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Nats put Strasburg on the disabled list

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Nats put Strasburg on the disabled list

Conceding their once-dominant right-hander couldn’t continue to pitch through the worst prolonged slump of his career, the Nationals placed Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with neck tightness.

Fellow right-hander Taylor Hill was recalled from Class AAA Syracuse to take Strasburg’s roster spot and provide a fresh arm out of the bullpen for Saturday’s game in Cincinnati.

The transaction comes less than 24 hours after Strasburg departed his start at Great American Ball Park one batter into the second inning, complaining of tightness in his left trapezius muscle. That was merely the latest evidence of Stasburg’s discomfort while pitching, something that has come to define his last month on the mound.

Strasburg has failed to complete four innings in four of his last five starts, one of which was cut short by discomfort under his right shoulder blade, two others by ineffective performance. Overall, he’s now 3-5 with a 6.55 ERA in 10 starts this season, giving up five more hits per nine innings than he did in his career prior to 2015.

Through it all, Strasburg has not shown traditional signs of injury. His fastball has averaged 95 mph in each of his last six starts, identical to his last three seasons, suggesting no physical issue with his shoulder or elbow.

Now, the Nationals will have at least two weeks to figure out what has caused Strasburg’s neck and upper back problems, prompting altered mechanics and poor command.

This is the fourth time Strasburg has gone on the DL in his career. He missed two weeks in 2010 with shoulder inflammation, then tore his elbow ligament later that summer and missed 12 months following Tommy John surgery. He also missed 15 days with a strained lat muscle in 2013.

Hill joins the Nationals’ bullpen after going 3-2 with a 4.35 ERA in nine starts at Syracuse this season. The 26-year-old right-hander made his major-league debut last year, posting a 9.00 ERA in three games (including one start).

Taylor Jordan, who tossed 4 2/3 innings in emergency relief Friday, would appear to be the most-likely candidate to take Strasburg’s rotation spot for the immediate future.

[MORE NATIONALS: CINGRANI DOESN'T FEEL BAD ABOUT HITTING HARPER]

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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.

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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