Nationals extend agreements with four affiliates (Nats lose in 10 innings)

TAMPA, Fla. - The Nationals announced that they have agreed on two-year extensions with four of their five affiliates - the Syracuse Chiefs of the Triple-A International League, the Harrisburg Senators of the Double-A Eastern League, the Potomac Nationals of the Single-A Carolina League and the Auburn Doubledays of the short-season Single-A New York-Penn League.

The deals will keep those four affiliates in the Nationals family through 2014.

“We could not be more pleased to make this commitment,” Nats general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. “To make this announcement so early in the season speaks to how much we value our relationships and the environments cultivated by the good people in Syracuse, Harrisburg, Potomac and Auburn. We take our affiliate relations very seriously in Washington. They are a vital part of our family and we know that with time, these bonds will only strengthen.”

The lone Nationals affiliate yet to re-up is low Single-A Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League, whose agreement with the Nats expires at the end of this season.

The group that owns the Suns has been in talks to move the team to Winchester, Va., although on Tuesday, the Winchester City Council unanimously rejected a proposal to transfer park land to an economic development agency for a proposed stadium project. If completed, that project would have helped to bring the Suns to Winchester.

The Nationals could choose to either stay with the Suns or reach an agreement with a new affiliate to play in the Sally League.

Here in Tampa, we’re tied 3-3 in the middle of the ninth inning.

Alex Rodriguez crushed a two-run shot off Nats righty Craig Stammen in the fifth, tying the game, and we’ve seen nothing but zeros put up since then.

Bryce Harper has found the hit column today, after he ripped a 3-2 pitch from Phil Hughes off the glove of the first baseman and into right field.

We still haven’t seen an extra-base hit for Harper this spring. He’s now 1-for-4 after striking out in the ninth inning, his second time fanning today.

Steve Lombardozzi has been the offensive star for the Nats today, going 3-for-3 with a solo home run.

Update: The Nats lost to the Yankees, 4-3 in 10 innings.

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