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Nats-Phillies live game thread

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Nats-Phillies live game thread

First things first: Yes, that banner is actually hanging from the scoreboard. And yes, pretty much every mention of Nationals Park in the entire building has been covered up and re-branded for the weekend. I'll let all of you decide how you feel about this stunt. Now, let's talk about some actual baseball...

Stephen Strasburg faces the Phillies tonight for only the second time. The previous outing, of course, represented the low point in his big-league career. Not because of how he pitched -- on Aug. 21, 2010, the rookie right-hander allowed one run on two hits, striking out six over 4 13 innings -- but because of what happened on his final pitch: a 91-mph change-up that snapped his ulnar collateral ligament.

Strasburg has certainly come a long way since that night at Citizens Bank Park. He'll enter this game with a 1.13 ERA (second-lowest in baseball). And he'll be charged tonight with leading the first-place Nationals to victory over the five-time NL East champs.

Plenty of updates to come, so please check Nats Insider's live game thread often...

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 89
Weather: Scattered storms, 80 degrees, Wind 5 mph LF to RF

NATIONALS (16-9)
SS Ian Desmond
3B Steve Lombardozzi
LF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
1B Chad Tracy
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
C Jesus Flores
RHP Stephen Strasburg

PHILLIES (13-13)
SS Jimmy Rollins
LF Juan Pierre
3B Placido Polanco
RF Hunter Pence
CF Shane Victorino
1B Laynce Nix
C Carlos Ruiz
2B Pete Orr
RHP Kyle Kendrick

UMPIRES
TBA

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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