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Nats end up on wrong end of MLB's new rule in loss to Tigers

Nats end up on wrong end of MLB's new rule in loss to Tigers

The Nationals were the first team to benefit from MLB's new rule outlawing takeout slides in their Opening Day win in Atlanta, and now they have experienced the frustrating other side of the coin.

In Tuesday night's 5-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers, a confirmed call on a play at second base in the top of the sixth inning loomed large, as it extended the frame and allowed Miguel Cabrera to single home what ended up the game-winning run.

With two outs and Joe Ross on the mound, Tigers shortstop Andrew Romine smacked a groundball to Daniel Murphy at second base. He tossed the ball to Danny Espinosa, who threw to first with Tigers center fielder sliding about a foot over to the right of the bag in his direction. 

Romine's grounder was too soft and he was too fast to give the Nats a chance at a double play, but the Nationals felt MLB's newest rule could give them the double play. The Nats challenged the call and were denied. And after the loss, they expressed their frustration with how the rule was implemented.

"They explained the rule was to us in spring training that if you couldn't touch second base or the base that you were going to, that it was an automatic double play," manager Dusty Baker said. "But then it was explained to me that the rule had changed. If he wasn't hindering the shortstop of second baseman from throwing the ball, there was no double play. We weren't aware that the rule had been changed. That's been a topic of discussion ever since it was invoked in spring training. We were told that that was the rule, and so they said he wasn't hindering the guy from throwing to first base, so therefore it wasn't a double play."

Murphy was even more specific in his take, citing the exact violations he believed Gose committed on the play.

"From my understanding, the rule is that you need to make an attempt to touch the bag, which on the replay I think it was shown that he did not. I also think that with the rule, that you need to try to maintain the bag, which I don't think he did, either... from my understanding with the rule, Anthony did not try to touch the bag and he did not hold the bag. He went past it. With the rule that Major League Baseball gave us, the commissioner's office, that would be two violations," Murphy said.

First baseman Ryan Zimmerman said a double play was not likely with Romine charging in, but thought the Nats should have been awarded an overturned call due to the letter of the rule.

"If the rule reads like it did in spring training, I don’t know, I think the guy’s out," Zimmerman said.

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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