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Nats' Zimmerman making progress, to go on rehab assignment soon

Nats' Zimmerman making progress, to go on rehab assignment soon

The Nationals will have two big names heading out for rehab assignments some time later this week.

Joe Ross (right shoulder inflammation) is expected to make at least one minor league start soon, perhaps this weekend. He threw 35 pitches in a simulated game on Tuesday and has to work his way up to 85-90 before returning.

Ross, 23, has been on the disabled list since July 3. He has a 3.49 ERA through 16 starts this season.

Ryan Zimmerman (left rib cage strain) is also now likely to do a stint in the minors. The Nats first baseman was set to talk with manager Dusty Baker on Wednesday about where and when he will play.

“The plan is for him to go out on a rehab assignment. I’ve got to talk to him first about how long that I think is appropriate for him to get his timing, because you can’t come back here and we don’t expect him to be sharp, but maybe he will be," Baker said.

Zimmerman has been running sprints and going around the bases before games this week at Nationals Park. On Tuesday, he went through full batting practice for the first time. He did the same on Wednesday and caught throws at first base.

“It feels pretty good," Zimmerman said of his rib cage. "I think whenever you’re coming back from anything your always a little cautious at first whether your 100 percent or not. I think that’s the point of kind of getting out there and hitting and proving to yourself you can kind of let it go and everything’s fine.”

Zimmerman has been on the DL since July 7 and is eligible to return on the 22nd. He will go on the rehab assignment if the Nats instruct him to, of course. But he feels like he could get by without one.

“Just wasting hits," he said.

The Nats have several options for rehab assignments with both the Potomac Nationals and the Hagerstown Suns - their two closest affiliates - in town through the weekend.

[RELATED: Why the Nats picked Lopez over Giolito]

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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