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Harper says Zim & Werth still Nats leaders: 'I don't think I'm a leader'


Harper says Zim & Werth still Nats leaders: 'I don't think I'm a leader'

VIERA, FL. — Just because Bryce Harper is the Nationals' best player, the reigning NL MVP and the face of the franchise, doesn't mean he's ready to take the reigns as the leader of their clubhouse at the age of 23.

The Nats have plenty of prominent veteranss between Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Max Scherzer, plus a manager in Dusty Baker who has been around the block once or twice. The time may come some day for Harper to be a louder voice in the Nats' locker room, but now is not that time he says.

"I don't think I'm a leader," Harper said. "I'm just more a guy who is playing the game. I think J-Dub and Zim and all those guys, they are the leaders. Those are the guys who are going to go about it every single day and do the things that they think are right for this team." 

Harper will likely be asked for more of a leadership role at some point in his career, but he explained on Monday at spring training his style as a teammate.

"I'm not a really vocal guy," he said. "I just try to go out there and do everything thing I can and not really take a guy to the side in front of the camera and say 'hey, you gotta do this.' It will be more inside the clubhouse, trying to do everything I can to help guys out if they need it. I'm still at that stage where I'm looking at J-Dub and still looking at Zim for what they think is the best for this team. I'll play as hard as I can and hopefully lead by example."

Harper certainly led by example last season. He 

A lot of different faces. Definitely a lot of different guys this year… but once J-Dub comes in, you'll know what the clubhouse is like. He led the league in runs (118), homers (42) and OPS (1.109). He drove in 99 runs and got on base at a .460 clip. That was all with little protection around him due to injury. 

A leadership role could come with age and experience, something Werth definitely has. Harper described Werth as somebody who sets the tone for the Nationals' clubhouse.

"A lot of different faces. Definitely a lot of different guys this year," Harper said. "But once J-Dub comes in, you know what the clubhouse is like."

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

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

Remember Jim Riggleman, the infamous Nats manager that resigned from the position back in 2011 after a win against the Seattle Mariners? Well he's back in a managerial position.

Bryan Price was fired as manager of the Cinncinati Reds Thursday, after the team started the 2018 season 3-15. Riggleman, who spent four seasons as their bench coach, was named the interim manager to replace Price.

Riggleman was promoted to interim manager of the Nats in July of 2009, after Manny Acta was let go midseason. He stayed on as manager for 2010 and 2011, and he then resigned from the team on June 23, 2011 after a win agaisnt the Seattle Mariners. He had lead the team to a win in 11 of their last 12 games prior to stepping away.

The reason behind the dramatic exit was due to the organization not yet picking up his 2012 contract option. He had reportedly requested a conversation with the front office about his future with the organization, and was upset after they declined. At 58 years-old, he felt he deserved more respect.

He's been with the Reds organization since 2012, and has spent time managing the Padres, Cubs and Mariners, in addition to the Nationals. His career winning pct. with each team has been below-.500.


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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes launched a grand slam during a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning that rallied the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Wednesday night, preventing a three-game sweep.

Todd Frazier tied it at 4 with a two-run single and pinch-hitter Juan Lagares put New York ahead for the first time with a two-run double off ineffective setup man Ryan Madson (0-2).

Shut down by Tanner Roark for seven innings, the first-place Mets broke loose in the eighth and improved to 13-4 with a stirring victory against their NL East rivals.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, tripled and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who pulled off their own big comeback in the eighth inning of the series opener.

Two nights later, New York returned the favor.

Roark limited the Mets to two hits and left leading 4-2. Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled off Madson to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Jay Bruce fouled out before Frazier smacked a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home.

After an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases again, pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores struck out. Lagares then lined a two-run double the other way, just inside the right-field line at the outer edge of the infield grass, to put the Mets up 6-4.

Sammy Solis walked Amed Rosario and Conforto to force in a run. Cespedes connected for his sixth career slam -- the third by the Mets already this season -- off A.J. Cole, sending fans into a frenzy.

Both of Cespedes' hits in the inning came on 0-2 pitches.

AJ Ramos (1-1) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets since being acquired from Miami last July.

Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single for Washington in the first and Bryce Harper drew his 24th walk, most in the majors. Zimmerman, batting .121 at that point and struggling to make opponents pay for bypassing Harper, came through with a drive to left-center off Steven Matz for his second home run of the season.

Matz steadied himself after a 33-pitch first inning and retired his final 10 batters. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth after throwing 74 pitches.

Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and scored on Gonzalez's single. Zimmerman had a chance to start an inning-ending double play, but his throwing error from first base allowed another run to score on Jose Lobaton's RBI grounder as the Mets cut it to 3-2.

After Mets pitchers retired 16 in a row, Zimmerman's leadoff triple in the seventh got past a diving Bruce in right field, and Moises Sierra followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Zimmerman also hit a solo homer in the ninth.