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Latos could be 'ace in the hole' for Nats; Drew to see neurologist

Latos could be 'ace in the hole' for Nats; Drew to see neurologist

On the same day the Nationals announced their plans to call up rookie Reynaldo Lopez to start against the Braves on Saturday, despite the fact he has struggled recently both in the majors and the minors, they saw a veteran pitcher take a significant step in their farm system.

Longtime MLB starter Mat Latos was activated by Triple-A Syracuse, CSN has learned. Latos, 28, was signed by the Nats to a minor league deal on June 29.

The eight-year MLB veteran made three appearances with the Gulf Coast League Nationals and allowed just two earned runs across 11 innings with 18 strikeouts. Now, he's just one step away from returning to the majors.

"It’s my understanding that Latos threw the ball well the last time out. And so we do have some capable backups if indeed they are ready to pitch," manager Dusty Baker said.

Some maybe didn't think much of Latos' signing when it happened. But Baker confirmed there is a decent chance we see the Alexandria, Va.-native in Washington.

“That’s why we signed these guys. We didn’t sign them just to fill out a roster, we signed them to hopefully help us if we need it. Who knows, this could be an ace in the hole after a while," Baker said.

Latos has not pitched in the majors since June 7. He was cut by the Chicago White Sox on June 9 after posting a 4.62 ERA in 11 starts.

The other pitcher Baker was referring to was Bronson Arroyo, another former pitcher of his from his days in Cincinnati. Arroyo, a 15-year MLB veteran, is currently sidelined with bicep soreness.

Arroyo made two appearances in the GCL and allowed five earned runs in 9 2/3 innings before the injury. He last pitched on July 2.

Drew's timeline to return still unclear

Infielder Stephen Drew remains out with an inner ear issue, now nearly three weeks from when he was placed on the disabled list on July 24. The Nats say Drew has been ramping up his rehab lately, but was also scheduled to see a neurologist to determine the next step in his treatment.

“We don’t know. It’s the same situation," Baker said. "He says one day he feels great and the next day he still feels it. He said it was kind of similar to when he had a concussion. The inner ear is — I’ve never had it, but boy I don’t want it. For those of you out there that have never had it. It’s not an overnight thing. It’s not like you can just take an aspirin for it and be all right... he’s been upping his activities for sure, he’s trying to get ready.”

[RELATED: Nats GM Rizzo strongly denies report on Harper's injury]

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Bryce Harper wants Tony Romo to predict his future after AFC championship game

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USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Harper wants Tony Romo to predict his future after AFC championship game

Bryce Harper has been having a little fun on Twitter lately with his fans, who are still anxiously waiting to hear which MLB team the coveted free agent will sign with this season. 

And the 26-year-old slugger's jokes continued through the AFC championship game between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night. 

The Patriots' 37-31 overtime win over the Chiefs was broadcasted on CBS, so former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was calling the game, along with Jim Nantz. Since Romo joined the broadcast booth for the 2017 season, he's repeatedly proven he can read a defense before a quarterback does and predict a play before it unfolds. 

He did it again during the AFC championship matchup, and fans watching were stunned at his accuracy. And that brings us to Harper, who chimed in with a joke about Romo's spot-on predictions.

So, does this mean Harper knows what his future team is?! Maybe he's growing as tired of the anticipation as fans (especially Nationals fans) are. 

Recently, he's been responding on Twitter to discussions about where he'll end up with shrugging and questioning emojis -- making light of the offseason's biggest mystery. 

After Romo's proven history of being able to predict the future on the NFL side with incredible accuracy, maybe he does know Harper's future too. Here's a look at some of his predictions from the Patriots-Chiefs game, as well as from his first couple seasons in the booth.

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Bryce Harper's longtime friend Kris Bryant says Harper isn't headed for Cubs

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Bryce Harper's longtime friend Kris Bryant says Harper isn't headed for Cubs

After weeks of twists and turns and not enough information for any Nationals fan's satisfaction, the Chicago Cubs seem to be out of the race for free agent Bryce Harper.

Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant seemingly confirmed the news on Friday night from the opening ceremonies of the 2019 Cubs Convention.

"He's not signing here," Bryant said as he sat down with NBC Sports Chicago. 

Though there have been no official reports of whether or not the Cubs are completely out in the race to sign Harper, a word from one of Harper's longtime friends shouldn't be brushed aside.

Bryant and Harper took the field together in the 2016 MLB All-Star game, and faced off in the 2017 NLDS Cubs-Nats matchup. 

The pair have known each other since grade schoool, and played for rival high schools in Las Vegas. But despite their history, Bryant says that they haven't chatted much about the situation otherwise, choosing to focus on preserving their friendship.

"I never bring it up to him," Bryant admitted. "I try to be a good friend to him, and not talk about baseball when he doesn't want to talk about baseball."

"Whatever happens, I wish [him] the best."

You can see more of Bryant's interview with NBCSC below.

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