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Wang ready to return to Nats


Wang ready to return to Nats

Rehabbing right-hander Chien-Ming Wang threw a bullpen session in front of Nationals coaches today and declared himself ready to rejoin the big-league staff now, though he'll defer to the club's plan to have him make at least one more start for Class AAA Syracuse.

"I'm ready," Wang said through interpreter John Hsu. "But I need to follow the direction from the team."

Out since mid-March with a pulled hamstring, Wang has made four rehab starts at three levels of the Nationals' farm system, capped by Monday's outing at Syracuse in which he pitched into the ninth inning.

Stamina-wise, the veteran hurler believes he's ready to start a big-league game. The Nationals, though, have been trying to delay his return as long as possible and thus delay having to decide which member of their rotation will lose his job as a result.

Manager Davey Johnson said Wang will make another start for Syracuse (Saturday night at Toledo). His 30-day rehab stint must end no later than May 27, so Wang could possibly start one more minor-league game before that.

"I really liked what I'm seeing," said Johnson, who watched Wang's last start on television. "Giving him that other start I think is going to get him a little bit stronger, so when he comes in, he'll come in kind of on an even keel with everybody else. Everybody else in the starting rotation is throwing the heck out of it. There's no real rush to make that change."

Left-hander Ross Detwiler is the most-likely candidate to move from the rotation to the bullpen upon Wang's return, though veteran right-hander Edwin Jackson has pitched in relief before.

Wang understands the effect his activation off the disabled list will have on his teammates.

"It's really tough for me," he said. "All of them and I, we're close. As a teammate, I really don't want to see that kind of situation. But, like I said, I still need to follow the team, no matter what happens. Maybe they want me to be a bullpen guy. That's what I've got to do."

Wang has pitched in relief five times in his career (once a piece in 2005 and 2006, three times in 2009) and said he could do it if asked, though he would need extra time to warm up before entering the game.

Johnson didn't entirely rule out the possibility, but he sounded pretty committed to keeping Wang in a starting role.

"I mean, I love his stuff," the manager said. "He's got a great sinker. I love bringing a sinkerballer into the ballgame. But I look at him as a quality starter."

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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.