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Nats sign reliever Gonzalez to minor-league contract

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Nats sign reliever Gonzalez to minor-league contract

PITTSBURGH -- Taking a flyer on a veteran reliever who could help them out down the road, the Nationals have signed left-hander Mike Gonzalez to a minor-league contract.

Gonzalez, 33, owns a 2.91 ERA in nine career seasons with the Pirates, Braves, Orioles and Rangers, though he's battled injuries and poor performances the last two seasons. He had knee surgery over the winter and remained unsigned when the season began.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said there had been some mild interest in Gonzalez that perked up after veteran right-hander Brad Lidge landed on the disabled list with a sports hernia.

"I scouted him for years with the Pirates and the Braves," Rizzo said. "I just liked the way he gets after it. He's got good clubhouse makeup, and he'll fit into the clubhouse very well."

Gonzalez will report to the Nationals' extended spring training complex in Viera, Fla., and work with pitching coordinator Spin Williams. He'll probably join the roster at Class AAA Syracuse once he's ready to appear in games.

"I couldn't envision him coming right to the big leagues," Rizzo said. "He'd have to get some innings under his belt and get stretched out and get his arm strength to major-league standards before he gets here."

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Max Scherzer thoroughly enjoyed the All-Star experience in D.C.

Max Scherzer thoroughly enjoyed the All-Star experience in D.C.

All-Star Weekend is entertaining for fans and provides and much-needed break in the 162-game MLB season.

It’s not all just for fun, though. Following his start Tuesday night, Max Scherzer shared the benefits of being able to spend a few days sharing a locker room with players from across the league.

Being in the clubhouse, talking to veterans, talking to guys who have been here, getting to know everybody, getting the personalities, you can actually learn a lot from the other players in the league. They’re watching you, they’re watching your team and you get these conversations and it’s great. You’re talking about everybody and you find little things in the game that make them successful and what made you successful and see if you can get better.

Scherzer also didn’t hold back when talking about how great a job the city and his team did hosting the rest of the league. This is his sixth season as an All-Star, so he's speaking from quite a bit of experience.

It was awesome, what an atmosphere. I thought we were a great host team, all the other players in here loved the facilities and the treatment they received - D.C. did it right.

So according to Max Scherzer, the All-Star Game is great, but All-Star Weekend in D.C. is as good as it gets.

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All-Star effort once again proves Washington, D.C. is, in fact, a sports city

All-Star effort once again proves Washington, D.C. is, in fact, a sports city

It’s been an exciting summer for sports in the nation’s capital. 

The Caps won the Stanley Cup for the first time ever and the city celebrated accordingly. The narrative regarding Washington D.C. as a mediocre sports town began to shift.

A city known for its overwhelming number of transients was overflowing with civic pride. 

About a month later, D.C. hosted the MLB’s annual All-Star Game, and all the festivities that come along with it.

And it was a huge hit.

Sidewalks and restaurant windows were plastered with the All-Star Game logo, welcoming visitors to the city. 

Tens of thousands of people attended FanFest at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center downtown. The Convention Center was practically converted into an MLB shrine offering countless interactive exhibits, facetime with former pros and masses of signed memorabilia.

Plenty of locations, particularly in the blocks surrounding Nats Park, offered food and drink specials to baseball fans, providing great alternatives to people who couldn’t make it to the game.

Most importantly, the whole event got a huge stamp of approval from the players. Bryce Harper did an exceptional job creating a great experience for the fans, from his Home Run Derby win to his walk down the red carpet.

Afer his start, Max Scherzer said verbatim "D.C. did it right." 

Several other D.C. athletes, including Ryan Kerrigan and John Wall, were out celebrating in support of their city.

If there was any doubt before D.C. could handle big-time sporting events, there isn't anymore.

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