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Nats benefiting from young talent wave with veterans injured

Nats benefiting from young talent wave with veterans injured

The Nationals are in a unique position as a franchise as a first-place team that also boasts a farm system rife with top prospects. It's an enviable spot and it's allowed the Nationals to introduce a wave of young talent this season as veterans have missed time due to injuries.

Lately, it's been Ryan Zimmerman, Jose Lobaton, Joe Ross and Bryce Harper who have given way to prospects to play in their place. Trea Turner has filled in both in the infield and outfield with Zimmerman and Harper out. Pedro Severino has made a few starts with Lobaton on the mend. And Reynaldo Lopez has now made three starts in the place of Ross.

All three - Turner, Severino and Lopez - came through on Saturday night to help lead the Nats to a 7-6 victory over the Braves. Turner fell just short of a cycle with a homer, a triple and three runs scored. Severino had two hits and helped Lopez pitch seven strong innings of one-run ball.

Many rebuilding teams would like to have that type of production come from young players who represent the future of their franchise. For the Nats, it's almost an embarrassment of riches.

"They bring energy. They’re focused," second baseman Daniel Murphy said. “I think it speaks to the talent in this organization. Trea... he’s been so fun to watch. He’s been up here for 20, 25 games. He’s impacted every single one of them in a positive way."

Turner and Lopez had the best games of their careers on Saturday night. For Severino, it was the second straight game he's had two hits.

On Saturday, those contributions were needed. But for the most part this season, the young talent has been a bonus for the Nationals. Turner explained how that has perhaps helped the rookies transition to the big leagues.

"I think it's a little more relaxing. I think we have a lot of good bats in the lineup, so you don't feel like you have to do everything there," he said.

"The same thing when you're on the mound. I feel like we play pretty good defense, pretty solid defense. That way you can just throw strikes and let them put the ball in play, not try to strike everybody out. That combination where you can relax and trust yourself and trust your teammates, I think that makes it easier for us to win and win consistently."

[RELATED: Nats may have their temporary 5th starter in Lopez]


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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. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

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.