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...
Continue reading

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...
Continue reading

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...
Continue reading

Ramos developing into baseball's best-hitting catcher in 2016

Ramos developing into baseball's best-hitting catcher in 2016
PHILADELPHIA - As each day passes and Wilson Ramos continues to produce at the plate like never before, the rest of the Nationals only find themselves more and more impressed with a catcher who has managed to elevate his game to lofty new heights this season. "Extremely impressive," right-hander Max Scherzer said. "Because those guys are back there grinding and taking balls off the forearm and legs, and they're getting beat up behind the plate." Ramos indeed takes a pounding while...
Continue reading

Nats rounding into form as season moves into third month

Nats rounding into form as season moves into third month
PHILADELPHIA - On nights like this, when Max Scherzer is dealing and guys are producing up and down the lineup to complete a road series sweep, the Nationals have the look of an elite ballclub. Maybe the competition - the suddenly sliding Phillies - wasn't the stiffest, but the Nationals still have to play everyone on the schedule. And so this 7-2 victory at Citizens Bank Park, on the heels of victories each of the previous two nights, was exactly what the Nats needed: No drama. And so they...
Continue reading

Nationals thump Phillies 7-2 to start road trip with sweep

Nationals thump Phillies 7-2 to start road trip with sweep
PHILADELPHIA - The weather's heating up, the Nationals are starting to drive the ball out of the park and Max Scherzer is striking out batters left and right. With homers from Wilson Ramos and Danny Espinosa, plus a string of extra-base hits, the Nationals gave Scherzer plenty of cushion with which to pitch. And the ace right-hander responded with a dominant performance during a 7-2 drubbing of the Phillies to complete a three-game sweep at Citizens Bank Park. The Nationals seemingly did...
Continue reading

Scherzer sharp early, Zimmerman drives in run (Nats win 7-2)

Scherzer sharp early, Zimmerman drives in run (Nats win 7-2)
PHILADELPHIA - Max Scherzer appears to have his good stuff, and his mound strut, going early tonight, which could mean trouble for the Phillies. Scherzer is through three scoreless innings, allowing just two singles while striking out five as the right-hander attempts to pitch the Nationals to a series sweep at Citizens Bank Park. Ryan Zimmerman's RBI double in the top of the first gave the Nationals a quick 1-0 lead, and Scherzer has taken over since then. Scherzer cruised through his first...
Continue reading

Pregame notes on Harper, Zimmerman and Belisle

Pregame notes on Harper, Zimmerman and Belisle
PHILADELPHIA - Bryce Harper is out of the Nationals lineup for the second consecutive day, his right knee still sore after getting hit by a pitch two nights ago, though the club is hopeful he'll be ready to return for Friday night's series opener in Cincinnati. Harper did take some swings in the batting cage this afternoon for the first time since getting hurt, but the team figured it wasn't worth taking any chances, especially with Thursday off before this weekend's series against the...
Continue reading

Game 54 lineups: Nats at Phillies

Game 54 lineups: Nats at Phillies
PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals are going for a series sweep tonight at Citizens Bank Park, but they'll have to do it without the services of Bryce Harper once again. Harper remains out of the lineup, two days after taking a fastball off the outside of his right knee. This again isn't a huge shock. Harper said the knee didn't feel any better yesterday than it did the night before, and Dusty Baker hinted that he might try to take advantage of the team being off Thursday in order to give Harper...
Continue reading

Harper leads early All-Star voting, Murphy second at second base

Harper leads early All-Star voting, Murphy second at second base
PHILADELPHIA - The first round of National League All-Star voting was released this afternoon, and for the first time the Nationals have a legitimate shot of having two starters in the game. Bryce Harper leads all NL outfielders early on, with 838,599 votes. Daniel Murphy, meanwhile, ranks second at second base with 488,468 votes. Wilson Ramos, who is fifth among catchers with 209,949 votes, is the only other Nationals player to rank in the top five at his position so far. Harper is a...
Continue reading

Wednesday morning Q&A from Philadelphia

Wednesday morning Q&A from Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA - Is it really June already? How did that happen? Tonight the Nationals play their 54th game of the season, officially the one-third point of the 162-game marathon, and it certainly feels like things have flown by so far. There has been a lot of good for this team so far (Bryce Harper's April, Daniel Murphy's April and May, Stephen Strasburg's perfect record, stellar defense from everyone, a much-improved bullpen). And there has been some bad (Harper's May, just about everyone...
Continue reading

Ross finishes strong to secure his latest victory for Nats

Ross finishes strong to secure his latest victory for Nats
PHILADELPHIA - Joe Ross understood the situation. The tying run was on base in a one-run game. The go-ahead run was at the plate. There were two outs in the seventh. His pitch count was about to reach triple digits. Sammy Solis was warming in the Nationals bullpen. "It's like, if this guy gets on base," Ross said, "I doubt I'll get another chance to get the next guy." So the young right-hander threw everything he had at that final Phillies batter he would face on this night. It happened...
Continue reading

Nats hit four homers to support Ross in 5-1 win over Phillies

Nats hit four homers to support Ross in 5-1 win over Phillies
PHILADELPHIA - With Bryce Harper nursing a sore right knee, the Nationals turned to others in their lineup for tonight's supply of power. Jayson Werth, Daniel Murphy, Danny Espinosa and Stephen Drew all clubbed home runs for the Nationals, who also got a dominant start out of Joe Ross en route to a 5-1 victory over the Phillies. Werth launched his homer in the top of the first, pouncing on right-hander Aaron Nola's first-pitch fastball and sending the ball flying to left-center field. The...
Continue reading

Werth homers again in Philly, leaving fans booing (Nats win 5-1)

Werth homers again in Philly, leaving fans booing (Nats win 5-1)
PHILADELPHIA - They still boo Jayson Werth every time he steps to the plate here at Citizens Bank Park, even six years since he left the Phillies to sign with the Nationals. And then they boo even louder every time he does something that makes those fans wish their hometown team had made more of an effort to re-sign him when they had the chance. Werth was up to his old tricks again tonight, homering in the top of the first inning against Philadelphia right-hander Aaron Nola to give the...
Continue reading

Harper out tonight with sore knee, could miss rest of series

Harper out tonight with sore knee, could miss rest of series
PHILADELPHIA - His right knee still sore after getting struck by a fastball Monday night, Bryce Harper is out of the Nationals lineup for tonight's game against the Phillies, and it's possible the reigning NL MVP will miss the remainder of this series. Harper, who was diagnosed Monday with a contusion, was wearing a sleeve over the knee this afternoon and was still moving gingerly around the visiting clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park. Though he doesn't believe the injury is serious, he does...
Continue reading

Game 53 lineups: Nats at Phillies

Game 53 lineups: Nats at Phillies
PHILADELPHIA - Let's get right down to it, because this is what you really want to know: Bryce Harper is not in the Nationals lineup tonight. That's not a huge surprise after Harper took a fastball off the outside of his right knee in the seventh inning last night, ultimately departing after trying to run the bases. Though he officially was diagnosed with a contusion, the 23-year-old slugger was still in some obvious pain postgame, walking gingerly around the clubhouse. Nobody believes the...
Continue reading

Werth continues recent surge with clutch hit

Werth continues recent surge with clutch hit
PHILADELPHIA - Daniel Murphy was the main topic of discussion last night, considering he went 3-for-4 with a homer, drove in the game-winning runs in the Nationals' 4-3 victory over the Phillies and raised his MLB-leading batting average to .395. But Murphy never would have been in position to win the game if not for an equally important at-bat by Jayson Werth a few minutes earlier, so let's give the 37-year-old left fielder his due as well. With two outs, two on and the Nationals still...
Continue reading

Murphy delivers again for Nats: "He's carrying our team"

Murphy delivers again for Nats: "He's carrying our team"
PHILADELPHIA - Daniel Murphy isn't going to do this the entire season. It's just not possible in this day and age to do what only a handful have come close to doing in the 75 years since Ted Williams last broke the .400 barrier. But Memorial Day has now come and gone, and Murphy still owns a .395 batting average, so why shouldn't the Nationals enjoy every moment of this remarkable run? Especially on nights like this, when Murphy not only produces but produces in big spots to help lift his...
Continue reading

Nats rally after Harper injury to beat Phillies 4-3

Nats rally after Harper injury to beat Phillies 4-3
PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals lost Bryce Harper to an apparent right knee injury. They refused to also lose another game to the Phillies. Harper's seventh-inning departure shortly after taking a pitch off the outside of the knee cast a pall over this Memorial Day series opener at Citizens Bank Park. But thanks to a furious rally by his teammates, most notably Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy, the Nationals turned what would have been a demoralizing loss into an impressive, come-from-behind, 4-3...
Continue reading

Harper day-to-day after suffering right knee contusion (updated)

Harper day-to-day after suffering right knee contusion (updated)
PHILADELPHIA - Bryce Harper was forced out of tonight's game against the Phillies after taking a seventh-inning pitch from Jeremy Hellickson off his right knee, but the Nationals MVP slugger appears to have avoided serious injury and may not have to sit out more than a day or two to recover. "It hurts," Harper said, limping slightly around the clubhouse following the Nats' 4-3 victory. "Whenever you get squared up like that, definitely something that didn't feel good. I think we'll...
Continue reading