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A Bryce-less October has Nationals fans thrilled

A Bryce-less October has Nationals fans thrilled

It seems like forever ago, Nationals fans were saying goodbye to Bryce Harper and deciding what to do with his jersey.

Fans got creative with his name, changed his number or even donated his jersey away.

But Postseason baseball requires a new level of trolling. 

Nationals fans made some epic changes to their jerseys. Noting that this was the closest that Harper would get to October baseball. 

The former National is still on everyone's brain, but that does not mean he is missed.

When asked pre-game if the Nationals are better off with out Harper, Manager Davey Martinez noted that the team is playing together. "What I believe in is it takes more than one person to win the championship, and that's been the message since Spring Training."

Game 3 and the remainder of the NLCS will be broadcasted on TBS... in case a certain someone wanted to tune in. 

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Carter Kieboom is now focused on keeping his job

Carter Kieboom is now focused on keeping his job

Carter Kieboom was back in a batter’s box Wednesday to face Max Scherzer. He faced him once before, back at spring training in 2017, and struck out. How did it go Wednesday?

“Same outcome,” Kieboom said with a smile.

He’s able to laugh in the moment as the Major League Baseball season resumes. Kieboom is the starting third baseman for the defending World Series champions. Being granted the position is the first step in the 22-year-old’s full-time work in Major League Baseball. He was an injury replacement at shortstop for an 11-game spell last season. This year, he’s mandated with taking over the spot vacated when a 2019 MVP finalist moved on.

In spring training, the third base job was part of a competition between Kieboom and Asdrúbal Cabrera. Martinez gave the job to Kieboom to start “Summer Camp.” When he received the news, Kieboom had a singular thought: “Keep the job.”

RELATED: TREA TURNER CALLS 2020 SEASON A 'FLUID SITUATION'

To do so, all aspects of his game at the major-league level need to improve. That, of course, is a general expectation of anyone entering their first starting position in the big leagues. Kieboom’s small, bumpy, sample size of work from last season will either end up harbinger or outlier. The Nationals suspect it’s the latter.

Primary among his development is his defense. In particular, his footwork at third base. Kieboom practiced individually at home from mid-March, when spring training ended, until work in Washington resumed this week. His preference would have been to be playing actual games, but he thinks the time to relentlessly drill could end up being beneficial.

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"I totally agree with that,” Kieboom said. “I think it's very easy to kind of throw the towel in and get frustrated that you're so close to a season and it all gets washed away the way it did. It kind of was a blessing in disguise because I found some things I was doing in spring training I didn't really care for from the offensive side and the defensive side. I can continue to work on those. Footwork, I have to keep working on my footwork. It bought me some more time to keep working on that, hone that craft. And offensively the same thing, I got to make some adjustments and kind of go back to the drawing board at home and work on those things."

His time now is limited. The season is two weeks away. The Nationals lost their Monday workout window. They were able to face live pitching Wednesday. Thursday will be a quiet day. Friday will resume full workouts. Next Monday, practices will shift to the evenings, one more small step toward emulating the rapidly-approaching season.

Then, eventually on July 23, Carter Kieboom will be standing at third base.

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Trea Turner calls 2020 MLB season a 'fluid situation' but never considered sitting out

Trea Turner calls 2020 MLB season a 'fluid situation' but never considered sitting out

WASHINGTON -- Trea Turner was clad in his cold-weather gear despite the temperature creeping toward 90 degrees. He often starts the season in the Spider-Man style getup, hood tight to his head and up over his mouth and ears. It’s typically used as protection from the chill of Opening Day. Turner does not like the cold.

Wearing it Tuesday was more of a test and sign. Players are not mandated to wear masks on the field. Some do, some do not. Turner said he probably won’t wear the ensemble during the season, but was checking on it during what resembled the team’s first full practice of Summer Camp. That was the test. Seeing him in the gear was a sign of how much players are feeling out the first portions of Major League Baseball’s reboot.

"For me I try to be positive,” Turner said. “There's gonna be bumps in the road and I've always said, control what you can control. We've got a great medical staff in place and what they say goes. They're looking out for our best interests and I trust them. ...But we're gonna have a little bit of hiccups along the way. As long as everyone stays safe and abides by rules I think we can get through a lot of it. Hopefully testing gets turned around a little quicker and they work those things out, because I think that's very important, maybe the most important thing, is to find out those results as quickly as possible.”

RELATED: SOTO REPORTEDLY IN ISOLATION AFTER CONTACT WITH TEAMMATE WHO HAS COVID-19

Turner spent the time between baseball’s initial shutdown and its attempted return at his house in Florida with his wife, Kristen Harabedian. He, like everyone else, had the option not to play this year if he felt unsafe. He never considered it.

“I always was leaning toward playing,” Turner said. “But that's a fluid question. You know, if it's going bad, you obviously can take all things into consideration and whatnot. But I think if we continue to do what we've done so far in these first three days then it's been the right decision, at least for me, to play.”

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Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross, two players Turner has now been around for years, chose not to play.

“Everyone's got their own situation,” Turner said. “They've got families. They come from different backgrounds. We'll support each and everybody in their decision whether to play or not to play. Those are guys I have a lot of respect for and I'm happy for them.

“It's a hard decision. It's not easy to choose to play or to not play, because you don't know what somebody's dealing with, you don't know if they're dealing with something, their family's dealing with something, somebody close to them's dealing with someone, whatever it may be. That's their decision and you've gotta support them in it. I hope those guys are staying safe. We're gonna miss them and hopefully we can play some games, because that's what a lot of us are looking forward to."

The Nationals’ trial run into all of this continued Wednesday with their fifth workout. They are 10 days from their first exhibition game and 15 days from hosting the New York Yankees on national TV to start the season -- if everyone makes it there. As Turner said, everything is a fluid situation, from masks to who will play. And, his voice is now becoming more of a factor: Turner will be the longest-tenured Nationals position player on the field for the first pitch of 2020.

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