The Nationals this afternoon announced that they have extended their affiliation with Double-A Harrisburg for four more years through the 2018 season.
"Our partnership with Harrisburg and the Senators dates back more than 20 years, and it is with that history in mind that we are excited to sign on with them for another four," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a team-issued release. "Harrisburg is an Eastern League gem, and we are proud to continue our association with a team, and a town, that have such rich baseball histories.
"From a baseball standpoint, the Senators have served as a fantastic breeding ground for some of our organization's most talented players, and helped launch the Major League careers of many. The Senators connection in our clubhouse runs deep."
The Senators' affiliation with their parent franchise predates the Nationals; Harrisburg has been the club's Eastern League farm team since the days when they still played in Montreal as the Expos.
The Nationals like the proximity of the Double-A team to both Washington, D.C., where the major league team plays, and the Triple-A club in Syracuse. Additionally, Harrisburg is relatively close to the Nationals' low Single-A team in Hagerstown and its high Single-A Potomac club in Woodbridge, Va.
Harrisburg's Metro Bank Park underwent a $32 million renovation that was completed in 2010.
According to a tweet from the Senators, 53 players who have played in a Harrisburg uniform have eventually played with the Nationals. Twice in the past four seasons, the Senators have welcomed the No. 1 overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft: right-hander Stephen Strasburg in 2010, the season after he was drafted, and 2010 top pick Bryce Harper in 2011.
"We are very pleased to announce this extension of our relationship with the Washington Nationals," said Senators president Kevin Kulp. "They are a first-class organization from top to bottom and have placed not only great ballplayers on our team but also fine young men. We look forward to growing together in the years to come."