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All-Star door opens back up for Bryce

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All-Star door opens back up for Bryce

He's spent the better part of the last three days insisting he didn't deserve to go to the All-Star Game over Chipper Jones, but Bryce Harper doesn't have to worry about that anymore. And the Nationals rookie outfielder might just wind up in Kansas City next week after all.

Major League Baseball announced this evening that Jones has been added to the NL All-Star roster, taking the spot of injured Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. That removes Jones from the five-man "Final Vote" competition that also includes Harper, and perhaps paves the way for the 19-year-old to win the online balloting process and a ticket to the Midsummer Classic.

Harper sat in third place when MLB released its first balloting results earlier today, behind Jones and Cardinals third baseman David Freese but ahead of Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill and Braves outfielder Michael Bourn. He'll still need to leapfrog Freese before voting ends at 4 p.m. Thursday, but perhaps he'll experience a surge now that fans don't need to take his advice and vote for Jones instead.

Earlier today, Harper reiterated his belief that Jones (who announced he'll retire at season's end) should be in this year's All-Star Game.

"I think so, definitely," he said. "He's a Hall of Famer and he's been an All-Star for 20 years. He's the face of that Braves franchise, and for his last year, I think he should be able to be in that game, definitely."

Though he'd happily accept an All-Star berth and a chance to play alongside the game's best next week in Kansas City, Harper also admits he wouldn't mind some downtime at home in Las Vegas over the break.

"I'm excited to go home, definitely," he said. "I think if I don't make the team, it'd be good for me to go home and get away from the world and just be Bryce, be normal. Just hang out with the family and get some home-cooked meals and hit with my Pop and just hang out."

Manager Davey Johnson seemed to have even stronger feelings on the matter, preferring that his rookie get a physical and mental break after starting in all but one game since he joined the Nationals on April 28.

"I'm sure he'll get banged up, but I don't think he's tired," Johnson said. "But I would like to see him get the time off. Because it is a demanding position. And even every time I get a chance, I'll move him to one of the corners to basically just rest his legs."

As for the now-defunct Jones vs. Harper argument, Johnson didn't hide his feelings.

"I think Chipper should be on it, period," the manager said. "Not somebody with 200 at-bats, first year."

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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.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

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.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE