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Solis adjusting nicely to new role in Nats pen


Solis adjusting nicely to new role in Nats pen

PHOENIX — When he was called up two weeks ago to make his major-league debut, Sammy Solis immediately checked out the Nationals’ upcoming schedule and couldn’t help but notice the next road trip he’d make: Phoenix and San Diego, his hometown and his college town.

“It’s the road trip of a lifetime for me,” the left-hander said before Monday evening’s series opener against the Diamondbacks. “I’m here at home. I had breakfast with my parents and grandparents this morning. And then I get to travel to San Diego and see my college buddies. It’s exciting.”

If only Solis could have waited one more day to achieve a major milestone and earn his first career win in Arizona instead of Washington.

“No, it doesn’t matter to me,” he said with a laugh. “The sooner, the better for that.”

Solis crossed that one off the checklist Sunday when he pitched a scoreless top of the eighth against the Braves at Nationals Park and then watched his teammates score three runs in the bottom of the inning en route to a 5-4 victory. The 26-year-old reliever was so excited about the comeback, he didn’t realize what the win meant for him until teammates started walking up to him offering congratulations.

“I had no idea, honestly,” he said. “It didn’t even cross my mind until the game was over. I had no idea. I was just hoping for a win for the team, and then when I found out that I got my first one, it was pretty special.”

These two weeks have been pretty special for Solis, a surprise contributor to the Nationals’ bullpen. A starter since he was taken with the first pitch of the second round of the 2010 draft out of the University of San Diego, he only began working as a reliever last month, with the organization trying to help him advance after several years of arm injuries.

The transition has proven remarkably smooth for Solis. He has yet to allow a run in three appearances totaling six innings, giving up three singles without issuing a walk.

The role may be new, but the formula for success hasn’t changed. Solis possesses a mid-90s fastball and a sharp-breaking curve, but first and foremost he relies on command. And he’s been able to carry that over to the big-league level, throwing 70 percent of his pitches (55-of-79) for strikes so far.

“When it comes down to it, it’s still baseball,” he said. “The bullpen is a little different, and I’m sure I’m still adjusting to that. It’s obviously a little more fast-paced, a little more competitive. The players are obviously a little stronger, a little faster. So adjusting to that was a little different. But I think I’m settling in well. I feel pretty comfortable right now.”

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


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


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.