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Mike Rizzo wants anonymous Bryce Harper critic to 'put your name on it'

Mike Rizzo wants anonymous Bryce Harper critic to 'put your name on it'

Mike Rizzo is salty.

He said it himself.

On Monday, an article was released by Robert Murray of FRS Baseball sharing several text messages from a top National League executive — who he kept anonymous- strongly proclaiming that Bryce Harper is overrated.

The text messages were as followed:

He’s simply overrated. The good ain’t worth the bad. He’s a losing player. Cares about himself more than the team. If I was in charge and had money, my team would not pursue him. We would use that money to sign 2-3 winning players.

Then a follow-up text message.

He’s a losing player. I would not sign him. I would use that money to sign 2-3 winning players.

But wait, there's more.

If he gets more than 10-years, $300 million, I’d be surprised. I would not give him 10 years period and certainly not at that AAV. He’s just not worth it. He’s a selfish, losing player.

Oh. 

Those are some harsh words for a guy who is leading the National League in home runs with 19. 

As you would expect, word got back to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, and in return, he had some harsh words of his own.

"It pisses me off and I'm not gonna stand idly by and let these clowns make these disparaging remarks about a player they obviously don't know or they wouldn't have made the remarks," Rizzo said Wednesday on 106.7 The Fan's the Sports Junkies, simulcasted on NBC Sports Washington.

"You calling Bryce Harper a loser when he's got the resume of one of the great players of all time at age 25, it shows your lack of knowledge of the subject matter. And also how cowardly are you to hide behind some anonymous quote? So yeah, I was salty." 

Salty enough that if Rizzo knew who this anonymous executive was, he would be receiving a phone call from Nats Park. 

"I would call him and I'd ask him what their situation is," Rizzo said. 

"What was the basis of the comments? Hey, everyone has their opinions. Bryce is a very polarizing Major League player. Your opinions are fine. I've got no problem with that [but] put your name on it and we have no problem with it. There's no issues." 

Rizzo is going to stand up for the face of the Nats organization, but in return, he would like the NL executive to stand strong behind his own claims. 

"Those comments were harsh," Rizzo said.

"They were totally inaccurate and [had] no basis to them or anything like that. Those were infuriating comments and to then hide behind [them] talking real, real tough and all that stuff, and then [to say] by the way 'this is off the record, don't use my name.' I mean, come on man." 

Calling Harper a "selfish, losing player" when he's a five-time All-Star, won NL Rookie of the Year in 2012, won the Silver Slugger Award, the NL Hank Aaron Award and lead the NL in home runs all in 2015 certainly comes without merit. 

"You better have your facts together when you say those kind of comments," Rizzo said.

You've been warned. 

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Nationals look to avoid sweep against Phillies on Sunday night

Nationals look to avoid sweep against Phillies on Sunday night

WASHINGTON -- Having already won their first series at Nationals Park since April 2016, the Philadelphia Phillies will go for the sweep of Washington on Sunday night.

Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta (4-6, 4.08 ERA) faces Nationals right-hander Jefry Rodriguez (0-0, 4.66).

Pivetta was drafted by the Nationals in 2013 and went to the Phillies in 2015 as part of the Jonathan Papelbon trade.

After struggling for three straight starts -- giving up 13 runs in 14 innings -- Pivetta allowed two runs and four hits in 7 1/3 innings of a no-decision against the St. Louis Cardinals last time out, striking out a career-high 13 batters.

"That's some of the best stuff I've seen him have all year," catcher Andrew Knapp told mlb.com. "The curveball was electric."

Pivetta got 11 swings and misses with the curveball.

"It was nice to have it back," Pivetta told mlb.com. "It all started with my delivery. I was staying up through it, not trying to rush too much and it worked out."

It his first start -- and second big-league appearance -- the 24-year-old Rodriguez picked up a win against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. He allowed five runs, four hits and three walks in five innings.

Rodriguez and Satuday's losing pitcher, Erick Fedde, are filling in for injured starters Stephen Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson.

The Phillies have outscored the Nationals 17-5 in the fist two games of the series. On Saturday, Maikel Franco had four hits and Carlos Santana homered to back Aaron Nola in a 5-3 victory.

"That was just a tremendous all-around baseball game," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said of Franco. "It's so interesting how we've been looking for him to be not just a hitter but a defender and a baserunner and an all-around athlete."

Franco drove in a run and scored twice, including the go-ahead run when he scored just ahead of the tag on Jesmuel Valentin's sacrifice fly.

The Phillies, who have won six of seven, pounded out double-digit hits for the second day in a row in Washington.

"They have a lot of patient hitters," Fedde said of the Phillies. "I think that's what makes it tough. Guys aren't swinging at bunch of junk, so you have to attack them."

The Phillies have now won four straight series for the first time since May 2016 and are 2-0 in what will be a stretch of 10 games against the Nationals and the New York Yankees.

Anthony Rendon homered and Daniel Murphy had a two-run single for Washington, which has lost three of four while scoring nine runs.

"Look, I've got all the confidence in the world we're going to start hitting," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "We'll start scoring some runs. Right now, the bullpen is a little beat up. We've got to get them going again."

Rendon is doing his part. In his las 15 games, he is batting .382 with seven doubles, two homers and 12 RBIs.

Hellickson (right groin strain) will make a rehab start Sunday for Class A Potomac and then is expected to rejoin the Nationals' rotation.

Hernandez said first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (right oblique strain) is about a week from beginning a rehab assignment.

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Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby, but only on one condition

bryce-harper-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports

Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby, but only on one condition

It’s happening.

When the 2018 All-Star Weekend comes to Washington, D.C. in the middle of July, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper will compete in the 2018 Home Run Derby, but only on one condition: He has to be a member of the 2018 National League All-Star Team.

Though Harper is having a down year, only hitting .213 thus far, he leads the NL in home runs with 19.

In the June 18 update of All-Star game voting, Harper sat second among all outfielders with just north of 1,000,000 votes.

That means he’s not only going to make the All-Star team, but he’ll likely start in the outfield.

Harper, a five-time All-Star, competed in the Home Run Derby once before. He was the runner-up to Yoenis Cespedes in 2013, losing by just one long ball, 9-8.

The 2018 Home Run Derby will take place on July 16 at Nationals Park.

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