Shortly after his Chicago Cubs were swept out of the NL Championship Series by the New York Mets on Wednesday night, former Nationals pitcher and longtime MLB veteran Dan Haren took to Twitter to announce his retirement from the game of baseball.
Haren, 35, gave his thanks for the game in the brief message:
"Thank you baseball. I played this beautiful game for 30 years. I took my jersey off for the last time tonight. It was an honor."
Haren pitched for the Nationals in 2013 in what was one of the worst seasons of his 13-year MLB career. He signed a one-year deal and didn't look himself until late in the season after spending time on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Haren had a 6.15 ERA through by the end of June and was given a cortisone shot and put on the DL. He returned to post a 3.29 ERA in his final 16 games, 15 of them starts.
It was a down year for an otherwise very good pitcher. Haren leaves baseball with a 3.75 ERA, three All-Star appearances two top-7 finishes in Cy Young voting. He was among the game's best pitchers in his mid- to late-20s with the Oakland Athletics, Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Angels.
Haren's lone year in Washington was a trying one. Prior to signing with the Nats he had spent most of his career on the West Coast, where he was from and where his family lived. That, combined with his struggles on the mound, proved a tough combination for the right-hander.
Haren left the Nationals to join the Dodgers for the 2014 season and later moved on to pitch in Miami before landing with the Cubs. He began his career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003 after being selected by the franchise in the 2nd round of the 2001 draft.
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It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.
It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.
They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training.
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Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.
Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.
Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.
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We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.
Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:
It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.
Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.