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Though overshadowed, Zimmermann's return to Nats Park a special one

Though overshadowed, Zimmermann's return to Nats Park a special one

What all of us thought would be the main storyline for Wednesday's game was ultimately overshadowed by Max Scherzer's historic 20-strikeout gem, but the return of Jordan Zimmermann to Nationals Park did provide some special moments as expected.

The now-Tigers right-hander received a nice ovation from the 35,695 in attendance when his name was introduced pregame and then before his first at-bat in the third inning he got a standing ovation. Zimmermann stepped out of the batter's box and doffed his helmet to show his appreciation.

Those moments were much-anticipated ever since he signed with Detroit, a team the Nats just happened to have an early season interleague series against this season. They also perhaps helped right the wrong of Zimmermann not getting a similar moment of appreciation in his final start with the Nats in September.

“It means a lot to me, my family and everybody that I played with. It was great," Zimmermann said of the standing ovation. "I really didn’t know what to expect. I tipped the cap and just want to thank them too.”

Zimmermann pitched well all things considered with seven innings and three runs allowed. He was upstaged, though, by Scherzer and allowed enough scores to take his second loss of the season.

Zimmermann afterwards admitted it was a challenge to face his former team.

"I was a little amped up and wasn’t really making my pitches," he said. "Some of these guys have seen me for six or seven years so they know how I set guys up and know how I pitch. It’s a little more difficult to pitch to guys that have been seeing you for awhile.”

Zimmermann also gave up two RBI hits to Daniel Murphy, whom he didn't play with in Washington but faced plenty of times when the two were counterparts in the NL East. Murphy has proven a problem for opposing pitchers this season and Zimmermann couldn't solve him.

"Murphy was up there wiggling his bat in front of the signs and I couldn’t see so I kept stepping off," Zimmermann said.

Bryce Harper did play with Zimmermann in Washington and managed two hits off his former teammate. He relished the challenge of facing Zimmermann.

"I didn’t like the standing O they gave him, because he’s pitching against us. But he deserves that," Harper said. "He’s fun to watch. And he’s fun to face as well. Anytime you’re able to face a guy you played with, who's a competitor, who did a lot of things for this organization... it's fun."

 

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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