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Harper aims to put Papelbon issue to rest: 'It was squashed that day'

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Harper aims to put Papelbon issue to rest: 'It was squashed that day'

VIERA, FL. — When it comes to Jonathan Papelbon's surprising return to the Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper is tired of talking about it.

He addressed the media following the incident last September. Then, the two talked it out over the offseason. Harper then discussed the issue at Nationals WinterFest and again in various interviews along the way.

Harper said he was over it on the day it happened and he is sticking to that message. On Monday at Nationals spring training, Harper aimed to kill the story for what he hopes is the final time.

"It's something that just happens. This is the first and last time I will talk about it [to the media]," he said.

"It was something that got blown up out of proportion with the media and whatnot. It was squashed that day and that's what it's going to be like for the rest of the year. There are things that happen during the year that are just part of baseball and part of sports and life."

Papelbon was suspended by the team for the remainder of the season after the Sept. 27 altercation. It was a moment caught on live television that became a national story and put Papelbon's future in Washington in serious doubt.

Nearly five months later, however, Papelbon is still with the Nationals. Harper insists there will be no problems between them this year and hopes the two of them - along with the rest of the team - can come together working towards the same goal.

"Just try to build from that and do everything you can to make sure it doesn't happen again. Hopefully we can go about it the right way this year to come together as a team and as a family. That's all that matters. I just want to win. I want us to be out there pulling on the same rope every single day and working hard and doing everything we can as an organization and win ballgames," he said.

[RELATED: Harper on Yankees, $400M+ deal: 'Can't put a limit on players']

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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