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New-look Phillies finalize 1-year deal with Lannan

New-look Phillies finalize 1-year deal with Lannan

PHILADELPHIA (AP) John Lannan could hardly beat the Philadelphia Phillies, so he joined them.

Lannan signed a $2.5 million, one-year contract on Tuesday, adding depth to a rotation that lost starter Vance Worley when he was traded away.

The 28-year-old Lannan was 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA in six starts for the NL East-champion Washington Nationals this year. He also made 24 starts for Triple-A Syracuse, going 9-11 with a 4.30 ERA.

Lannan struggled against the Phillies over the years. He was 3-13 with a 5.53 ERA against them, including a 6.49 ERA in eight career starts at Citizens Bank Park.

``I think it's more me not executing,'' Lannan said. ``That's what it comes down to, and it's against really good Philly lineups. So I think it comes down to me executing pitches. It doesn't really matter where you're pitching. This park is smaller. You've just got to execute your pitches.''

Lannan's deal includes performance incentives. He gets $200,000 each for 150, 160, 170, 180 and 190 innings, $250,000 each for 200 and 210 innings and $250,000 for 31-34 starts.

Overall, Lannan was 42-52 with a 4.01 ERA in 134 games - all starts - in six seasons for Washington. Worley was dealt to Minnesota along with minor-league righty Trevor May for center fielder Ben Revere.

``It's a great opportunity,'' Lannan said. ``I feel like the Phillies have a great shot of winning the NL East and going to the World Series.''

After finalizing the deal for Lannan, the Phillies introduced new third baseman Michael Young. The seven-time All-Star arrived in a trade with Texas earlier this month.

``I couldn't be more excited to be a member of this organization right now,'' Young said. ``This is a team with a really strong history of winning over here the past five or six seasons. Great history and a great fan base. A loud, intense and fun ballpark. All those things really appealed to me.''

A former AL Gold Glove winner at shortstop, Young hasn't played third base regularly since 2010. He made 40 starts at first base, 25 at third base, 14 at second base and four at shortstop last year. Young feels he will benefit from concentrating on one position.

``My time at third will be easier because I can donate all my reps to third,'' he said. ``The toughest part of playing different spots is dividing your reps. Taking 25 percent of your balls at third because you have to go to short, second and first. I'm looking forward to that and getting down to Clearwater and getting a lot of reps under my belt.''

Young batted .277 with eight homers and 67 RBIs in 2012, a down year for him. From 2003-11, Young hit at least .300 seven times and averaged 17 homers and 90 RBIs.

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Stephen Strasburg returns to Nats lineup after DL stint

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Stephen Strasburg returns to Nats lineup after DL stint

Friday night marks the first second-half game of Major League Baseball's 162-game season. 

The Washington Nationals begin 5.5 games out of the first-place Phillies and host the second-place Braves for a three-game series before traveling to Milwaukee. 

One big piece to Dave Martinez's staff who has been missing since June 8 is Stephen Strasburg. The right-hander was activated from the DL and will start on the mound Friday night. 

Ryan Zimmerman was also activated but is not in Martinez's starting lineup. 

Prior to experiencing inflammation in his right shoulder during a June 8 start that forced him out of the game early, Strasburg saw flashes of dominance throughout his 13 starts owning a 3.46 ERA with 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings. 

Zimmerman hasn't played since May 9 due to a strained right oblique. With the emergence of Matt Adams, it will be interesting to see how Martinez uses both guys throughout the summer. 

Here is a look at Friday night's official lineup: 

According to Byron Kerr, Zimmerman is still happy to be back, despite not being in the starting lineup. 

Catch the Nationals hosting the Braves Friday at 7:05 p.m. on MASN2. 

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8 bold MLB predictions sure to be proven wrong

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8 bold MLB predictions sure to be proven wrong

It doesn't have quite the same feel as Opening Day, but the first games after the MLB All-Star break certainly have their own unique excitement to them.

Teams are jockeying for playoff position, and the trade deadline is rapidly approaching. The Nats have struggled through the first half, but are still within striking distance of a spot in the 2018 postseason, so every game matters.

To help get you ready for the rest of the 2018 regular season, our baseball writers have provided a couple of bold predictions which are sure to be proven wrong by August.

Bold predictions for the second half of the 2018 MLB season:

Ryan Wormeli: 1) Despite the consensus top three teams in baseball all residing in the American League, this year’s World Series champion will be a National League squad.

2) Max Scherzer does NOT win the National League Cy Young award, even though most fans agree he has the best statistical season.

Cam Ellis: 1) Bryce Harper ends up with 45 home runs this season.

2) Koda Glover eventually gets the 7th inning spot.

Michaela Johnson: 1) Nationals win the NL East (I know this VERY bold but like I said I have high expectations).

2) Tanner Roark will get back on top of his game.

Tyler Byrum: 1) The Milwaukee Brewers will drop out of the playoff hunt. 

Every year the Brewers seem to be close to running away with the NL Central. Then, once we get closer to the All-Star break and move beyond they go silent. It’s getting quite ridiculous at this point. Last year they had 50 wins in the first half, finished with only 86.

2) Philadelphia will make a trade deadline acquisition, but it will not get them over the hump. 

There are just too many issues with the Phillies; starting pitching behind Aaron Nola, consistent batting as a team, and the bullpen. They’ve done a fantastic job to piece together a 53-42 record and sit atop the division, but it will be tough to maintain it. 

Right now, they are almost the exact opposite of the Nationals.