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Highly touted Lucas Giolito set to make Nationals debut on Tuesday

Highly touted Lucas Giolito set to make Nationals debut on Tuesday

Updated 3:52 p.m.

For Nationals top prospect Lucas Giolito, the wait is finally over.

The Nats announced on Monday their plans to call up the former first round pick to make his major league debut on Tuesday night against the NL East rival New York Mets. 

Giolito, 21, joins the Nats as the top-rated prospect in baseball. The 6-foot-6 right-hander held a 3.17 ERA through 14 starts at Double-A Harrisburg. Over his last nine games he posted a 2.41 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings.

"He's ready for the task," manager Dusty Baker said after revealing the news.

The Nats hosting the Mets already made for a big game and Giolito's debut will only add to the excitement. He'll pitch opposite Matt Harvey, another former first round pick who underwent Tommy John sugery.

The Nationals took Giolito with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. He had Tommy John that August and has since worked his way up through the Nats' minor league system. Giolito participated in his first big league spring training this year.

Giolito fared well this spring - he allowed three earned runs in 6 2/3 innings - and Baker is ready to see what he's got. 

"You don't know if they're ready or not until they get here and perform," Baker said.

Giolito throws a fastball that can reach triple digits and a curveball many project to be a plus-pitch at the MLB level. He also throws a changeup, which has been a big point of emphasis for him as a minor leaguer.

An MLB manager for 21 seasons, Baker has seen plenty of top prospects come and go. He plans to treat Giolito just like any other player.

"I try to let them all be themelves. You can put too many thoughts in their head. You try to make it just like another game when it's really not. You've gotta try to pretend like it's just another game, whether you're playing at Nationals Park here or you're playing at your hometown field. Once the first pitch is thrown, it's just another game. Higher stakes, more people, but you've gotta put those things out of your mind," Baker explained.

Giolito is coming up to replace Stephen Strasburg in the Nationals' rotation, as Strasburg landed on the disabled list Sunday (retro to June 16) with an upper back strain. Giolito, however, is not on the Nationals' 40-man roster, so a corresponding move will be necessary to clear room.

Exactly how long Giolito will be with the Nationals is also unclear. His second start would be set for June 3 at home against the Reds, but Strasburg will be eligible to return by then. Strasburg underwent an MRI on Monday morning, but the results had not come in before Baker's pregame media session.

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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

USA Today Sports

Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

Watching Max Scherzrer rack up Ks during a game is a usual sight for fans.

Dancing is not.

On Wednesday while the Sports Junkies were broadcasting at Nats Spring Training in West Palm Beach, we got a taste of what the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner has to offer on the dance floor. 

With just about a week left until their season kicks off, manager Dave Martinez hired a DJ for the day's workout, saying he wanted to "turn it up a notch." 

Well he turned it up a few too many notches, causing the back end of the complex where the Junkies were broadcasting to lose power.

While the Junkies were put in a pickle because of said DJ, we were able to get a glance of Scherzer dancing to Drakes' "God's Plan."


It's nice to see the usually lazer-focused pitcher let loose.

While Scherzer's dance moves didn't actually cause the Junkies to lose power, it's nice to think they were too much for the ballpark to handle. 

106.7 The Fans Sports Junkies simulcasts on NBC Sports Washington every weekday morning from 6:00 to 10:00 am ET. You can stream the Sports Junkies right here

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

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. 


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.