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Nationals' latest cuts clarify final spots for bullpen and bench

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Nationals' latest cuts clarify final spots for bullpen and bench

The Nationals made another round of cuts after Friday night's game against the Twins, keeping right-hander Blake Treinen as the final member of their bullpen and outfielder Chris Heisey as the last player on their bench.

Outifelder Matt den Dekker and reliever Trevor Gott were optioned to Triple-A Syracuse, while Heisey's contract was selected for the 25-man roster.

Lefty Sean Burnett revealed after Friday's game he had not made the team after an impressive spring training. The eight-year veteran will now likely seek a deal with another team as he continues his road back from two Tommy John surgeries. He is expected to opt out of his contract and explore his options in free agency.

"I've never been in this situation before. I'll call my agent and see what the next step is. I guess I'll be looking for a job," Burnett said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity they gave me here."

Treinen, 27, made it tough for the Nationals to keep him off the Opening Day roster with five scoreless outings this spring. He was strong again in Friday night's win with a 1-2-3 eighth inning. 

Spring training has offered a small sample size, but Treinen appears to have fixed some things that plagued him in 2015 when he posted a 3.86 ERA.

"He's figured it out," Dusty Baker said. "His sinker is something and his slider is working big time. He's throwing the ball up more on left-handers. He knew and Mike [Maddux] knew what they had to work on in spring training."

Heisey, 31, gives Baker a right-handed bat off the bench and familiarity as a former player of his with the Cincinnati Reds. He has a .719 career OPS in six MLB seasons.

Heisey hit .233 with two homers and 10 RBI in 23 games this spring training. He played five seasons in Cincinnati and enjoyed his best year under Baker in 2011 when he hit 18 home runs and had 50 RBI in 120 games. 

Here is what the Nationals' Opening Day roster is expected to look like:

Infielders (6)

1B Ryan Zimmerman
2B Daniel Murphy
SS Danny Espinosa
3B Anthony Rendon
INF Stephen Drew
1B Clint Robinston

Outfielders (5)

LF Jayson Werth
CF Ben Revere
RF Bryce Harper
OF Michael Taylor
OF Chris Heisey

Catchers (2)

Wilson Ramos
Jose Lobaton

Starters (5)

RHP Max Scherzer
RHP Stephen Strasburg
LHP Gio Gonzalez
RHP Tanner Roark
RHP Joe Ross

Relievers (7)

RHP Jonathan Papelbon
RHP Yusmeiro Petit
LHP Oliver Perez
LHP Felipe Rivero
RHP Blake Treinen
RHP Matt Belisle
RHP Shawn Kelley

[RELATED: Roark not worried after off day; Dusty impressed with Treinen]

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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

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

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USA Today Sports Images

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm