Nationals

Quick Links

Dusty, Roark explain decision to pitch after lengthy rain delay

usatsi_9235488.jpg

Dusty, Roark explain decision to pitch after lengthy rain delay

After Tanner Roark labored through 54 pitches in just two innings, and after a rain delay of 85 minutes, the Nationals decided to stick with the right-hander when play resumed in the Nats' home opener loss to the Marlins on Thursday evening.

It's not often a pitcher continues after sitting for so long, and afterwards manager Dusty Baker admitted he and pitching coach Mike Maddux were close to turning to someone else.

"Mike and I talked about it. Like always, we were getting pretty close to when it was going to be too long. But he was throwing in between in the bullpen. I asked him, I said 'hey man, you tell us the truth how you feel, any tightness or anything.' He said 'yeah, no I'm not. I'm telling you the truth,'" Baker explained.

"It's too early for heroes in game number three. You have to take him at his word, he's a pretty honest guy, and Mike evaluated and I evaluated and decided to send him back out there."

Roark stayed loose during the delay by throwing 20 pitches in the underground batting cage every 10 to 15 minutes to simulate innings. He actually felt his pitches improved as he continued to throw.

"I still felt good. I wasn't tired or anything like that. My body still felt great. I feel like my pitches were a lot better after I came out after the rain delay," he said.

The results for Roark, though, were not so good. He ended up with four runs allowed - three of them earned - on three walks and nine hits. He made it only four total innings as his pitch count soared to 99. 

It was an uneven season debut for Roark, but his teammates appreciated his willingness to power through the rain delay.

"For any starting pitcher to sit down for that length of time and then come back out, I definitely commend Tanner for what he was trying to do, save the bullpen," second baseman Daniel Murphy said. "Definitely trying to save some bullets down there. A little bit of tough luck for him but I thought he threw the ball pretty well considering."

Roark was also able to take solace in the fact all nine hits he allowed were singles. He also got to pitch his first home opener, which was a unique experience in itself.

"It's an honor, for sure. Definitely my first one, in front of a sold-out crowd. Nerves were high, they always are. But it was an awesome experience to get out there. I wish I could've gone a little longer, but things happen, and you move on to the next one," he said.

[RELATED: D.C. mayor presents Bryce Harper with key to the city]

Quick Links

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

Quick Links

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