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Scherzer's no-no and Tabata's HBP from Pirates' perspective

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Scherzer's no-no and Tabata's HBP from Pirates' perspective

Max Scherzer was one strike away on Saturday afternoon from becoming just the 24th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to throw a perfect game. One strike was all he needed before an inside slider didn't break and instead bounced of the elbow of a pinch-hitting Jose Tabata.

Tabata came off the Pirates' bench to work a 2-2 count by fouling off five balls in an eight-pitch at-bat. Then Scherzer hit him and lost his perfect game before retiring the very next batter to secure his first no-hitter.

A no-hitter is a fantastic accomplishment and it had only been done once before in Nationals' history. But a perfect game is a perfect game, and whether Tabata tried hard enough to elude the inside pitch became a point of contention afterwards.

Tabata didn't bite when asked if he leaned into the pitch, and described it as just a slider that simply didn't break.

"When I see that, I was like 'wow,'" he said. "It got me in the elbow. I had a protector on the elbow. I know he tried to throw me a slider or something inside. But the slider was not broken, there was no break on it. It was right there and he got me."

Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos had as good a view as anybody on the play and saw replays afterwards in the clubhouse. He thought Tabata's elbow was in the strike zone. Rule 6.08 in the MLB rulebook states that a player must make an honest effort to avoid a pitch to be awarded a base after getting hit.

"That ball was a little bit in the strike zone, that's what I saw in the videos," Ramos said. "But that happens in baseball. [Scherzer] never put his head down. He got mad in that moment, but right away just get the ball back to him and he attacked the next hitter really well. That was an amazing job for him. All the credit for him."

Manager Matt Williams said he didn't argue the call in part due to Scherzer still carrying a no-hitter.

"I think that's irrelevant at this point. The last thing I'm going to do is walk on the field and mess up Max's rhythm. That'd be a crying shame. I ain't doing that," he said.

Scherzer became just the second pitcher ever to lose a perfect game 8 2/3 innings into his start on a HBP. The last time that happened was 1908. He is just the third pitcher in MLB history to lose a a perfect game after 26 outs and still complete a no-hitter. The last time that happened was 1972.

What happened on Saturday in the Nats' 6-0 win was nothing short of extraordinary, even though he fell short of perfection. Pirates players and manager Clint Hurdle couldn't help but tip their cap.

"You need to find it in your baseball heart to appreciate that performance," Hurdle said. "We didn't feel like the walk was in play today with the way he was throwing."

"Unfortunately we had to see that happen against us today, but I'm just happy for him," Pirates starter Francisco Liriano said. "I'm just happy for him. That's not easy to do. There's a lot of pressure for him."

"It was just one of those things where he had everything going for him," shortstop Jordy Mercer said. "He was 93-95 early and then 96-98 late. Just good stuff."

Despite breaking up Scherzer's perfect game, Tabata was still able to appreciate Scherzer's accomplishment:

"Baseball, everything happens. I can say good for him. He got a no-no. That's all I can say."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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