Nationals

Quick Links

Nats give injury updates on Ross, Zimmerman and others

Nats give injury updates on Ross, Zimmerman and others

Nationals manager Dusty Baker gave updates his group of rehabbing players before Tuesday's series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Here's a roundup: 

*Joe Ross threw a simulated game on Tuesday afternoon, a positive step that indicates he could be ready to begin his rehab assignment. 

"Joe, he looked very good today," Baker said of his 23-year-old right hander, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 3 with right shoulder inflammation. "I think he threw 35 pitches or something like that, consecutive pitches. So that's a pretty good sign. He had good velocity, good slider, and barring any setbacks he might go out this weekend to pitch somewhere." 

Baker didn't specify where Ross would pitch his minor league starts, nor how many outings it would take before he's ready to return to the rotation. While he's out, the team will tap recently-promoted Reynaldo Lopez to take his spot.

Between Ross, Lopez and the top prospect Lucas Giolito, the Nats have a trio of talented young arms that could develop into the core of the team's future rotation. However,  GM Mike Rizzo intimated on Tuesday that even though Lopez and Giolito have been called upon to make big-league starts, Ross' spot appears to be safe when he returns.  

"I think Ross is the guy that's most established of the three," Rizzo said. "We've always said he's got the makeup of a 10-year veteran and he's a guy that's certainly not intimidated by the atmosphere and being in the big leagues."

* Anthony Rendon is out of the lineup for the second consecutive game with an unspecified illness. However, Baker said that the third baseman could be available off the bench as a pinch hitter. In Rendon's stead, the Nats will have Daniel Murphy start at the hot corner for the first time this season, with Trea Turner at second and Clint Robinson playing first. 

"That's not my lineup of choice, but that's the lineup that we have, that I have to do," said Baker, implying that perhaps other options could also be unavailable Tuesday. Utility infielder Stephen Drew was not seen in pregame clubhouse availablility or on the field, so it's possible that he's the odd man out. 

* It's unknown at the moment how long Sammy Solis will be out for. Though he was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday (retroactive July 8) with right knee inflammation, Baker said he hadn't received his MRI results. So stay tuned for an update on that front in a day or so. 

* Ryan Zimmerman (left rib cage) is eligible to come off the 15-day DL on Friday, but the Nats have yet to decide if he will go on a rehab assignment.

"We've got to make a decision whether we send him off for a rehab assignment -- I think he's eligible to come off the DL on Friday I think," Baker said. "We'll continue to make an evaluation. I think he might even hit on the field today. We'll see. The thing you don't want is a setback in this situation. That's the one thing you don't want."

Zimmerman was seen running the bases before Sunday's game, and as Baker suggested, he did participate in batting practice breifly on Tuesday. 

Quick Links

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

Quick Links

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