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Looking ahead to September call-ups

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Looking ahead to September call-ups

There are still about two weeks until MLB rosters expand from 25 to 40 players, but during that time Nationals brass will be looking at their minor league teams to see who they want for a September showcase. Some may be brought up to play key, specialized roles for the seasons final month. Some may be called upon to potentially stay on board for the playoffs. And some may simply be called up to gain MLB experience for the future or a possible trade.

Last season the Nats brought up a few familiar names including Steve Lombardozzi who is now a key member of the 2012 club. They also pulled up pitchers Brad Peacock and Tom Milone who, after showing they belonged in the big leagues, were shipped to Oakland for All-Star Gio Gonzalez.

This year the Nats find themselves in a much different position with the best record in the league and likely cant afford handing out starts to minor league pitchers. They may, however, utilize several guys in very specific roles to help boost their team and rest some of their players during the home stretch.

Rosters can be expanded on September 1st, but the Nats' Triple-A affiliate Syracuse Chiefs play until September 3rd so they may not be brought up until then.

Here are some players the Nats may call up:

Position Players

OF Corey Brown

Brown has made two stints with the big league club this season, a three-game visit in May and a six-game spot in July. He was sent back down in lieu of Chad Tracy who returned from injury two games after Brown hit his first major league home run. Brown has power, can play the outfield, and can also help on the basepaths with 16 stolen bases in 107 games with Syracuse.

OF Eury Perez

Perez can help the Nationals defensively as a speedy outfielder, but if he is brought up it will most likely be for his base running. Perez has 43 stolen bases this year in 112 total minor league games this season and has adjusted well to Triple-A pitchers with a .330 average in 25 games.

IF Chris Marrero

Marrero may be called up only because he was with the team last September and proved he can hang at the big league level. He has worked his way back from injury this season and is still finding his swing with Syracuse. The Nats, however, already have Tyler Moore and Mark DeRosa who can do everything Marrero can do at this point and more.

Pitchers

LHP John Lannan

This one you can count on, Lannan will be brought up in September to take the rotation spot of Stephen Strasburg and assume the role of the teams fifth starter. He has been stashed at Syracuse all season, but was brought up twice since the All-Star break and earned the win in both outings. Lannan has pitched better at the MLB level this season than he has at Triple-A and the Nats expect him to jump right in and help continue their quest for a division title.

RHP Christian Garcia

MLB.com reported that Garcia will likely be called up in September as the 26-year-old reliever has been dominant for Syracuse. In 20 appearances with the Chiefs he has a 0.36 ERA and has held opponents to a .107 batting average. He hasnt allowed a run since June and has 33 strikeouts in 25.1 innings. Garcia is expected to see some action in September and there is a slim, outside chance he could stay on for October. If an injury happens to their bullpen or if Drew Storen continues to struggle, a spot could open up.

LHP Zach Duke

Duke is an MLB veteran of seven seasons and has sort of revitalized his career in the minor leagues this year. With Syracuse he is 13-5 with a 3.57 ERA in 23 games, not unbelievable numbers but they suggest he deserves another chance at the highest level. When Strasburg is shut down, he could be the next man up as far as starting pitchers in the event of an injury. Even if the Nats were to call on Tom Gorzelanny in that case, Duke could be the emergency fall back for a left-handed long relief man.

RHP Yunesky Maya

Maya was a September call-up last season, but his chances of being brought up this year are slim. Still, no one has pitched better for Syracuse this season as Maya leads the Chiefs rotation with a 3.52 ERA. He has a 1.11 WHIP through 145.2 innings and is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in the month of August. Nats fans have seen a lot of Maya before and know his tendency to fade in the middle of games, but if you are looking at Syracuses rotation he sure stands out.

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Nats give up monster HR, drop series-opener with Giants

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USA TODAY Sports

Nats give up monster HR, drop series-opener with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO  -- Mac Williamson hit a two-run homer in the sixth to lead the Giants past the Washington Nationals 4-2 on Monday night.

Chris Stratton (2-1) struck out five over 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and four hits.

Williamson, playing his first home game at AT&T Park this season after being called up during the recent road trip, connected with a deep drive to right-center off Shawn Kelley after he relieved starter Gio Gonzalez (2-2). Gonzalez walked Brandon Belt to end his day before Williamson crushed the first pitch he saw from Kelley.

The 464-foot shot by Williamson is the furthest homer by the Giants this year, topping his previous 434-foot homer Friday after he was promoted to face the Angels in Anaheim. Earlier Monday, Williamson drove in his team's initial run on a fielder's choice in the fourth.

Only three home runs have travelled further in 2018, according to MLB StatCast: Franchy Cordero (489), Avisail Garcia (481) and Marcell Ozuna (479)

San Francisco kicked off a 10-game homestand by winning back-to-back games for only the second time this season and first since April 4-7. The Giants were coming off their first series victory of the season against the Angels.

The Nationals' runs came on a pair of sacrifice flies, by Howie Kendrick in the third and pinch-hitter Andrew Stevenson in the seventh.

Gonzalez allowed three runs and four hits, struck out four and walked three in five innings.

In his only other start against Washington, Stratton threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts last Aug. 13.

Hunter Strickland, who brawled with Bryce Harper during Washington's last visit to AT&T Park in late May 2017, finished for his fourth save in six chances. Harper didn't bat in the ninth.

NATS TRADE COLE

Washington traded right-hander A.J. Cole to the New York Yankees for cash. The 26-year-old Cole was 1-1 with a 13.06 ERA in four games for the Nationals and was designated for assignment last week.

BAKER REUNION

Ex-Nationals manager Dusty Baker, who guided Washington to back-to-back NL East titles before his firing after last season, visited the ballpark to see his former club.

Did he plan the visit in advance?

"Maybe," Baker said, grinning.

Nats pitcher Stephen Strasburg hustled out to give Baker a big hug behind the batting cage.

"What's up Dusty, how you doing?" Strasburg said.

Baker also visited with third base coach Bob Henley, the loan holdover from his coaching staff.

Baker is now working in an advisory role to Giants CEO Larry Baer while getting to watch son, Darren, play his freshman college season at California in Berkeley.

"I am good," Baker said. "How bad can it be between Cal, San Francisco and Sacramento?"

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: OF Adam Eaton, on the disabled list retroactive to April 9 with a bone bruise in his left ankle, won't be rushed back until he is completely pain-free. "When you see him in the lineup he'll be ready," manager Dave Martinez said. "He's coming along. When we get him back this time we don't want any issues." ... OF Brian Goodwin remains in Florida with pain in his bruised left wrist.

Giants: LHP Will Smith is eagerly anticipating his return from Tommy John surgery that cost him all of last season, and he could come off the DL as soon as Tuesday. He pitched twice for Class-A San Jose and three times so far for Triple-A Sacramento. He is scheduled to throw consecutive days for Sacramento on Wednesday and Thursday then another short outing Sunday. "We're close. We're getting there," Smith said, noting it will be "awesome. I'm ready to go." ... RHP closer Mark Melancon (flexor strain in pitching elbow) is scheduled to play catch during Thursday's off day. There is no timetable for his return, manager Bruce Bochy said. ... LF Hunter Pence (sprained right thumb) did some hitting and is scheduled for early batting practice Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Giants lefty Ty Blach (1-3, 4.10 ERA) will face the Nationals for the first time in his career when he pitches the middle game of the series opposite right-hander Tanner Roark (1-1, 3.24).

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Bryce Harper, broken bats, and bobbleheads: a true trifecta

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washington nats

Bryce Harper, broken bats, and bobbleheads: a true trifecta

Bryce Harper can do no wrong.

Last week in a win over the New York Mets, Bryce Harper, in super-human fashion, managed to shatter his bat while still hitting a home run.

It was as incredible as you think it is. Click the link in the line above here if you don't believe us. 

In what was already a one-of-one scenario, the cherry on top has been officially added: a Bryce Harper, broken-bat bobblehead.

The company that will be producing the legendary figurines is Sports Fan Island, who have gotten the bobbleheads licensed through both the MLB and the MLBPA.

The details on the bobblehead speak for themselves, from the intricacy of the broken bat, to the flames surrounding home plate under Harper.  

Despite the fact that the bobbleheads don't officially ship until July, fans can begin to pre-order this piece of historic memorabilia for $39.99, so you may want to grab them while they're still hot. 

RELATED: 2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS- APRIL UPDATE