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Gio set to face Yankees

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Gio set to face Yankees

Rarely, if ever, have the Nationals entered a series with so much hype surrounding them. Hype, as we all know, gets you nothing once a batter steps in the box and a pitcher is handed the ball. So it's time to see what these Nationals are made of and how they stack up against the most-successful franchise in baseball history (not to mention current owners of the best record in the American League).

Gio Gonzalez gets the ball for Game 1 of this weekend showdown, seeking his ninth victory in 13 starts. The left-hander faced the Yankees five times over the last three years ... and he did not fare well (1-4, 7.27 ERA, 47 baserunners in 26 innings). That, of course, was a different Gio Gonzalez wearing an Oakland A's uniform, so we'll see how he responds in his first appearance against the Yanks in a Nats uniform.

Right-hander Phil Hughes (3-0 over his last four starts) takes the mound for New York, facing a Nationals lineup that will look a bit more familiar now without the DH in play.

Plenty of updates to come, so please check back early and often. And if you're coming to the park, be prepared for traffic, construction, Metro delays and crowded lines. In other words, give yourselves plenty of time...

NEW YORK YANKEES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv, MLB Network (outside D.C. market)
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 89
Weather: Sunny, 78 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from RF

NATIONALS (38-23)
LF Steve Lombardozzi
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Jesus Flores
LHP Gio Gonzalez

YANKEES (37-25)
Lineup TBA
RHP Phil Hughes

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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