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Rizzo happy to bring reliever Sean Burnett back to Nats


Rizzo happy to bring reliever Sean Burnett back to Nats

The Nationals' bullpen may have been their biggest weakness in 2015, but it hasn't always been that way. In 2012, when they led the majors with 98 wins and won the NL East, it was one of their biggest strengths. They had balance, depth and firepower top to bottom in what amounted to one of the game's best relief units.

Sean Burnett was a big part of that. A lefty with experience and a deceptive release point, Burnett thrived with the Nationals for four seasons. But in 2012 he was particularly effective, when he held a 2.38 ERA in 70 appearances and pitched well down the stretch of a pennant race. That earned him a two-year free agent contract with the Los Angeles Angels.

In the time since, Burnett has yet to regain the form he had in 2012 with the Nats. Elbow injuries forced him to have Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career in May of 2014.

The Nationals, though, are giving Burnett a chance for a comeback. They signed him to a minor league deal this week with hope the 33-year-old veteran can be a diamond in the rough.

"We took a low-risk opportunity to see what we have in Sean Burnett," GM Mike Rizzo said. "Sean Burnett had a couple of really harsh arm injuries since he left us. He pitched great for us. We loved the personality, we loved the stuff. He was a terrific piece of our bullpen."

Rizzo met with Burnett late last season at Marlins Park when the Nationals were playing in Miami.

"I saw him last year when we were playing in Miami. He and I got together and then we had a scout go out there and see how he was rehabbing. He looked like he was throwing the ball free and easy. The surgery went well, the Tommy John went well. He's been through that before so he knows how to rehab that," he said.

Burnett had a 2.81 ERA in 245 appearances with the Nats from 2009 through 2012. He has only appeared in 16 total games since 2012, having missed the entire 2015 season. Though it is a 'low-risk' move, it is still a risk. But Rizzo is confident in what Burnett brings to the table as a guy trying to revive his career.

"We know what the guy is going to give us on the mound and that's 100 percent. We'll see where he's at physically because if he's anywhere near the Sean Burnett that we had physically, then we know what we have character-wise and mentally. He's as good as it gets," he said.

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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.