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Storen begins rehab Thursday

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Storen begins rehab Thursday

Drew Storen is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Potomac on Thursday, putting the Nationals reliever on track to come off the disabled list for the club's first game after next week's All-Star break.

Storen (out since spring training with a bone spur in his elbow) will make four rehab appearances, manager Davey Johnson said, pitching every other day. That would make his final outing July 11 and leave him available to appear out of the Nationals' bullpen July 13 in Miami.

"That's the plan," Johnson said. "I think that would be enough."

The Nationals also expect to have Henry Rodriguez back in a matter of days. The right-hander, on the DL with a finger strain, has made seven rehab appearances for Class AA Harrisburg and Class AAA Syracuse and has yet to allow a hit (though he has walked five batters).

The return of both Storen and Rodriguez will force the Nationals to clear two spots in their bullpen, and one of those spots is likely the one currently held by Chien-Ming Wang. The veteran right-hander has not adapted well to a long relief role, and now the club believes he may not be 100 percent healthy.

Wang's personal trainer, who has been traveling with the club for the last week, believes he's been unable to raise his arm to a proper angle to throw his sinker because of a problem with his hip.

"She thinks that he's some kind of out of whack, because he's not able to get in the position he needs to be where he's on top," Johnson said. "So she's been putting him through exercises and stuff to try to get his mechanics better. But that's a work in progress."

It's possible the Nationals would determine Wang needs to be placed back on the DL.

Meanwhile, bench players Chad Tracy (groin) and Xavier Nady (wrist) might also begin rehab assignments Thursday at Potomac.

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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