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Tanaka struggles as Nats rout Yankees, 13-0


Tanaka struggles as Nats rout Yankees, 13-0


VIERA, Fla. (AP) -- Masahiro Tanaka was solid in his first three spring training starts. The New York Yankees right-hander got roughed up in his latest outing.

Tanaka allowed seven runs and the Washington Nationals rolled to a 13-0 win Wednesday night.

Tanaka had allowed only seven hits and two earned runs entering the game, but allowed a solo home run to Stephen Drew and a two-run homer to Wilson Ramos in a six-run third inning. He had thrown a total of seven innings in his previous three starts, but lasted four innings Wednesday, giving up nine hits while striking out three.

"He threw a few good splits, but his stuff just wasn't sharp," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Given that Tanaka has only one more spring training start before the regular season - where he is likely to be New York's opening day pitcher - Girardi said Wednesday's outing was a little bit of a concern.

"You want to get it going," Girardi said. "His next start is obviously really important because you want players to feel good about themselves going into the season.

"He's got a big week of work ahead of him."

Speaking through an interpreter, Tanaka said his pitches were flat and he wasn't able to keep them down in the zone against a stacked Nationals lineup.

"Obviously, the results are not there," Tanaka said. "I think the good part is the body is healthy. I feel good. Other than that, I need to try to get some more results."

Anthony Rendon went 3 for 3 with a pair of doubles and an RBI for Washington.


Nationals: Stephen Strasburg had his best outing of the spring, tossing five scoreless innings. He allowed six hits, but struck out nine while throwing just 68 pitches.

"It's progress," Strasburg said. "The changeup was a lot better today. I feel like I was finishing the pitch better and not yanking it as many times. My curveball felt good and fastball command, always going to work on that."


Yankees: OF Jacoby Ellsbury (wrist) hit off a tee Wednesday in Tampa and will take batting practice Thursday before the team's game against Tampa Bay. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Ellsbury could be back in the lineup when New York hosts the Rays.


The Nationals reassigned RHP Lucas Giolito to minor league camp before Wednesday's game, but there's no question the team's top prospect made an impression in his first big league camp.

"I think he's close to being big-league ready," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. "He has to work on some of the small nuances of pitching."


Nationals manager Dusty Baker said shortstop Danny Espinsoa won't play in any more spring training games at Space Coast Stadium. Instead, he will play on the minor league side and during away games.

"He doesn't see the ball well here," Baker said.

Espinosa was hit by a pitch on his right hand Sunday, but Baker said there are no injury concerns. Espinosa is hitting just .120 (3 for 25) this spring, including 0 for 12 at Space Coast Stadium.


Yankees: CC Sabathia gets the ball as the Yankees host the Tampa Bay Rays in a 6:35 p.m. game.

Nationals: Max Scherzer makes his fourth start of the spring as Washington hosts Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals.

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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.