Five weeks after he was fired by the Nationals, Matt Williams is returning to a big-league dugout, and returning to a familiar and comfortable locale.
Williams has accepted an offer to serve as the Diamondbacks' third base coach, according to Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, returning to the same position he held before coming to Washington two years ago.
The 49-year-old didn't need to return to work immediately next season; he was already under contract with the Nationals for 2016 with a $1 million salary. But the Diamondbacks had an opening in his old role once Andy Green was hired as the Padres' new manager and quickly offered it back to the former Arizona infielder, coach and broadcaster.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, who worked as the Diamondbacks' scouting director while Williams was still playing there, hired him as Washington's fifth manager in Oct. 2013. Williams, who had only minimal managerial experience in the Arizona Fall League and an interim stint at Class AA, wound up guiding the Nationals to a 96-win season and a division title, earning NL Manager of the Year honors.
The Nationals picked up Williams' 2016 option at the start of spring training but wound up eating that money when they fired him the day after a disappointing 83-79 season ended. Williams has not spoken publicly since the firing.
Though he's back working for another NL club, Williams won't be reunited with the Nationals for some time. The Diamondbacks aren't scheduled to play the Nats until Aug. 1-3 in Phoenix and don't make their lone 2016 trip to D.C. until Sept. 26-29.
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.
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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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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.