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NLDS Game 4 of Nats-Cubs rained out

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NLDS Game 4 of Nats-Cubs rained out

CHICAGO -- Game 4 of the NL Division Series was postponed by rain on Tuesday, giving Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta another day to rest his troublesome right hamstring and putting ace Stephen Strasburg in play for the Washington Nationals.

The Cubs and Nationals took batting practice and the grounds crew got the field ready before bringing out the tarp. The rain started to fall about a half-hour after the game was supposed to start at Wrigley Field. With more showers in the forecast, Major League Baseball then called it off.

Chicago leads 2-1 in the best-of-five series going into Game 4, now scheduled for Wednesday at 4:08 p.m. EDT. There is rain in the forecast for early in the day.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said the World Series champions will stay with Arrieta. Nationals manager Dusty Baker left open the possibility of using Strasburg, who started the opener, instead of Tanner Roark.

If the Nationals win Wednesday, Game 5 would be Thursday in Washington. The winner of the NLDS takes on the Dodgers in the next round, scheduled to begin Saturday in Los Angeles.

Chicago won 2-1 at home Monday.

Arrieta has pitched just 10 1/3 innings since Aug. 30. The 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner hurt his right hamstring during a loss at Pittsburgh on Sept. 4. He returned late last month and made a couple starts down the stretch, but lasted just three innings in a loss at St. Louis on Sept. 26.

The Cubs skipped Arrieta's last turn in the rotation in the regular season and then pushed him back to Game 4 for the playoffs, giving the right-hander ample time to rest.

"Jake's really primed for this opportunity," Maddon said Tuesday. "He's done a great job of rehabbing his leg. He feels very good arm- and leg-wise right now. I'm real eager to watch him play."

The 31-year-old Arrieta was a key factor in Chicago's turnaround in the last part of the season, going 6-3 with a 2.28 ERA in his final 12 outings. Arrieta, who is eligible for free agency after the season, could be making his last start in a Cubs uniform.

"These next few days are going to be extremely special, and if we're fortunate enough to get past these guys, like I feel we are, I'm going to do everything I can to enjoy the last few weeks," Arrieta said Monday.

Roark is from Wilmington, Illinois, about 60 miles south of Chicago, and grew up rooting for the Cubs. Baker praised Roark's "warrior mentality" this week, but he was non-committal when asked before Tuesday's rainout if he might go with Strasburg if the game was postponed.

"As of right now, you know, Tanner is pitching today, and so we'll make that determination if and only when the game is called," he said.

With Max Scherzer nursing his own right hamstring injury, Strasburg got the ball in Game 1 and turned in a dominant performance Friday night. The right-hander was working on a no-hitter before Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo hit consecutive RBI singles with two outs in the sixth inning.

Strasburg struck out 10 in seven innings and was charged with two unearned runs and three hits in Washington's 3-0 loss. Going back to the regular season, he is 5-2 with a microscopic 0.74 ERA and 73 Ks in 60 2/3 innings over his last nine starts.

The biggest winner of Tuesday's rainout is the Dodgers, who eliminated Arizona with a 3-1 victory in Game 3 of their NLDS on Monday night. If the NLDS between the Nationals and Cubs goes the distance, the winner will have to play four times in five days.

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With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

MORE NATIONALS: FULL 2018 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

RELATED: 2018 MLB BETTING ODDS

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It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

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Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

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