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Updated: Nats call up top prospect Trea Turner

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Updated: Nats call up top prospect Trea Turner

[Updated: 5:50 p.m.]

Needing a right-handed bat for their bench and a boost for the pennant race, the Nationals have called up top prospect Trea Turner on the first day of a long homestand.

Bench player Tyler Moore was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left ankle sprain as the corresponding move. The team moved reliever Aaron Barrett (right elbow strain) to the 60-day DL to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

Turner, 22, is considered the top position player prospect in the organization. A first round pick in 2014, the shortstop joined the Nationals this past offseason in a trade with the San Diego Padres.

Turner received the unexpected news on Thursday when Syracuse Chiefs manager Billy Gardner called him. Turner, however, didn't pick up the first time as he didn't recognize the number - he had not saved it in his phone - and he was in the middle of a movie.

Turner was with his teammates at a theater on their off-day watching the movie 'Straight Outta Compton.' Who knew the nickname 'Trea Day' that Nats fans had used all season would be so prescient?

When Gardner called a second time, Turner walked outside to pick it up.

"He actually just asked me if I've ever been to Washington, D.C. before and let me know I was going back there because I had visited once when I was younger. We were watching the new movie 'Straight Outta Compton.' It was actually a very good movie, but it made it a little bit better getting that news," he said.

Turner began the season in the Padres' organization before jumping to the Nationals in June due to a now-extinct rule that prevented players from getting traded within a year after they were drafted. Despite all of that, he has thrived this season with a .322 average, eight homers and 54 RBI in 116 total minor league games. 

After leaving Double-A San Antonio, a Padres affiliate, Turner joined the Double-A Harrisburg Senators and hit .359 in 10 games. The Nats then promoted him to Triple-A Syracuse where he batted .314 with three homers, 15 RBI, 31 runs and 14 steals in 48 games.

Now he is in the majors at just 22 years old.

"The last 24 hours have been wild, obviously. Getting the news and having to tell my parents, which was obviously a great feeling. My girlfriend and all that. It's been wild. Dream come true and I'm just trying to enjoy every moment of it," he said.

Turner had worked exclusively at shortstop in his minor league career until this week when the Nats played him twice at second base. He now joins a Nationals roster with a crowded group of infielders that already includes Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Yunel Escobar and Anthony Rendon.

Turner doesn't know yet what his role will be with the Nats, but is prepared for whatever they ask.

"They just told me to get ready and kind of approach every game like I would anywhere else. I'm just trying to do whatever I can, whatever they need me to. If it's pinch-running, defense, it doesn't matter to me. If I get a start here and there, that's alright. Whatever they need me to," he said.

“We’re not expecting to be the savior of the offense or the savior of the ball club," GM Mike Rizzo said. "We just want him to do what he does his best, add his skill set to Matt Williams’ arsenal of tools to win baseball games.”

Turner has very little experience playing second base, but did take grounders on the field before Friday's game to practice. Both he and the Nats feel comfortable with him playing at second if the situation arises.

"It's different," he said. "But I trust myself to do any of it; outfield, infield, whatever. You gotta have confidence in it and, like I said, you gotta prepare and get out there and make sure you're ready for the moment. I'll try to be out there and work on it as much as I can."

Ian Desmond, in particular, could be most affected in the long-term by Turner's presence on the roster. Desmond is in the final year of his contract and Turner is projected as the future shortstop in the event the veteran leaves in free agency.

Desmond was asked about that dynamic on Friday and said he wishes Turner nothing but the best.

"Being a middle infielder, it’s like a fraternity so anytime another guy gets called up you’re obviously happy for him," he said. "This is about winning right now. There’s no personal agendas here. This is about the Nationals and getting Ws and that’s got to be our focus."

Turner said a host of his closest friends and family members will travel to Washington in anticipation of his MLB debut. 

"I actually have a lot of people, a lot more than I thought. A lot of friends, college coach, parents, girlfriend, maybe some aunts and uncles. I'm not even sure right now, but a lot of people are coming. It makes me feel good because they're probably just as excited as I am and they've always wanted to experience this with me, so I'm glad they get the chance," he said.

The Nationals acquired Turner in a three-team deal that sent outfielder Steven Souza, Jr. to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Nats also received starting pitcher Joe Ross in the Dec. 19 trade.

With Ross already finding success in the majors, and with Turner now set to debut, the trade looks very good for the Nationals in retrospect.

"A very good trade for us," Matt Williams said. "Key guys in key positions potentially for us that help us win. Those are very talented young men."

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Nats give up monster HR, drop series-opener with Giants

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USA TODAY Sports

Nats give up monster HR, drop series-opener with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO  -- Mac Williamson hit a two-run homer in the sixth to lead the Giants past the Washington Nationals 4-2 on Monday night.

Chris Stratton (2-1) struck out five over 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and four hits.

Williamson, playing his first home game at AT&T Park this season after being called up during the recent road trip, connected with a deep drive to right-center off Shawn Kelley after he relieved starter Gio Gonzalez (2-2). Gonzalez walked Brandon Belt to end his day before Williamson crushed the first pitch he saw from Kelley.

The 464-foot shot by Williamson is the furthest homer by the Giants this year, topping his previous 434-foot homer Friday after he was promoted to face the Angels in Anaheim. Earlier Monday, Williamson drove in his team's initial run on a fielder's choice in the fourth.

Only three home runs have travelled further in 2018, according to MLB StatCast: Franchy Cordero (489), Avisail Garcia (481) and Marcell Ozuna (479)

San Francisco kicked off a 10-game homestand by winning back-to-back games for only the second time this season and first since April 4-7. The Giants were coming off their first series victory of the season against the Angels.

The Nationals' runs came on a pair of sacrifice flies, by Howie Kendrick in the third and pinch-hitter Andrew Stevenson in the seventh.

Gonzalez allowed three runs and four hits, struck out four and walked three in five innings.

In his only other start against Washington, Stratton threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts last Aug. 13.

Hunter Strickland, who brawled with Bryce Harper during Washington's last visit to AT&T Park in late May 2017, finished for his fourth save in six chances. Harper didn't bat in the ninth.

NATS TRADE COLE

Washington traded right-hander A.J. Cole to the New York Yankees for cash. The 26-year-old Cole was 1-1 with a 13.06 ERA in four games for the Nationals and was designated for assignment last week.

BAKER REUNION

Ex-Nationals manager Dusty Baker, who guided Washington to back-to-back NL East titles before his firing after last season, visited the ballpark to see his former club.

Did he plan the visit in advance?

"Maybe," Baker said, grinning.

Nats pitcher Stephen Strasburg hustled out to give Baker a big hug behind the batting cage.

"What's up Dusty, how you doing?" Strasburg said.

Baker also visited with third base coach Bob Henley, the loan holdover from his coaching staff.

Baker is now working in an advisory role to Giants CEO Larry Baer while getting to watch son, Darren, play his freshman college season at California in Berkeley.

"I am good," Baker said. "How bad can it be between Cal, San Francisco and Sacramento?"

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: OF Adam Eaton, on the disabled list retroactive to April 9 with a bone bruise in his left ankle, won't be rushed back until he is completely pain-free. "When you see him in the lineup he'll be ready," manager Dave Martinez said. "He's coming along. When we get him back this time we don't want any issues." ... OF Brian Goodwin remains in Florida with pain in his bruised left wrist.

Giants: LHP Will Smith is eagerly anticipating his return from Tommy John surgery that cost him all of last season, and he could come off the DL as soon as Tuesday. He pitched twice for Class-A San Jose and three times so far for Triple-A Sacramento. He is scheduled to throw consecutive days for Sacramento on Wednesday and Thursday then another short outing Sunday. "We're close. We're getting there," Smith said, noting it will be "awesome. I'm ready to go." ... RHP closer Mark Melancon (flexor strain in pitching elbow) is scheduled to play catch during Thursday's off day. There is no timetable for his return, manager Bruce Bochy said. ... LF Hunter Pence (sprained right thumb) did some hitting and is scheduled for early batting practice Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Giants lefty Ty Blach (1-3, 4.10 ERA) will face the Nationals for the first time in his career when he pitches the middle game of the series opposite right-hander Tanner Roark (1-1, 3.24).

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Bryce Harper, broken bats, and bobbleheads: a true trifecta

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Bryce Harper, broken bats, and bobbleheads: a true trifecta

Bryce Harper can do no wrong.

Last week in a win over the New York Mets, Bryce Harper, in super-human fashion, managed to shatter his bat while still hitting a home run.

It was as incredible as you think it is. Click the link in the line above here if you don't believe us. 

In what was already a one-of-one scenario, the cherry on top has been officially added: a Bryce Harper, broken-bat bobblehead.

The company that will be producing the legendary figurines is Sports Fan Island, who have gotten the bobbleheads licensed through both the MLB and the MLBPA.

The details on the bobblehead speak for themselves, from the intricacy of the broken bat, to the flames surrounding home plate under Harper.  

Despite the fact that the bobbleheads don't officially ship until July, fans can begin to pre-order this piece of historic memorabilia for $39.99, so you may want to grab them while they're still hot. 

RELATED: 2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS- APRIL UPDATE