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Nats' P Joe Ross hopes to try new pitch against Phillies

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Nats' P Joe Ross hopes to try new pitch against Phillies

Nationals starter Joe Ross has been working on a new pitch going back to the beginning of spring training, but he didn't unveil it in his season debut last Sunday against the Miami Marlins. With Ross making his second start of the season in Philadelphia on Friday, today could be the day.

A new pitch or any adjustment - whether that be a grip or a mechanical change - is easy to try during a bullpen session or while playing catch. But bringing something new like that into an actual game is a different story. 

For Ross, it's a splitter, and he has been building confidence with the pitch over the last few weeks, waiting for the right time to break it out.

"I feel comfortable. I threw a bullpen yesterday and it felt really good. So hopefully I'll be able to work it into my start [on Friday] a few times. It's looking pretty good as of right now," Ross explained. "It's tough... I like working on it and throwing it in bullpens and stuff, but when it comes to the game you have to pick your spots I think."

Ross' splitter has quite the lineage. Closer Jonathan Papelbon taught it to Ross this spring, and he learned it from Curt Schilling. Both were key cogs on the 2007 Boston Red Sox, who won the World Series.

"He said he taught it to him and Pap wanted to teach it to me," Ross said. "If those guys do it and they've obviously done pretty well, then I should try it out. That gave me a little more optimistic view to throw it."

Ross hopes to start using his splitter soon, but whether he will go to it depends heavily on the game situations presented to him. He explained part of that process:

"You have to pick your spots against what guys are good against [splitters] and what guys aren't," Ross said. "With a splitter, I want to be able to make a mistake with it. Maybe I throw it in the dirt, for example."

Ross has enjoyed success as a first round pick, a top prospect and now as a major league pitcher working with a sinking fastball, slider and changeup combination. Mastering a splitter could help Ross reach another level.

"Learning a new pitch is exciting because it's something brand new. Being able to throw a good splitter would be huge," he said.

[RELATED: Nationals players share their thoughts on Jackie Robinson Day]

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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

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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