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Morse still out with bruised hand

Morse still out with bruised hand

PHILADELPHIA -- His right hand still red and swollen, Michael Morse was not surprisingly out of the starting lineup for tonight's game against the Phillies, but the Nationals left fielder remains hopeful he'll be back within a matter of days.

Morse took a pitch off the outside of his hand during the first inning of Friday night's game and immediately dropped to a knee in obvious pain. Nationals officials and teammates were worried the pitch broke a bone, but X-rays came back negative and Morse was diagnosed only with a bad bruise.

Though it was an encouraging diagnosis, Morse is still dealing with pain and as of this afternoon had yet to attempt to grip a bat or ball.

"Gripping is tough," he said. "It's a little weak. I'm still trying to get my pinky to move a little more."

Morse described the overall feeling in his hand as "just sore" and "kind of weak." He planned to attempt to start testing it out while the rest of the Nationals are playing the Phillies tonight at Citizens Bank Park.

Morse said throwing may actually be a bigger concern than hitting.

Though Morse didn't entirely rule out the possibility of playing in Sunday's series finale, manager Davey Johnson suggested he's likely to be held out until the Nationals play in Miami on Tuesday.

"Yeah, probably," Johnson said. "It's going to be up to Michael. He got hit pretty good, so just play it day-by-day."

Ian Desmond, meanwhile, was out of the lineup for the second straight night with a mild hamstring strain suffered while taking an awkward step near first base on Wednesday in Washington. The Nationals shortstop doesn't expect to play at all this weekend.

"We're probably on a day-to-day basis," Johnson said. "But I'm not going to take a chance on injuries."

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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