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Nats send Barrett to minors after tough outing vs. Arizona


Nats send Barrett to minors after tough outing vs. Arizona

Updated at 2:55 p.m.

On the heels of a trainwreck ballgame Wednesday night that saw their bullpen give up nine earned runs for the first time in six years, the Nationals optioned right-hander Aaron Barrett to Class AAA Syracuse before Thursday's series finale against the Diamondbacks and recalled Blake Treinen to take his spot on the roster.

Barrett was front-and-center during Wednesday's meltdown, giving up three runs during the top of the fifth, including the tying and go-ahead runs on a wild throw to first base. He had, however, been on a prolonged run of success, not surrendering any runs over his previous nine appearances.

Overall, Barrett owns a 4.60 ERA in 40 games, despite a strong 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season and only 28 hits allowed in 29 1/3 innings. The Nationals, though, want to see more consistency from the second-year reliever.

"I look back to [last weekend's] New York series. He pitched really well," manager Matt Williams said. "But then last night is an example of him not quite making a pitch, and having a bloop, and making the error and things go haywire. The situations we put him in are important situations, and he's been there many times. ... Recently, there's been some times where he just hasn't been able to make that pitch. So we just want him to make sure that he's continuing to work."

Barrett's most-recent appearance came under somewhat unusual circumstances, with starter Gio Gonzalez pulled after allowing a leadoff single on his second pitch of the sixth inning. Afterward, Barrett hinted he didn't have much time to warm-up prior to his entry.

"I did the best I could with the one batter I was able to get loose during the sixth inning," he said. "It is what it is, but you've got to find a way to get the job done. I didn't make pitches, and that's the result of it."

Treinen rejoins the Nationals after his demotion to Class AAA last month. He made only five appearances for Syracuse, but totaled 12 innings and didn't surrender a run, striking out 14 with only one walk. The 27-year-old battled his own inconsistencies while in the big leagues earlier this season, with a 4.39 ERA in 32 relief appearances. He hopes an emphasis on getting left-handed batters out — he started using his 4-seam fastball more against them in Syracuse — will help him now that he's back at this level after a demotion he understood was necessary.

"Shoot, it was no news to me," Treinen said. "I'm not trying to be upset for the lack or performance I had, or the reason I got sent down. I had things I had to work on that are going to help this team, and hopefully it translates when I get back up here."

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.