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Werth breaks through with big hit in Nats win over Marlins

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Werth breaks through with big hit in Nats win over Marlins

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 4-2 win over the Miami Marlins in the series finale at Nationals Park:

How it happened: Jayson Werth was hitless through the Nationals' first three games this season, and with an unusual amount of off-days in between those games, was anxiously waiting his opportunity to finally break through. That moment came in the bottom of the seventh on Sunday, as Werth landed an RBI single to right-center field off former teammate Edwin Jackson, a hit that produced a big RBI in the Nats' 4-2 win over the Miami Marlins. Joe Ross was excellent in his season debut, Bryce Harper had two doubles, Anthony Rendon added three hits and the Nats moved to 3-1 on the season with the Braves up next.

What it means: The Nationals have to come away from this one encouraged by not only Werth getting his first hit of the season, but also Michael Taylor and Clint Robinson, who each had singles. Ross bounced back from a disastrous final spring outing to keep in check a deep and talented Marlins' lineup. The Nationals came away with a series split against a Marlins team that has a chance to surprise in the NL East this season.

Werth comes through: Werth can now breathe a giant sigh of relief. The 36-year-old outfielder went hitless in his first 13 at-bats this season before finally landing one in the bottom of the seventh inning on Sunday. His first hit, though, was a big one as he dropped in a single with the bases loaded against Marlins reliever - and former Nats starter - Jackson. The Marlins, in fact, intentionally walked Daniel Murphy to set up that matchup. Werth came up with one out and the bases loaded and delivered. It helped redeem him from grounding into a forceout with the bases loaded to end the fifth.

Big Boy also pitches in: Manager Dusty Baker gave Ryan Zimmerman the day off in part to get Robinson, whom he has nicknamed 'Big Boy,' some at-bats. The decision paid off, as Robinson singled home two insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh on his first hit of the 2016 season. Robinson only had two at-bats before Sunday's win, but showed why he is an excellent replacement in the event of a Zimmerman day off. His two runs proved pivotal, as closer Jonathan Papelbon allowed a solo homer to Christian Yelich in the ninth, making it a 4-2 game.

Strong debut for Ross: For how bad Ross was in his final spring outing when he gave up eight runs on 12 hits to the Twins, he put that behind him with a convincing season debut on Sunday. Ross went seven innings with just one run allowed on five hits with five strikeouts and two walks. He threw 97 pitches and capped off his afternoon with a nine-pitch seventh inning. The lone run Ross surrendered came in the first inning on a single by Giancarlo Stanton. That brought home Dee Gordon, who tripled, but a subsequent double play by Martin Prado limited the damage. All in all a strong first showing from Ross, whose sinker was particularly sharp.

Harper off to scorching start: It has perhaps gone unnoticed by some given that great things are expected of Harper these days, but the start he is off to this season is something to marvel at. Harper went 2-for-3 on Sunday and is now 5-for-13 on the season with two homers, three RBI, three doubles, five walks and three runs scored. Harper had two doubles in the win and the second was the 100th total for his career. He is also just one homer away from 100 career bombs.

Taylor also finally gets a hit: After leading the Nats in hits during spring training, Taylor found himself in a slump through the team's first three regular season games, going hitless in his first 11 at-bats. That streak ended on Sunday, however, as Taylor singled his second time up, in his 13th at-bat of the year. It was just one hit and that's all Taylor produced on Sunday, but it's a positive sign for a player that Nationals really need to heat up with Ben Revere on the disabled list.

Up next: The Nats continue their homestand with the Atlanta Braves coming to Washington for a four-game series. Max Scherzer (0-0, 2.57) will take the mound with right-hander Bud Norris (0-1, 3.86) as his counterpart.

[RELATED: Mets minority owner & comedian Bill Maher rips Bryce Harper]

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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