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Span, Escobar exit game vs. Reds with apparent injuries

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Span, Escobar exit game vs. Reds with apparent injuries

It has become an all-too-familiar scene for the Nationals, a player leaving a game early with an apparent injury. And when it happened twice on Monday night, to two of the club’s most-important and most-productive veterans, it could only leave everyone in the organization hoping neither Denard Span nor Yunel Escobar was seriously hurt.

The initial indications were that both players avoided any major injuries. Span departed in the third inning after a recurrence of the back spasms that have plagued him over the last month, while Escobar left in the fifth inning with tightness in his left hamstring (a new ailment).

Manager Matt Williams wouldn’t offer much of a prognosis for either player moving forward.

“It’s too early to speculate,” Williams said.

This much is certain: The Nationals sorely missed both Span and Escobar during Monday night’s 3-2 loss to the Reds. They managed only five total hits in the game, two of which came via those two injured veterans atop their lineup.

Escobar and Span entered the day as the NL’s sixth- and eighth-ranked hitters, sporting .314 and .305 batting averages, respectively. Their absences, along with the injuries that already landed Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth on the disabled list, left the Nationals a fraction of their true selves for most of Monday’s game.

Those remaining healthy players are trying not to use the injuries as an excuse for anything.

“There’s been a few hiccups this year with injuries, and that’s always demoralizing,” said right-hander Doug Fister, who spent a month on the DL himself with forearm tightness. “But it’s been, I don’t want to say good for the guys stepping in and filling in roles. But we’re playing OK baseball. We’re playing together and making things work. We’re without some of our top guys. But you know what? Guys are going in there and playing hard, and that’s what we need to do. Unfortunately we didn’t have Denard and Yuni tonight. Hopefully they’re back tomorrow. I’m not sure what any cases are, but we want them healthy and ready.”

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It wasn’t clear immediately whether Span or Escobar would be available for Tuesday night’s game, but if the events of recent weeks are any indication, Span would be more likely to return to play than Escobar.

Span (who left the clubhouse before reporters were let in following Monday’s loss) has been dealing with back spasms since June 7, when he first departed a game feeling discomfort. In the month since, he has either been out of the lineup or pulled early due to back problems, on seven separate occasions.

The Nationals have yet to find a solution to the recurring problem.

“We’ve changed programs,” Williams said. “He’s strengthening, he’s stretching, the trainers are doing everything they can possibly do. We’ll continue to monitor, continue to do what we’re doing. Some days it’s great, some days it just pops up on him.”

Escobar, meanwhile, has suffered five minor injuries so far this season, each time missing either one or two games, but never more. The veteran infielder declined to speak to reporters through a team spokesperson, but a source who spoke to him said he expects to miss “a couple days.”

Williams said Escobar hurt himself running out an infield single in the bottom of the third. He remained in the game two more innings before being lifted for pinch-hitter Dan Uggla in the fifth.

With the season now past the midway point, only two members of the Nationals’ projected Opening Day lineup haven’t been forced to miss at least one game due to injury: Shortstop Ian Desmond and catcher Wilson Ramos. Despite that, the Nats entered play Monday 10 games over the .500 mark, holding a season-high 4 1/2-game lead in the NL East.

“It’s a testament to all 25 guys out there,” said reliever Casey Janssen, who missed two games with shoulder inflammation. “We’re playing pretty good despite all the injuries. Unfortunate situations that we put ourselves into, but it says a lot about the guys in this locker room picking each other up. For the most part, we’ve been in every game. So that’s a pretty good sign.”

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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.

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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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