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Dodgers well-aware of Nationals' Trea Turner and his threat to steal

Dodgers well-aware of Nationals' Trea Turner and his threat to steal

During his postseason press conference ahead of Game 2 of the NL Division Series, Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal was asked a general question about the Nationals and their aggressive approach on the basepaths, how they like to put pressure on opposing teams with their speed.

Halfway through his answer, Grandal filled in a blank.

"If you're referring to Trea Turner, I've seen him. We've studied him. We've scouted him," Grandal said.

While not a household name among baseball fans, Turner is becoming well-known among opposing teams. He's played in just 101 big league games - including the playoffs - but has already established himself as one of the most dangerous runners in the game. Turner stole 33 bases this season in the majors and 25 in the minors. His speed is not to be underestimated and the Dodgers are well-aware.

Grandal and his manager, in fact, have a history with the Nationals rookie.

"He's fast. When I was in San Diego, he was drafted [in the first round]," Grandal said. "I saw his highlight reel. Josh Byrnes came up to me and he was very excited about him. I've seen this guy play. It's not -- it's not news that the guy can play and he's fast."

[RELATED: Nats blow big opportunity by letting Kershaw off the hook]

Grandal was on the Padres when Turner was drafted. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was on their coaching staff.

"He's a great kid, good worker, can really run, defend, throw, and he checks all the boxes, wanting to learn. We spent some time together, actually, on stealing bases and talking about the bunt game," Roberts said. 

"Just to see him now, very happy for him, very excited. Not a surprise, because he's just so level-headed and a very confident young man. You just see the strength. He's a lot stronger than I remember him. Sky is the limit [for him]. Us going into this series, keeping him off the bases was probably top of the list."

Turner, 23, has become an integral member of the Nationals in his first full season in the majors. In a lineup full of veterans, he is as important as any setting the table in the leadoff spot.

Turner didn't have the greatest outing in Game 1 with three strikeouts, but he still walked and brought in a run on a sacrifice fly. At some point in this series, he's likely to make a larger impact and manager Dusty Baker expects this to just be the start of a long postseason career.

"We were standing on the line [Friday evening] during [Game 1] introductions, and I said, 'Hey, man, this is going to be one of many for you,'" Baker said. "So this is the sort of hopefully, you know, many playoffs for him."

[RELATED: Ramos' first pitch provides special moment for Nats]

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Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?


Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?

The Washington Nationals announced Friday Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018. 

Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history, and the Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, but they failed to make it to an NLCS.

Baker is 14th in MLB history with 1,863 career wins.

The next Nationals' manager will be their seventh since they arrived in DC.

Only the Marlins have had as many.

"I'm surprised and disappointed," Baker told USA TODAY Sports. "They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me."

"I really thought this was my best year. We won at least 95 games each year and won the division back to back years but they said they wanted to go a different direction. It's hard to understand." 

The team also announced the contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired, and the search for a new manager will begin immediately.


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Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery


Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery

While Nats fans were still digesting the news that Dusty Baker will not return as manager next year, the team released some more surprising news. 

Second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent knee surgery today, per an official team report. 

Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes reported that the surgery is considered significant and the team won't put a timeline on the recovery process:

"The procedure, according to the statement released by the team, repaired articular cartilage in Murphy’s right knee. For those interested in the details, it was a debridement and microfracture surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kremchek performed it."

"For those concerned with the implications of the procedure, those are still unclear. The statement clarified that Murphy’s rehab “will progress throughout the offseason,” as one would hope, and did not include a timetable.