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Joey Votto broke a major rule vs. Nats, but no one noticed

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Joey Votto broke a major rule vs. Nats, but no one noticed

BY PETER HAILEY

When Bryce Harper broke one of baseball's unwritten rules last Friday night, Reds first baseman Joey Votto made sure to let him know by confronting him at first base. But when Votto benefitted from seemingly everyone in the ballpark forgetting one of baseball's most basic rules on Sunday afternoon, Harper was kind enough to let Votto reach first without any yelling. 

In a bizarre at-bat during the seventh inning of the Nationals game in Cincinnati yesterday, Votto took his base after a 2-2 pitch was called a ball. There's only one problem with that: In Major League Baseball, walks are typically rewarded after -- you, know -- four balls have been thrown, not three. 

The umpiring error seemed to have been caused by the stadium scoreboard incorrectly stating the count was full when it was actually 2-2. So when Nats reliever Matt Grace missed low with his offering, no one batted an eyelash when the Reds first baseman dropped his bat and made his way down the line. And yes, in case you're wondering, Votto, who took issue with how long it took Harper to make the same walk after Cincinnati reliever Tony Cingrani plunked him with a fastball in the first game of the series, did so in a brisk jog. 

When asked about the incident on Monday, Nats manager Matt Williams said, "You still gotta make your pitch. You still gotta make pitches to get guys out. We're on to today. We can't do anything about it now. All we can do is look at the Blue Jays and try to beat R.A. tonight and go from there."

But shouldn't someone have been aware enough to catch the mistake and make Votto return to home plate to resume the at-bat?

"Well, it didn't get caught. So, what are you going to do? We've got another day."

Overall, the Reds scored six runs in the inning on their way to an 8-2 win as they completed the sweep over Washington. Grace, meanwhile, was sent down to Triple-A Syracuse Monday afternoon. For his sake, hopefully the umpires there will be more attentive to the rules. 

[MORE NATIONALS: Where do the Nats stand after getting swept by the Reds?]

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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