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Stephen Strasburg ruled out for NLCS, throws bullpen session

Stephen Strasburg ruled out for NLCS, throws bullpen session

All-Star pitcher Stephen Strasburg will not be ready for the NL Championship Series, if the Nationals are to advance that far, manager Dusty Baker announced on Thursday ahead of Game 5 of the NLDS.

The Nationals previously expressed hope he would be ready. But that was before he hit a roadblock in his recovery.

"[The rehab] is never as fast as you would like. But he won't be available for the next series. It would be a miracle if he did," Baker said.

"You look at the calendar and just the math doesn't work out. He's not stretched out and prepared to take on such an important game," General manager Mike Rizzo said.

Baker and Rizzo confirmed what was suspected by most following Strasburg's recent setback. While throwing a bullpen session to test his right flexor mass strain earlier in the week, Strasburg felt discomfort in his elbow. He was slated to throw 35 pitches, but was stopped at around 30 because of the pain.

Strasburg threw a bullpen session at Nationals Park moments after Baker broke the news. He worked under the watchful eye of pitching coach Mike Maddux.

That is certainly good news. It could mean he will be available if the Nats make it all the way to the World Series. At the very least, it confirms that his setback was not a major one.

Rizzo expressed hope he can still line up for a potential return.

"Nothing's changed. He's still on his return-to-throw program," Rizzo said. "We're trying to build him up to see where he's at. We're certainly not going to rush him into doing something that he's incapable of doing. He is on his return-to-throw program and he's following the protocol that our doctors and trainers gave him."

Strasburg, 28, has been sidelined since Sept. 7 when he suffered the injury during a start against the Atlanta Braves. He underwent an MRI the following day, which determined his flexor strain.

The test confirmed his UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) was intact. Strasburg had the ligament repaired in 2010 when he underwent Tommy Surgery.

[RELATED: Former Nats pitcher Livan Hernandez to throw out Game 5 1st pitch]


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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.