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Strasburg departs in 2nd inning with new ailment

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Strasburg departs in 2nd inning with new ailment

Stephen Strasburg’s latest abbreviated start was the result of a new (though potentially related) physical ailment to the upper right back discomfort that plagued him earlier this month: Tightness in his left trapezius muscle.

Manager Matt Williams revealed this newest injury to reporters in Cincinnati following the Nationals’ 5-2 loss Friday night, but offered no definitive plan moving forward.

“We don’t know at this point,” Williams said. “We’ll have to see how he is tomorrow and evaluate. I don’t know, it’s the other side. We’ll see what he shows up with tomorrow.”

Strasburg totaled only 16 pitches at Great American Ball Park before departing with head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz, clearly in discomfort as he threw in the bottom of the second inning. He faced five batters in total, giving up an opposite-field solo homer to Joey Votto and a single to Todd Frazier in the first inning, then walking Brayan Peña on five pitches to open the second.

During that Peña at-bat, Strasburg’s mechanics looked out of whack. He fell off the mound well more to the left than normal, then tried to maneuver his neck and shoulders after multiple pitches.

“He came out of the bullpen good,” Williams said. “He went through the first inning good. Joey hit a 97 mph fastball down and in for a homer, and it was a pretty good pitch. But then the second inning, he went out there and it started to tighten up on him.”

This ailment comes 24 days after Strasburg departed a start against the Marlins with discomfort under his right shoulder blade.

“This is new,” Williams said. “It’s new. It’s left side. It’s in his neck. So we’ll have to address it. Nothing as of right now until tomorrow.”

Whether the two ailments are connected or not, this much is obvious: Strasburg has not been himself for a good month. He has now failed to complete the fourth inning in four of his last five starts, giving up 20 runs (18 earned) and 26 hits in only 16 innings.

Overall, Strasburg now has a 6.55 ERA in 10 starts.

MORE NATIONALS: Strasburg leaves after 16 pitches, Reds beat Nationals 5-2

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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