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Harper stories from his college teammate, Chasen Shreve

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Harper stories from his college teammate, Chasen Shreve

Bryce Harper has known Yankees reliever Chasen Shreve since the Nationals right fielder was just 16 years old. The two played together in a scout tournament for one season and then for another year at the College of Southern Nevada, along with Bryce's older brother, Bryan. Shreve took some time this week while New York was in town to share some stories about the two-time All-Star.

Shreve first recalled the time he met Harper when the two were teenagers.

“He was just on the cover of Sports Illustrated,” Shreve said. “The first time I met him, it was in a scout tournament and we were playing on the same team. He came from football practice to one of our practices. He had the cutoff sleeves and the big face paint. I met him, he was a really nice guy. I thought he was more of a football player than a baseball player. When he played, he was just unreal.”

Shreve understands the hype that Harper brought with him when he entered the majors and the scrutiny he has endured as a phenom. He remembers Harper's ability to make headlines in college, long before his name was the subject of national talk show debates.

"I remember we were playing at CSN and they kept throwing over to pick him off and they kept smacking him [in the helmet with the first baseman's glove], like three times in a row. He ends up hitting a home run and he points in their dugout. It got blown up for some reason. It always happened like that. Everything got magnified. I think he's handled it well. You can't be perfect."

Shreve described Harper as a player at the age of 16.

"He was really wild. He could hit a home run at his face or strike out on a pitch right down the middle," he said. "He was a good catcher, great arm... He was young, 15 or 16 when he came over. He was young, but he was good."

Shreve said the two talk on a nearly weekly basis during the season and hang out quite a bit over the winter back in Nevada. They watch fights at the Harper household and go golfing whenever they can.

"He may hit the ball farther, but I usually win," Shreve said.

Having known Harper for six-plus years, one can imagine what Shreve is thinking now that the former No. 1 overall pick is one of the best players in baseball. Shreve said it has been nice to watch Harper reach his potential in the big leagues.

"I think everybody that knows him has been waiting for this, just waiting for him to grow into what we thought he would become, what he has become and what he will become. It's just unreal," he said.

Shreve said before Tuesday's game he would be very nervous if he pitched to Harper in the big leagues. They had only faced each other once in the minors - Harper popped up to the shortstop - and Shreve had thrown to Harper "a thousand times" over the years, as Harper was his catcher.

The matchup did end up happening Tuesday night, and Shreve struck him out.

“It came in my favor tonight,” Shreve said. “We’ll see (about) next time.”

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Washington Nationals Roundup: Stephen Strasburg saves Nationals from series sweep

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Washington Nationals Roundup: Stephen Strasburg saves Nationals from series sweep

With 11 strikeouts and only two hits in eight innings, Stephen Strasburg contained the Marlins to nothing as the Nationals won 5-0 in Miami. Here are the latest news and notes after Sunday’s victory.

Player notes:

Anthony Rendon remains day-to-day after being hit on his left elbow by a pitch Saturday. He left Saturday’s game and missed Sunday’s outing as well. Howie Kendrick, his replacement thus far, finished the series against Miami going 1-for-3 with a single RBI.

Stephen Strasburg posted double-digit strikeouts for the first time this season (11). Strasburg dropped his ERA by almost 1.5 runs, and is expected to start next against the Padres. That series begins Friday, April 26.

Ryan Zimmerman went 2-for-4 with two home runs. He tallied two RBIs as well.

Injuries:

3B Anthony Rendon: Elbow hit by pitch, day-to-day

RP Austen Williams: Shoulder, 10-day IL

RP Justin Miller: Back, 10-day IL

SS Trea Turner: Finger, 10-day IL

RP Koda Glover: Elbow, 10-day IL

Coming Up:

Monday, 4/22: Nationals @ Rockies, 8:40 p.m. ET, Coors Field

Tuesday, 4/23: Nationals @ Rockies, 8:40 p.m. ET, Coors Field

Wednesday, 4/24: Nationals @ Rockies, 3:10 p.m. ET, Coors Field

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3 things to watch when the .500 Nationals head to Colorado

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3 things to watch when the .500 Nationals head to Colorado

The Nationals face the Rockies at Coors Field for the first half of this work week. Here are three things to watch for:

  1. Can the Nationals stay above .500? Stephen Strasburg’s impressive start along with Ryan Zimmerman’s two homers and two RBI kept Washington from being swept by the lowly Marlins.

  2. Who will produce with Anthony Rendon out? While the Nats 3B was sidelined with an elbow injury after being hit by a pitch in Saturday’s outing against the Marlins, Howie Kendrick started in his place. Kendrick went 1-for-3 vs Miami with one RBI and one strikeout. In terms of replacing Rendon’s hitting prowess, Victor Robles has started a streak of his own. The youngster is hot on a seven game hit streak, including a bunt over the infield Sunday.

  3. Will the Nationals ever sure up their end game? Yesterday’s ninth inning was on the brink of disaster. Kyle Barraclough allowed back-to-back walks, then Sean Doolittle loaded the bases. Luckily for the Nats, crisis averted.

Download the MyTeams app for even more Nationals content, and check out the latest episode of the Racing Presidents podcast below.

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