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Nats not actively pursuing infielder


Nats not actively pursuing infielder

NEW YORK -- Despite a lack of organizational depth at the position, the Nationals are not actively seeking to acquire a middle infielder in the wake of Ian Desmond's placement on the disabled list.

According to a club source, the Nationals are content to move forward with Danny Espinosa at shortstop, Steve Lombardozzi at second base and Mark DeRosa as their backup infielder until Desmond is ready to return from a tear of his left oblique muscle.

Desmond is likely to miss at least a month, but the source said the Nationals don't believe any potential backup infielders available before next week's trade deadline provide a significant enough upgrade for the price they would cost.

Team officials aren't willing to deal away any top prospects for a two-month rental, and neither are they willing to take on a hefty contract for such a player. That would seem to rule out the likes of Minnesota's Jamey Carroll (still owed about 5 million through 2013) or Colorado's Marco Scutaro (owed about 2 million the rest of this season).

The Nationals are taking a chance neither Espinosa nor Lombardozzi suffers an injury, a development that would force DeRosa (hitting .148 entering tonight's game) into the starting lineup. The organization doesn't have any major-league ready replacements at Class AAA Syracuse or Class AA Harrisburg, so another injury would probably force general manager Mike Rizzo into acquiring another player.

But for now, the Nationals appear content with the status quo, not only at middle infield but at catcher as well. Despite a score of injuries that has plagued the position this season, the club source said they are prepared to continue with Jesus Flores backed up by Sandy Leon and Jhonatan Solano (currently on the DL with an oblique strain).

If anything, the Nationals are surprisingly set at every position on the field for the stretch run, an unusual position for any contender, let alone a club in a pennant race for the first time.

They have inquired about potential major acquisitions, but would only make such a move if such a player was under team control for several seasons and still wouldn't be willing to part ways with most of their elite prospects to make those types of deals.

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Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?


Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?

The Washington Nationals announced Friday Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018. 

Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history, and the Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, but they failed to make it to an NLCS.

Baker is 14th in MLB history with 1,863 career wins.

The next Nationals' manager will be their seventh since they arrived in DC.

Only the Marlins have had as many.

"I'm surprised and disappointed," Baker told USA TODAY Sports. "They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me."

"I really thought this was my best year. We won at least 95 games each year and won the division back to back years but they said they wanted to go a different direction. It's hard to understand." 

The team also announced the contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired, and the search for a new manager will begin immediately.


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Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery


Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery

While Nats fans were still digesting the news that Dusty Baker will not return as manager next year, the team released some more surprising news. 

Second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent knee surgery today, per an official team report. 

Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes reported that the surgery is considered significant and the team won't put a timeline on the recovery process:

"The procedure, according to the statement released by the team, repaired articular cartilage in Murphy’s right knee. For those interested in the details, it was a debridement and microfracture surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kremchek performed it."

"For those concerned with the implications of the procedure, those are still unclear. The statement clarified that Murphy’s rehab “will progress throughout the offseason,” as one would hope, and did not include a timetable.