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Nats expect Daniel Murphy to be ready for NLDS Game 1

Nats expect Daniel Murphy to be ready for NLDS Game 1

By now, the Nationals probably hoped there would be a little more certainty about Daniel Murphy’s status for their first game of the postseason. Still, all indications suggest that the 31-year-old second baseman, who was shut down on Sept. 23 with a buttocks strain, will be in the starting lineup Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"I think he's going to be ready for Game 1 and we feel confident about that," General Manager Mike Rizzo said at Tuesday’s pre-NLDS workout.

The injury hinders Murphy most when he’s running the bases and fielding, so he spent much of the roughly 90-minute workout testing himself in both areas. He took two rounds of ground balls at second base, the first of which were hit directly to him, and the other to gauge his range on potential double-play balls. So far, the Nats like what they see.

“He looked pretty good at second base,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We didn't have him range very far right or left, but then I saw him running with Harvey, one of our trainers, and he looked pretty good.”

“I would say he probably could have played [the last few regular season games] if he needed to,” added first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. “But there was no reason with the playoffs locked up and home field locked up, as well…use these four days to be ready to go and Friday we'll be ready to have some fun.”

Even if Murphy plays somewhat compromised, the Nats will surely take what they can get from him. He was the team’s best hitter throughout the regular season, posting a career-best slash line of .347/.390/.595 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI. If Washington’s offense breaks out in the postseason, it’s likely that Murphy has something to do with it.

"Murph has great at-bats, no matter what," right fielder Bryce Harper said. "So he could probably not see a ball for six months and go out there and hit a double right then. His swing is so easy, so fluent. He knows himself so well that he doesn't need much. So take three weeks off, face Kershaw, why not?"

Though Tuesday appeared to be a step in a right direction, the Nats won’t know Murphy’s availability for sure until they see how his legs respond after two more days of workouts.   

“I'm sure it's always a possibility [that he will miss Game 1],” Baker said.  “If it wasn't, then I would say he's gonna be ready today. Like I said, we're working towards that, and he's on the way. That's all I can tell you.”

MORE: NATIONALS OFFICIALLY NAME MAX SCHERZER THEIR GAME 1 STARTER 

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On this date: The Nationals played their first game ever

On this date: The Nationals played their first game ever

It seems like eons ago that the Washington Nationals played in their first game after departing from Montreal.

Saturday marks the 15th anniversary of their inaugural game as they brought professional baseball back to the District of Columbia.

The Nationals opened up the 2005 season on the road at Citizens Bank Park with a matchup against their future rival in the Phillies.

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The game didn't go as planned for Nats manager Frank Robinson, with his squad dropping the first game of their 162-game slate with a defeat, but it was a return to normalcy for baseball fans in the nation's capital who had longed for a team to root for since the Senators left town 34 years prior.

The Phillies beat the Nats 8-4 on Opening Day, but for fans in the District, there was now a team to cheer on when they returned home a few days later for the home opener at RFK Stadium.

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Nats GM Mike Rizzo displays Commissioner's Trophy in neighborhood during quarantine

Nats GM Mike Rizzo displays Commissioner's Trophy in neighborhood during quarantine

Now this is the type of content we love to see. 

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo found a pretty cool yet responsible way to bring some cheer to his neighborhood in the midst of social distancing on Thursday. 

On the day that should have been the Nats’ 2020 home opener Washington’s GM Mike Rizzo displayed the World Series trophy in the window of his home in Navy Yard.

According to The Washington Post’s reporter Barry Svrluga, Rizzo’s gesture was “in honor of Opening Day!” 

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Of course, fans loved this idea. I mean who wouldn’t? 

Fans passing by even stopped to take a picture with the trophy. 

Although we were all thrilled to return to Nationals Park to celebrate the defending World Champions, Rizzo’s trophy display was a way to spread some joy until we can reunite again. 

On a recent conference call Rizzo told reporters, “This is going to be a very, very special Opening Day for us when it happens, so we still have that to look forward to... On the brighter side, the glass half full view is that we’re the reigning world champions and we still are clutching hard to that trophy. We’ve got ourselves a banner-raising ceremony coming, we’ve got ourselves some beautiful rings that we’re going to be able to wear around D.C. in the very near future, so although we’re thinking daily and hourly about the humanity of what’s going on right now, we also have that to look forward to when we get through this thing and we come out the other side and baseball begins again.”

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