bour or right-handed Martin Prado behind Stanton, depending on the pitcher.
Marlins: All indications are that Jarred Cosart and Adam Conley are the pitchers destined for the final two spots in Miami's rotation, relegating David Phelps to the bullpen. Mattingly, however, intends to keep using Phelps as a starter during the spring to have him ready for the rotation, just in case. Phelps was supposed to start this game but instead headed to the batting cage to throw approximately 70 pitches.
''He's really valuable from the standpoint that he can go from bullpen to the starting rotation,'' Mattingly said. ''Certain guys can't do that. We just want to make sure he's built up to the point where he's capable of doing either one.''
Nationals: Roark is slated for Washington's starting rotation, but he's only started two Grapefruit League games, throwing a total of nine innings.
Washington passed Tyler Moore through waivers and outrighted him to Triple-A.
Marlins: Miami travels to Kissimmee to face Houston. Opening day starter Wei-Yin Chen will get the start.
Nationals: Roark will start against the Cardinals in Jupiter, facing Mike Leake.