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Gonzalez, high-octane offense power Nats to win over Twins

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Gonzalez, high-octane offense power Nats to win over Twins

Postgame analysis of the Nationals' 8-4 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night at Nats Park: 

How it happened: The Nats didn't waste any time making a statement in this one. They put up four runs off Twins starter Kyle Gibson in the bottom of the first inning and added three more in the third. The most remarkable thing about two big early rallies? No home runs were hit, and Bryce Harper was seemingly the only batter in the lineup who didn't come through with a big knock. The Nats would eventually get a long ball, however; Jayson Werth launched a solo shot to left for his third of the season to make it 8-1. The Twins scored three runs late, but the game was mostly out of hand at that point. 

What it means: The Nats continue their strong start to the season as they extend their record to 12-4, which as of this post would tie for the best record in the majors along with the Chicago Cubs. They continue to play well against the teams they're supposed to beat, which is a mark of a quality team. They'll need to keep padding their record during this home stand before a tough three-city road trip. 

Gio (mostly) cruises again: For much his outing Friday night, Gonzalez has shown why he can be one of the better back-of-the-rotation starters in the league. He handled the Minnesota lineup with relative ease for six innings before being removed from the game after running into trouble in the seventh. Despite that, he still finished with a respectable pitching line: 6-plus innings, 6 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 1 walk and 8 strikeouts. And even more importantly, he's now strung together three quality performances in a row to start the season.

Werth giveth and taketh away: After taking a day off due to hamstring tightness, Werth returned to the lineup and put together what was perhaps his best effort of the young season. The 36-year-old left fielder showed he still has defensive range in the third inning when he robbed Twins rookie Byron Buxton of a home run, extending his arm while leaping over the left field wall to keep it in the ballpark. Werth followed that up two innings later with a solo home run to extend the Nats lead to 8-1. However, he was taken out of the game in the sixth inning, perhaps because of the recurring hamstring issue. Stay tuned. (UPDATE: Dusty Baker said Werth was removed only as a precaution in an 8-1 game)

Up next: The Nats will look to make it back-to-back victories vs. the Twins as the two clubs will meet for a 1:05 p.m tilt on Saturday. Tanner Roark (1-2, 3.71 ERA) will take the mound hoping to rebound from a rough start in Miami, while Minnesota will counter with Phil Hughes (1-2, 4.42 ERA). 

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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