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Max Scherzer plays catch; hamstring 'tweaked' not strained

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USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer plays catch; hamstring 'tweaked' not strained

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer bounded up the stairs from the dugout to the field on his way to his usual post-start catch Sunday, the white compression sleeve on his right leg the only indication that he was dealing with what the two-time Cy Young Award winner said an MRI exam showed was a "tweaked" hamstring.

Scherzer left his last regular-season start after only 3 1/3 innings on Saturday night after feeling something in his hamstring while throwing a changeup. The club sent Scherzer for an MRI as a precaution.

"Showed exactly what we thought: Nothing major. More of a tool to help know how we need to treat it. We have a pretty good idea of what we need to be able to do to get back out there. The good news thing about this is, I can walk and run around on this. It's not a major strain or anything, where it's debilitating," Scherzer said Sunday in the home clubhouse at Nationals Park. "So I'm pretty upbeat and positive about going forward here."

What he would not do is weigh in on whether he would pitch Friday in Game 1 or Saturday in Game 2 of NL East champion Washington's NL Division Series against the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs.

The Nationals have not said whether Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg is their planned Game 1 starter.

"It's tough to say right now, when we're not even 24 hours out" from the leg problem surfacing, Scherzer said. "We're still trying to get all the doctors to take a look at this and make sure that we have the absolutely correct diagnosis. But we have a really, really good idea of what we've got here."

Scherzer, who won the NL Cy Young Award last season to go with his 2013 AL honor for Detroit, is a contender again this season. He leads the NL in strikeouts with 268 and his 2.51 ERA is second to Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Scherzer finished with a 16-6 record.

"It's never good when your ace walks off the mound in the fourth inning of the second-to-last game of the season," Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said, "but he feels optimistic about it."

This is the latest health issues in 2017 for Scherzer, who spent time on the disabled list in August with a neck problem and left a start in early September after a batted ball struck his left calf.

"Frustrating as all get-out. I've done such a good job of taking care of my body over the course of my career and have never come out of starts, and this year I think I've come out of three. That's frustrating for me, because I always take pride in pitching deep into games and taking the ball every fifth day," said Scherzer, who bounced on his toes in the clubhouse to show reporters his leg felt fine. "Unfortunately, some of these injuries are out of my control right now. Because I'm doing everything I can to stay out there on the mound and to try to be healthy, but unfortunately, I've got a few ailments."

NOTE: RHP Shawn Kelley said that no decision has been made on how to treat the bone chips in his right elbow that limited the range of motion in his pitching arm even more than it already was after two Tommy John surgeries. In addition, he said Sunday, he "started having sensations in my hand and numbness and tingling and stuff." An operation is a possibility. "We're still waiting to consult with people and try to get the best plan of attack," said Kelley, who went on the 60-day disabled list Saturday. "Obviously, I've got a special case with my elbow. It's very fragile."

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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.