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Players excited about Nats' new analytics-based medical program

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Players excited about Nats' new analytics-based medical program

The Nationals' new analytics-based medical and training program could take years to produce results definitive enough to declare it a true success. Before anything can be determined, players need to be measured for baseline data. Then, from there, it's up to the team's doctors and trainers to utilize that information in a way that can both prevent and possibly even predict injuries.

Give it some time, as patience will be required. But just the fact the Nationals are doing something new and innovative - and investing a good amount of money to do so - is music to their players' ears, especially those who have struggled with injuries in the past.

Perhaps no team could better use an extra emphasis on preventing injuries than the Nationals. Their core position players all have troubled histories with staying healthy. Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos are all All-Star level hitters, but each has spent significant time on the disabled list throughout their careers.

Harper showed in 2015 what he is capable of when healthy. But in 2013 and 2014 he played in a combined 218 games due to injury.

Zimmerman played in only 95 games in 2015 and only 61 the year before. He has averaged 110 games played over the last five seasons.

Like Harper this year, Rendon showed his potential in 2014 when he finished fifth in NL MVP voting. But in 2015, Rendon only played in 80 games as he dealt with everything from a knee sprain to a strained oblique muscle.

Werth has averaged 111 games played over the last four seasons. He played in only 88 games in 2015 and struggled at the plate as he built strength back in his shoulder and left wrist.

Ramos played a career-high 128 games in 2015, but appeared in only 191 total games in the previous three years.

All five know their health is paramount to the Nationals' success and all are on board with the new program. 

"I think that's the biggest key for everybody, if you stay healthy and stay on the field," Harper said. "We just need every single guy on the field as much as we can. Hopefully this will help out and we all can play every single day."

"Technology and science is a big part of every sport now," Zimmerman said. "I've only been in the game 10 years and it's changed dramatically since I've been there so I can't even imagine what it's like for trainers or doctors or even a guy like Dusty. Sports are one of those things where you have to evolve and you have to keep up with the times or you're going to get passed by. I think it'll be really helpful."

"I got to meet a couple of [the new trainers and doctors]. Whatever is going to help the team," Rendon said. "If that means we're going to have less injuries, then I'm all for it. That's when we play at our best, when we have all of our guys on the field and we can be a big threat."

"It's going to be pretty interesting," Werth said. "They're doing some forward-thinking stuff, some analytical stuff that hasn't really been done before in baseball. I think it's been done in other sports, but we're kind of leading the way in that. It's exciting."

"Staying healthy is the most important thing. Everybody wants to play a lot," Ramos said. "I want to stay healthy and be behind the plate for a long time."

For more on the program and how it works, read our breakdown from last month.

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Turner, Adams power Nats over Giants to end 4-game skid

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Turner, Adams power Nats over Giants to end 4-game skid

SAN FRANCISCO -- Trea Turner got five hits, Matt Adams homered and drove in six runs, and the Washington Nationals broke out of their offensive funk in a big way, routing the San Francisco Giants 15-2 Wednesday to end a four-game losing streak.

The Nationals had totaled just eight runs during their skid. Andrew Stevenson had two doubles, two singles and four RBIs as Washington set season highs for runs and hits (18).

Manager Dave Martinez's ballclub has been stunted by a rash of injuries this season but salvaged the final game of the three-game series at AT&T Park series to end a rough 4-5 road trip. Max Scherzer (5-1) did his part, striking out 10 in six innings.

Turner came into the game batting .232, and the leadoff man's slow start had contributed to the Nationals' struggles. He raised his batting average 35 points, tying a career high for hits in a game. He also scored twice, drove in two runs and stole his 10th base this season.

Adams matched his career best for RBIs. He singled as part of a three-run first, put the Nationals up 6-1 with a three-run homer off Jeff Samardzija (1-1) in the fourth and added a two-run single in the eighth.

The Nationals scored 14 of their 15 runs with two outs.

Scherzer earned his fourth consecutive win, all of them coming after a Washington loss. He allowed two runs and five hits, and reached double figures in strikeouts for the fourth time in six starts this season.

Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval each two hits apiece for the Giants.

Samardzija labored through a 30-pitch first inning and was done after retiring 11 batters. He gave up six runs on eight hits with three walks.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman and 2B Howie Kendrick were given the day off.

Giants: Mac Williamson was a late scratch because of neck stiffness, one day after stumbling over the bullpen pitching mound and crashing into a low fence while chasing a foul ball. ... RHP Chris Stratton was placed on the paternity list. ... RHP Roberto Gomez was called up from Triple-A Sacramento.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 2.97 ERA) pitches against the Diamondbacks on Friday in Washington. He has yielded six earned runs and three homers over his last 13 innings.

Giants: LHP Derek Holland (0-3, 4.98) faces the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opener of a four-game series at AT&T Park on Friday night. Holland is winless in two career starts against the Dodgers.

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Williamson homers again, Giants top Nationals 4-3

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Williamson homers again, Giants top Nationals 4-3

SAN FRANCISCO -- Mac Williamson had to dust himself off after crashing into a low padded wall near the stands in left field while chasing a foul ball.

More frustrated than hurt, Williamson took it out on Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark a few moments later after undergoing a series of concussion tests in the dugout.

Williamson homered for the second straight night and third in five games, hitting a tiebreaking shot in the sixth inning to lead San Francisco to a 4-3 victory over Washington on Tuesday night.

"I got pretty lucky," Williamson said. "I felt fine then and I feel fine now. I'm sure once the adrenalin wears off later tonight, tomorrow we'll see how the body feels. I'm sure I'll be a little sore."

Brandon Belt hit his fifth home run in six games, Joe Panik added three hits and scored twice, and the Giants won their third straight and fourth in the last five.

One night after hitting a 464-foot homer in the series opener, Williamson hit a first-pitch solo shot to center off Roark with two outs in the sixth inning that bounced off the top of the wall and broke a 3-all tie. It wasn't as far as Monday's clout -- this one went 423 feet -- but was just as pivotal for the Giants.

"We've talked about what a shot in the arm he's been and he's more than that," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He came through again tonight. Good for him because he's worked hard at it."

Williamson's deciding home run came one inning after he stumbled over the bullpen mound in foul territory and crashed into a low wall near the stands while trying to chase down Bryce Harper's foul ball. Williamson stayed down briefly as team trainers rushed out before getting to his feet.

"I tried to roll my neck a little bit and my head down a little bit when I started going down," Williamson said. "I think that helped break my fall. I was just a little frustrated I didn't come up with the play. I had it in my glove and it came out."

Belt hit a two-run shot off Roark (1-2) in the third.

Michael Taylor had a three-run homer for Washington, which has lost four straight and 14 of 20 since opening the season 4-0.

"It seems like that sixth inning's been biting us in the rear as of late," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "We're swinging the bats. We just can't get the big hit with people on base."

Reyes Moronta (1-0) retired six batters for his first career win. Sam Dyson pitched one inning and Hunter Strickland worked the ninth for his fifth save.

The Giants got a run off Roark in the first but left the bases loaded when Evan Longoria struck out looking to end the inning. Belt homered on a 3-2 pitch from Roark in the second to make it 3-0.

Washington tied it on Taylor's three-run homer off starter Ty Blach in the third. Ryan Zimmerman walked and Moises Sierra singled before Taylor's deep drive into the right-field stands.

Roark went into the game 6-0 in seven career games against San Francisco but couldn't find a rhythm this time. He allowed four runs on six hits, walked two and hit a batter and threw a pair of wild pitches.

WHERE DID IT GO?

Panik hit a soft comebacker to Roark in the fifth that glanced off the pitcher's glove then bounced up on the top of his cap before falling to the turf. Roark initially couldn't locate the ball but found it in time to throw to first for the out.

AILING BLACH

Blach allowed three runs and four hits in five innings. After the game, Bochy said the left-hander suffered from food poisoning last week and was given an IV on Monday. "That was a really gutty effort that he gave us," Bochy said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: Placed RHP Shawn Kelley on the 10-disabled list with ulnar nerve irritation in his right elbow. Infielder/outfielder Matt Reynolds was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse and outfielder Rafael Bautista and infielder Adrian Sanchez were called up.

UP NEXT

Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (4-1, 1.36 ERA) and Giants RHP Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 0.00) take to the mound for the series finale at AT&T Park on Wednesday. Samardzija is making his second start after beginning the season on the disabled list.