Five-day layoff doesn't slow down productive Zimmerman

Five-day layoff doesn't slow down productive Zimmerman
CHICAGO - From a personal standpoint, Ryan Zimmerman couldn't have timed his paternity leave much better. Zimmerman's wife, Heather, gave birth to the couple's second daughter Thursday (an off-day for the Nationals). Then Zimmerman missed his team's three-game series in Cincinnati while officially on the paternity leave list. Then he got to take advantage of another off-day for the Nationals before rejoining them here Tuesday night for the opener of their interleague series against the...
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Game 60 lineups: Nats at White Sox

Game 60 lineups: Nats at White Sox
CHICAGO - The good news: It's warmer today than it was either of the previous two days, when temperatures never got out of the 60s. The bad news: It's raining. And it's not supposed to stop all night. What that means for the series finale between the Nationals and White Sox: This could be dicey. The problem is that the Nats don't return to Chicago again this season. So a postponement would require a special trip back here at some point. Which nobody ever wants to do. But the Nats also...
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Thursday morning Q&A from Chicago

Thursday morning Q&A from Chicago
CHICAGO - Well, well, well ... look what team suddenly has one of the most potent lineups in baseball? Did you know the Nationals now lead the National League in home runs? It's true. They've hit 81 of them, one more than the Cardinals. Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon finally look like Zimmerman and Rendon. Bryce Harper is starting to look like Harper again. Daniel Murphy and Wilson Ramos, meanwhile, have looked like George Brett and Mike Piazza all season. Tonight, the Nationals will seek...
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Contributions come from entire lineup in blowout victory

Contributions come from entire lineup in blowout victory
CHICAGO - On nights like this, when he is handed a comfortable lead and can actually take a few moments to watch his own teammates hit, Max Scherzer can't help but be impressed by what he sees. Then again, what wasn't to like about the Nationals' 11-4 thumping of a shell-shocked James Shields and the rest of the White Sox? "Man, one through nine we did a great job against Shields tonight," Scherzer said. "All the guys were just fouling off pitches, and any time there was a mistake, they...
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Nats cruise to another lopsided win, 11-4 over White Sox

Nats cruise to another lopsided win, 11-4 over White Sox
CHICAGO - They played the full nine innings at U.S. Cellular Field tonight, but that was merely to preserve the integrity of the official major league ballgame. There is no mercy rule at this level, even if the Nationals and White Sox happily would have agreed to one, probably after three innings. With an onslaught of offense against a woefully ineffective James Shields in his Chicago debut, the Nationals jumped out to a seven-run lead and never looked back, cruising to a 11-4 victory that felt...
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Shields ransacked in Chicago debut (Nats win 11-4)

Shields ransacked in Chicago debut (Nats win 11-4)
CHICAGO - On the bright side for James Shields and the White Sox, there's nowhere to go but up from here. The Nationals are putting a hurting on Shields in his White Sox debut, pounding out six runs on seven hits (three of them homers) in two innings to open up a commanding 6-0 lead at U.S. Cellular Field. Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Drew and Danny Espinosa all homered in their first at-bats, the latter two prompting the crowd to boo their recently acquired veteran right-hander. Shields, just...
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Baker on lack of bullpen changes, Rivero's struggles vs. lefties

Baker on lack of bullpen changes, Rivero's struggles vs. lefties
CHICAGO - After the Nationals needed to ask for 11 total innings out of their bullpen over the last two games, it was fair to wonder if they would need to bring in a fresh arm before tonight's game against the White Sox. The short answer: No. "We didn't even talk about it," manager Dusty Baker said. The thinking behind such a move: Blake Treinen just threw 66 pitches over three innings, leaving him out of commission for several days, and Sammy Solis threw three innings Sunday in Cincinnati,...
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Game 59 lineups: Nats at White Sox

Game 59 lineups: Nats at White Sox
CHICAGO - They piled up 10 runs against John Moscot and the Reds bullpen. Then they piled up 10 runs against Mat Latos and the White Sox bullpen. Now the Nationals will try to keep their offensive surge going tonight against James Shields, the newest member of Chicago's rotation, plus this same relief corps. Shields, acquired from the Padres over the weekend, is trying to rediscover the form that made him one of baseball's most consistent starters for years before things surprisingly fell...
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Harper slips to second in All-Star voting, Ramos up to fourth

Harper slips to second in All-Star voting, Ramos up to fourth
CHICAGO - Bryce Harper has slipped behind Dexter Fowler in All-Star balloting, but the Nationals star remains comfortably in position to earn a starting spot in the outfield for the National League in next month's Midsummer Classic. Harper, who led all NL outfielders in the first round of voting released by Major League Baseball last week, has since fallen slightly behind Fowler. The Cubs center fielder currently has received 1,170,718 votes to Harper's 1,119,168. The Mets' Yoenis Cespedes...
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On Ross' short start and Treinen's long relief appearance

On Ross' short start and Treinen's long relief appearance
CHICAGO - When the night began, the Nationals certainly weren't expecting Joe Ross to last only four innings. And they really weren't expecting Blake Treinen to then throw three innings of relief after that. Sometimes you've got to adjust on the fly, though, and that's exactly what last night's 10-5 victory over the White Sox required. Ross' uncharacteristic command issues early forced the young starter out of the game early and left the Nationals to ask Treinen to do something out of the...
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Lineup finally coming together with back-to-back 10-run games

Lineup finally coming together with back-to-back 10-run games
CHICAGO - Though it perhaps hasn't happened as frequently as they would like, the Nationals have known all along their lineup is capable of scoring runs in bunches on a regular basis, more than enough to overcome even a moderate deficit on any given night. As Bryce Harper put it: "When we're down, we're never down." They've now proven that in consecutive games. Two days after storming back from a five-run deficit to beat the Reds, the Nationals stormed back from a three-run deficit to...
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Nats storm back from early deficit to beat White Sox 10-5

Nats storm back from early deficit to beat White Sox 10-5
CHICAGO - Joe Ross' worst start of the season wound up an afterthought tonight, and all it took for that to happen was another double-digit offensive explosion from the Nationals' suddenly explosive lineup. Behind another big showing from Anthony Rendon and some long-awaited clutch hits from Bryce Harper and Michael A. Taylor, the Nationals dug themselves out of the early hole Ross dug and wound up running away with a 10-5 victory over the White Sox. The Nats trailed 5-2 after two laborious...
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Uncharacteristic command dooms Ross early (Nats win 10-5)

Uncharacteristic command dooms Ross early (Nats win 10-5)
CHICAGO - When Joe Ross walked the night's first batter, it was immediately noted as out-of-character for the right-hander. When he walked the night's second batter as well, it seemed more than just out-of-character. And when Ross proceeded to give up two runs in the bottom of the first and then three more in the bottom of the second to the White Sox, the red flag officially was raised on the young Nationals starter. Ross certainly picked an inopportune moment to put forth his worst outing of...
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Baker to Turner: "The world's going to be yours at some point"

Baker to Turner: "The world's going to be yours at some point"
CHICAGO - Dusty Baker had a simple, but important, message for Trea Turner upon sending the young infielder back to Triple-A Syracuse following his weekend stint in the big leagues. "The world is yours," Baker said he told Turner. "All you've got to do is live and breathe and stay healthy, and the world's going to be yours at some point in time." Promoted from Syracuse to take Ryan Zimmerman's roster spot while the veteran first baseman was away on paternity leave, Turner started only...
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Game 58 lineups: Nats at White Sox

Game 58 lineups: Nats at White Sox
CHICAGO - Hello from the South Side, where the Nationals are appearing for the first time since the John McLaren Era. For those who have forgotten, that was June 24-26, 2011, when McLaren served as Nats manager for three games following Jim Riggleman's surprise resignation and before Davey Johnson took over, and proceeded to go 2-1 against the White Sox. That technically makes McLaren the most successful manager in team history, at least based on that .667 winning percentage. But anyways, that...
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Tuesday morning notes as Nats prepare to face White Sox

Tuesday morning notes as Nats prepare to face White Sox
Some Tuesday morning odds and ends to whet your appetite before the Nationals open their three-game interleague series against the White Sox in Chicago (to which I am currently en route)... * The Nationals are catching a break this week when it comes to the White Sox's rotation ... sort of. The good news: They're missing both Chris Sale (9-2, 2.54 ERA) and Jose Quintana (5-6, 2.58). The bad news (potentially): They're getting James Shields making his Chicago debut. Shields, who was acquired...
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Lombardozzi back in Nats system, Harper's brother promoted

Lombardozzi back in Nats system, Harper's brother promoted
Steve Lombardozzi is returning to the Nationals organization, signing a minor league contract after re-establishing himself this season playing independent ball in Waldorf. Lombardozzi will report to Triple-A Syracuse. He's not on the Nationals' 40-man roster. A 19th-round pick in the 2008 draft, Lombardozzi became one of the Nats' top prospects and made his major league debut in September 2011. The Columbia native wound up a key member of the 2012 National League East championship roster,...
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Zimmerman returns from paternity leave, Turner back to Triple-A

Zimmerman returns from paternity leave, Turner back to Triple-A
The Nationals reinstated Ryan Zimmerman off the paternity leave list this morning and optioned Trea Turner back to Triple-A Syracuse, a move that was expected all along but nonetheless raised the question once again of the organization's plan for its top infield prospect. Zimmerman was required to return to the active roster after spending the maximum three days on paternity leave following the birth of his second daughter on Thursday. He'll rejoin the club in Chicago in time for Tuesday's...
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Daniel Murphy wins NL Player of Month honors for May

Daniel Murphy wins NL Player of Month honors for May
Bryce Harper was National League Player of the Month for April. Now Daniel Murphy is NL Player of the Month for May, continuing the Nationals' impressive run through the early portion of the 2016 season. Murphy earned his honor after a remarkable month in which he hit .416 with seven homers, 23 RBIs and a .673 slugging percentage in 29 games. His 47 hits recorded in May tied a franchise record held by former Expos Al Oliver (August 1982) and Marquis Grissom (June 1994). Murphy's...
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Nationals bench driven to continue collective success

Nationals bench driven to continue collective success
PHILADEPHIA - It is, most agree, the toughest job in baseball. Come off the bench cold late in a game, to face a reliever probably throwing at least 95 mph, in a big spot that figures to dramatically affect whether your team wins or loses. Pinch-hitting is not for the faint of heart, which is why the Nationals are grateful to have assembled a particularly effective group of bench players who have more than done their part to help this team get off to a 33-21 start this season. "The main thing...
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