The big news out of Viera, Florida on Monday? Stephen Strasburg will start the Washington Nationals' Grapefruit League opener on Saturday when the Nats take on the New York Mets on the road in Port St. Lucie, Florida's Tradition Field. 12:10 pm EST on Saturday... on the MLB Network... the big story out of the Nats' ST facilities on Monday? The Dan Haren story...

Davey Johnson liked what he saw from 32-year-old right-hander Dan Haren in the newest Nats' starter's first bullpen sessions, telling reporters this past Friday, "I was impressed with Dan Haren. He threw the ball very well. I told him, 'Don't peak too early.' His stuff was really good. He's got great command. All the guys threw pretty good. I was impressed. But Haren stood out." Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo told reporters on Monday that though the 10-year veteran has plenty of wisdom to share with the Nats' young starters, that's not the no.1 reason he was signed to a 1-year/$13M dollar deal this winter.

"[Haren's] value to me is that he's a capable, mid-to-upper rotation starting pitcher," Rizzo said, "And he gives you veteran leadership, clubhouse presence and a guy who's been around and greatly successful for years to come. But we didn't get him here and pay him to be a mentor for other starters. We brought him to be a real contributor in the rotation and we feel that a healthy Dan Haren is going to revert back to the previous Dan Haren, and that's what we're looking for."

The previous Dan Haren, as recently as 2011, had a 3.17 ERA, a 2.98 FIP, 33 walks (1.25 BB/9) and 192 Ks (7.25 K/9) in 35 games (34 starts) and 238.1 IP for the LA Angels in a +6.1 fWAR season, finishing 5th overall in fWAR amongst MLB pitchers, tied with the Texas Rangers' then-31-year-old lefty C.J. Wilson, who joined Haren in the Angels' rotation that winter on a 5-year/$77.5M dollar deal. While struggling with back issues in the first half of the 2012 season, Haren wasn't himself, but he had a much better second half and he's reportedly 100% at the start of Spring Training this time around.