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State of the Nats: Fedde on facing Harper as a kid; Strasburg close?

State of the Nats: Fedde on facing Harper as a kid; Strasburg close?

Team Record: 79-57

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Fedde on facing Harper in Little League - When the Nationals introduced 2014 first round pick Erick Fedde in a press conference after he was signed, Bryce Harper not only showed up to the event but posed for pictures alongside Fedde and Nats brass. There was good reason for that, as Fedde and Harper were teammates at Las Vegas High School long before they became part of the Nats organization.

The two, in fact, go even further back than high school. Fedde and Harper played against each other on club teams as kids. And also in town were Cubs star Kris Bryant - the frontrunner for this year's NL MVP award - and Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo. All four were first round picks in the MLB Draft.

Looking back, it's hard to imagine that much talent all being on one kids' baseball field. Fedde recalled those days with CSN last week.

"It was nice to get a feel for what real talent is like when you're at a younger age," Fedde said. "In high school they would hit just total nukes. You don't see that every day. It was fun growing up around that. It seemed normal, but it really wasn't."

Fedde remembers playing against Gallo and Harper, who were on the same team.

"I think Gallo and Harp were maybe on the Bulldogs team and they were like number one in the nation. They kicked everyone's butt. I was a really late bloomer. I didn't really hit my stride until college," Fedde said.

As most kids do, Fedde and Harper played many positions growing up. Fedde ultimately found his best track to be pitching, while Harper focused on the catcher position before eventually switching to the outfield in the pros. Harper, though, also pitched growing up and Fedde remembers it vividly.

"I remember hitting off Bryce. Oh, he threw so hard when we were little. I just remember sitting in the box. It was like that 'Rookie of the Year' movie when he's standing in the corner of the box, so he doesn't hit you," he joked.

For more on Fedde and his first full season in the pros, click here.

Strasburg close? - It looks like Stephen Strasburg is on track to return to the Nationals on Wednesday when they close a three-game series against the Braves in Washington. Strasburg threw around 50 pitches in a bullpen session on Sunday at Citi Field, manager Dusty Baker told reporters in New York. Strasburg has been out since Aug. 21 with right elbow soreness.

Getting Strasburg back will be huge for the Nats, who have maintained a first-place lead in the NL East despite having issues in their rotation. They have relied on a host of rookies including Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito and A.J. Cole. All three have had their moments, but none of them has been able to produce consistently. Strasburg was the team's best pitcher for much of the season and getting him back to full strength could be a huge determinant to how far they go in the playoffs, if they are fortunate enough to make it there.

NL East Standings

Offensive game of the week: Bryce Harper 9/2 vs. Mets - 2-for-3, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI, SB

Pitching line of the week: Tanner Roark 8/29 vs. Phillies - 7.0 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 5 SO, BB, 100 pitches (63 strikes)

Quote of the Week 

"Mine are usually 'I hope your career ends' or 'I hope you blow out your knee.' Stupid things like that. It's just absurd. Fans are always going to be fans and root for their team. I totally understand that. But, some of the fans, it's just not human. Some of those things you shouldn't be saying. Especially when my back is turned to you. I more than welcome people to talk about me to my face. But if you talk behind my back, that's on you."

- Harper on getting heckled by fans at road ballparks

Tweet (or Instagram) of the Week

Road Ahead

Mon. - 4:05 p.m. vs. Atlanta Braves (Scherzer vs. Weber)
Tue. - 7:05 p.m. vs. Atlanta Braves (Gonzalez vs. Foltynewicz)
Wed. - 7:05 p.m. vs. Atlanta Braves (TBA vs. De La Cruz)
Thu. - 7:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Cole vs. Velasquez)
Fri. - 7:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Roark vs. Thompson)
Sat. - 7:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Scherzer vs. Eickhoff)
Sun. - 7:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Gonzalez vs. Morgan)

[RELATED: Nats players share funniest, most disturbing stories of fan heckling]

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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.

RELATED: 2018 MLB BETTING ODDS

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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.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

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.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE