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Murphy, Nats acknowledge more consistency is needed on defense


Murphy, Nats acknowledge more consistency is needed on defense

Daniel Murphy brings a lot of knowns to the Nationals roster as a proven veteran capable of carrying a high average with low strikeouts. He may even hit a few homers, too, as evidenced by his power surge in the 2015 playoffs.

But Murphy does present some questions regarding his defense, especially given his now-infamous blunders in the postseason. Murphy was a hero for the Mets throughout much of October, but his errors in key spots were among several reasons New York lost the World Series to Kansas City.

Now with the Nationals, Murphy looked back on those mistakes when talking about his defensive shortcomings.

"I would have preferred to catch that ball in Game 4 and Game 5, but I didn't," he said. "I think it's an opportunity to take a step back in the offseason and realize that there's work to be done defensively."

Murphy played mostly at the corner infield positions early in his career before switching to second base. Though he has spent most of his time at second for four seasons now, the veteran says there is still room to learn about the position.

"I think my goal each year is to be as consistent as possible on the routine play. I also feel like each year as I've been able to play the position more, second base, I've been able to grow defensively. I know that when I started there, there were some definite growing pains, but I feel like each year I get more comfortable and hopefully if we with our staff here and the infield staff and myself get some work done we can continue that curve headed in the right direction," he explained.

The Nationals signed Murphy to be their starting second baseman and, of course, they took a long look at his defense before offering a contract. General manager Mike Rizzo expressed confidence in Murphy's defensive abilities in Thursday's introductory press conference.

"We take the entire package when we sign the player," Rizzo said. "We love the way Daniel gets after it. He works hard as a defender and as an offensive player. He's our second baseman, we're running him out there every day. When you see a player play 19 times a season for as many years as I've had, I've seen him make unbelievable plays at second base."

Rizzo continued to echo Murphy in saying there is room for improvement.

"He's obviously going to work extremely hard to be more consistent at second base," he said.

His abilities on defense may be questioned, but Murphy's versatility in the infield presents a big positive for the Nationals. With durability concerns both at third base with Anthony Rendon and at first with Ryan Zimmerman, Murphy's experience at both positions could come in handy.

[RELATED: Murphy wonders if postseason HRs were no fluke]

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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

USA Today Sports

Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

Watching Max Scherzrer rack up Ks during a game is a usual sight for fans.

Dancing is not.

On Wednesday while the Sports Junkies were broadcasting at Nats Spring Training in West Palm Beach, we got a taste of what the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner has to offer on the dance floor. 

With just about a week left until their season kicks off, manager Dave Martinez hired a DJ for the day's workout, saying he wanted to "turn it up a notch." 

Well he turned it up a few too many notches, causing the back end of the complex where the Junkies were broadcasting to lose power.

While the Junkies were put in a pickle because of said DJ, we were able to get a glance of Scherzer dancing to Drakes' "God's Plan."


It's nice to see the usually lazer-focused pitcher let loose.

While Scherzer's dance moves didn't actually cause the Junkies to lose power, it's nice to think they were too much for the ballpark to handle. 

106.7 The Fans Sports Junkies simulcasts on NBC Sports Washington every weekday morning from 6:00 to 10:00 am ET. You can stream the Sports Junkies right here

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.