The Nationals have acquired Kurt Suzuki from the Athletics in exchange for minor leaguer David Freitas, bringing in a veteran catcher who figures to take over starting duties for a first-place club that has been beset with injuries at the position all season.
Suzuki, 28, was hitting only .218 with one homer, 13 RBI and .250 on-base percentage in 75 games with Oakland this season, but he's thrown out 38 percent of basestealers and according to manager Davey Johnson will provide "more veteran presence" during a pennant race.
Johnson described Suzuki as "a No. 1 catcher" and suggested Jesus Flores will return to a backup role, with rookie Sandy Leon likely to be optioned to Class AAA Syracuse after he catches the second game of tonight's doubleheader.
Suzuki is a career .254 hitter and is considered a good handler of pitching staffs. He's still due about 1.8 million for the remainder of this season and is already signed for 6.45 million in 2013, but general manager Mike Rizzo said the A's are picking up an unspecified amount of his contract.
Rizzo said the two teams had been discussing a deal for Suzuki for about a week. Because they couldn't complete the trade before Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline, Suzuki then had to clear waivers before he could be dealt.
Freitas, also a catcher, was hitting .271 with five homers and 46 RBI at Class A Potomac.
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.
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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.
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We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.
Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:
It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.
Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.