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MLB suspends Hamels 5 games

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MLB suspends Hamels 5 games

Major League Baseball announced it has suspended Cole Hamels for five games after the Phillies left-hander acknowledged he intentionally hit Nationals rookie Bryce Harper with a fastball during the first inning of last night's game.

The punishment, handed down by MLB's senior vice president of standards and on-field operations, Joe Garagiola Jr., also includes an undisclosed fine.

The five-game suspension, common for pitchers because it typically forces them to miss one start, could actually have no effect on Hamels' schedule. The Phillies have been planning to activate lefty Cliff Lee off the disabled list Wednesday, and with a day off Thursday, they can bring back ace Roy Halladay on normal rest to pitch Saturday, allowing Hamels to return from his suspension Sunday and technically not miss a start.

Hamels drilled Harper with a first-pitch fastball in the bottom of the first inning of last night's nationally televised game. Harper proceeded to go first-to-third on a routine single to left, then stole home as Hamels made a pickoff throw to first.

After the game, Hamels publicly acknowledged the purpose of his pitch to the 19-year-old.

"I was trying to hit him," the 2008 World Series MVP said. "I'm not going to deny it. That's just -- you know what, it's something that I grew up watching, that's what happened, so I'm just trying to continue the old baseball -- I think some people kind of get away from it. I remember when I was a rookie the strike zone was really, really small and you didn't say anything just because that's the way baseball is. Sometimes the league is protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball."

Told of Hamels' comments after the game, Harper took the high road.

"He's a great guy, great pitcher and knows how to pitch," Harper said. "He's an All-Star. It's all good."

It does not appear Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann, who hit Hamels in the knee with a pitch in the third inning, has been punished at all by MLB. Zimmermann insisted he was not retaliating for the Harper beaning.

"No," the right-hander said. "I mean, he was bunting, and I'm going to take an out when I can get an out. I was trying to go away, and just cut a fastball really, really bad and unfortunately hit him in the knee."

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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