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Nats' Scherzer struggles through 37-pitch inning vs Astros

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Nats' Scherzer struggles through 37-pitch inning vs Astros

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- Max Scherzer needed 37 pitches to get through the first inning of his second spring training start but allowed just one run Tuesday in the Washington Nationals' 4-2 win over the Houston Astros.

Jose Altuve and George Springer started with singles, and Colby Rasmus singled with one out. After a walk to Carlos Gomez loaded the bases, A.J. Reed grounded to third in a 13-pitch at-bat, and Jason Martinson threw home for the forceout. Scherzer then struck out Jon Singleton on a changeup after Singleton just missed a grand slam on the preceding pitch.

"In a high pitch-count situation, you have guys that are battling you, and you have to execute pitches in a bases-loaded situation, that's stuff that gets you ready for the season," Scherzer said. "So even though I might not have liked the results so much today, this start prepared me as well as anything for the season."

Reed is a 22-year-old first baseman who has yet to play at even Triple-A.

"If I face him again we're going to have some fun," Scherzer said. "He got to see everything. I would enjoy facing him again. It was a great battle. A 13-pitch at bat? That's a great experience in spring, especially if he's an up-and-coming guy. I mean, that's fun! That's what this game is about."

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Scherzer retired the side in order in the second. He allowed three hits in two innings, struck out two and walked one. He threw 51 pitches.

"We probably stole an inning away from Scherzer today," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I know he wanted to go three innings."

Houston starter Doug Fister gave up one run and two hits in three innings, struck out three and walked three.

Pinch-hitter Derek Fisher homered for the Astros.

STARTING TIME

Houston's Doug Fister, making his second start, gave up one run and two hits in three innings, struck out three and walked three.

A sore forearm relegated Fister to the disabled list and the bullpen for much of last season with the Nationals, but he has a spot in the Houston rotation.

"I feel great," he said. "I spent a lot of time this offseason working with physical therapists and guys that are just trying to get me healthy. I still have to build upon where I'm at, but I'm excited to be here."

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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.

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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.

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