Quick Links

Veterans Johnson, Burnett returning to Nats


Veterans Johnson, Burnett returning to Nats

Veterans Reed Johnson and Sean Burnett, whose careers have been derailed by injuries, will get another shot with the Nationals in 2016 after agreeing Monday to minor-league contracts.

Johnson played for the Nationals this season, though he missed five months with a torn tendon in his foot. Burnett last pitched in Washington in 2012 but has made only 16 big-league appearances since after suffering an elbow injury that required the second Tommy John surgery of his career.

Burnett, 33, was a key member of the Nationals’ division-winning bullpen in 2012 and posted a 2.81 ERA in 245 relief appearances over four seasons with the organization. The reliable and durable lefty wound up signing a 2-year, $9.5 million contract with the Angels but immediately dealt with elbow trouble and never regained his form.

Burnett made only 13 appearances for the Angels in 2013, then was shut down again in 2014 after only three appearances. He was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament and had Tommy John surgery in May 2014, the same procedure that initially disrupted his career with the Pirates in 2005.

Burnett sat out the entire 2015 season, still recovering from the surgery. A South Florida native, he stopped by Marlins Park in April to visit the Nationals when they were in town and spoke hopefully about his chance of returning to the majors again. He’ll get a shot as a spring training invitee with his former club, which could need another left-hander in its bullpen after losing veteran Matt Thornton to free agency this winter.

Johnson, who turns 39 next month, will hope to resurrect his career after missing the majority of the 2015 season. Signed by the Nationals during the final week of spring training after he was released by the Marlins, the outfielder made the Opening Day roster but landed on the disabled list after injuring his left foot during the club’s dramatic, 13-12 victory in Atlanta on April 28.

Johnson required surgery to repair a torn tendon and wasn’t healthy enough to play again until late September. The Nationals did activate him off the DL and gave him five plate appearances down the stretch; he went 1-for-4 with a sacrifice fly.

At the time, the 13-year veteran was adamant his career wasn’t finished.

“There is no doubt in my mind that I want to play next year,” he said on Sept. 26. “There’s a desire. If there was no desire and I didn’t want to play baseball anymore, then it’d be different. But I have that and I want to come back. I not only want to show that I can play, but I enjoy the game.”

Quick Links

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. 


Quick Links

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.