Rizzo on state of bullpen and S. Romero's return (Nats fall 12-3)

Rizzo on state of bullpen and S. Romero's return (Nats fall 12-3)
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Koda Glover hasn't thrown a baseball since reporting to camp with a sore shoulder. Joaquin Benoit, signed the first week of spring training, has a 9.00 ERA. Matt Albers is in Arizona wearing a Brewers uniform. That might all be cause for concern for the Nationals, who don't have any real sure things in their bullpen beyond the three veterans acquired last July in trades. But general manager Mike Rizzo insists he's not looking for more upgrades from outside the...
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Nationals add veteran Benoit to address bullpen depth issue

Nationals add veteran Benoit to address bullpen depth issue
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - In need of more right-handed bullpen depth to account for Koda Glover's latest shoulder injury, the Nationals have agreed to terms with veteran Joaquín Benoit on a one-year, $1 million contract, according to a source familiar with the deal. The signing hasn't been announced yet, but Benoit was at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches today and already had a locker with his nameplate above it inside the Nationals clubhouse, according to another source. Benoit, 40, has a...
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Once a weakness, revamped 'pen enters spring as strength

Once a weakness, revamped 'pen enters spring as strength
As the start of spring training fast approaches, we're breaking down the state of the Nationals roster, position by position. The series continues today with the bullpen ... Undeniably the club's biggest weakness through the first half of the 2017, the Nationals bullpen morphed into one of its true strengths by season's end. For that, thank general manager Mike Rizzo, who acquired three key arms in July and transformed the nature of the seventh, eighth and ninth innings in dramatic...
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Nats still need bullpen help beyond the big three

Nats still need bullpen help beyond the big three
The Nationals bullpen will enter the 2018 season in far better shape than it did a year ago. Lest anyone forget the open competition to be the closer between Blake Treinen, Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover. That won't be an issue this time, not with Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler all back in the late-inning roles they inherited (and thrived in) following their July acquisitions. But the Nats bullpen doesn't exactly look pristine beyond that trio. The loss of Matt Albers - who...
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Top stories of 2017: The bullpen makeover

Top stories of 2017: The bullpen makeover
As we count down the final days of 2017, we're counting down the most significant stories of the year for the Nationals. Some are positive. Some are negative. All helped define this baseball season in Washington. We'll reveal two per day through New Year's Eve, beginning right now with ... No. 8: The bullpen makeover The Nationals cruised through the first half of the 2017 season. They took over first place in the National League East Division on April 18 and never gave it back. They carried...
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Can Nats convince top reliever to sign up for seventh-inning role?

Can Nats convince top reliever to sign up for seventh-inning role?
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Nationals are in the market for at least one experienced reliever, preferably right-handed. Whether they're willing to jump right now into a market that has quickly become the most active of any position at the Winter Meetings remains to be seen. Another veteran right-handed setup man came off the board Monday when Pat Neshek returned to the Phillies for a two-year deal worth a reported $16.25 million. That came on the heels of a pair of signings Sunday: Brandon...
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Market for relievers already being set as Winter Meetings open

Market for relievers already being set as Winter Meetings open
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Winter Meetings officially get underway this morning, but a few teams already were acting yesterday like the event had kicked into full gear. And the Nationals likely were paying close attention to what happened. With the Cubs reportedly signing Brandon Morrow and the Cardinals reportedly signing Luke Gregerson, the relief market is now starting to take shape. And so the Nats are getting a good idea what it will cost if they want (as they intend) to bolster their...
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No rust for Madson in first two games back from injury

No rust for Madson in first two games back from injury
MIAMI - Ryan Madson was pretty sure all would be fine when he returned from a sprained right index finger over the weekend, but even the veteran reliever wasn't totally positive that would be the case. How confident was he that he'd be back to normal? "Uh, probably 80 percent," he said. "Once I got out there and threw in a game in Milwaukee, I felt a lot better. Things got better throughout that inning. And then today warming up, I felt a lot better than the first time. I feel like I'm...
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With injuries ravaging lineup, bullpen finally carrying Nats

With injuries ravaging lineup, bullpen finally carrying Nats
SAN DIEGO - Eleven of their players currently reside on the disabled list, including the leading candidate for National League MVP, the leading candidate for the Cy Young Award, last year's Rookie of the Year runner-up, the franchise's veteran leader and a key reliever with a 1.68 ERA. Their ace was a late scratch from his scheduled start Friday night, leaving the club with no time to get a replacement starter flown in from the East Coast. Their All-Star second baseman was a late scratch from...
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MASN and COX hosting Social Media Weekend August 12-13 at The Bullpen

MASN and COX hosting Social Media Weekend August 12-13 at The Bullpen
This Saturday, August 12 and Sunday, August 13, MASN and COX will be hosting Social Media Weekend at The Bullpen next to Nationals Park! Fans will have the opportunity to collect unique Nationals prizes at both the MASN and COX booths, and can try their swinging luck at the Cox Virtual Home Run Derby! Think you can hit a homer? Try your luck! The Cox Virtual Home Run Derby is available prior to each game Saturday and Sunday. For updates on the event and how to win prizes, be sure to RSVP on...
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District 34 podcast: Nats make blockbuster trade to bolster bullpen

District 34 podcast: Nats make blockbuster trade to bolster bullpen
It was always a matter of when not if the Nationals would make a trade to bolster their bullpen, and it finally happened over the weekend. Byron Kerr and I are back to break down the acquisition of right-hander Ryan Madson and left-hander Sean Doolittle from the A's and the ripple effect on the Nats bullpen on a new episode of the District 34 podcast. Madson and Doolittle both made their Nationals debuts in a 4-3 win over the Angels Tuesday night, with the righty putting together a shutdown...
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No designated closer (yet) between Madson and Doolittle

No designated closer (yet) between Madson and Doolittle
ANAHEIM, Calif. - Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle are both here, both wearing Nationals uniforms - Madson wearing No. 44, Doolittle wearing No. 62 - and both insist they're ready and available for whatever role Dusty Baker envisions for the newly acquired relievers. What roles exactly will those be? Well, the answer for now is a simple-yet-unsatisfying one: Baker doesn't know. Madson and Doolittle certainly will be pitching late innings for the Nationals, particularly when they hold a lead....
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Top second-half storylines for the Nationals

Top second-half storylines for the Nationals
As the second half of the season arrives, we have a pretty good idea just what the 2017 Nationals are. This is perhaps the most talented team they've had during their now-six-year run of contention, with an imposing and deep lineup, dominant starters atop the rotation and an experienced and productive bench. This is also, of course, a team with one gigantic hole that could blow the entire thing up: a bullpen that desperately needs a midseason makeover. There's also reason to be concerned...
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Nats relieved to have Solís back; J. Turner is DFA

Nats relieved to have Solís back; J. Turner is DFA
ST. LOUIS - When Sammy Solís landed on the disabled list way back on April 19 with what he was told was some minor inflammation in his elbow, he assumed he'd be back pitching for the Nationals within two weeks. Then two weeks became two months, Solís forced to shut down for a period of time and then start a throwing program over from scratch after learning he actually had nerve irritation in his elbow. So forgive the left-hander for putting a wide smile on display this afternoon as he...
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Nats working to finalize minor league deal with Francisco Rodríguez

Nats working to finalize minor league deal with Francisco Rodríguez
The Nationals are finalizing a minor league deal with Francisco Rodríguez, hoping the veteran closer might resurrect himself after a horrible start to his season in Detroit that got him released last week. The deal isn't done yet, but a club source said it is expected to be completed soon. At that point, Rodríguez would report to Triple-A Syracuse and attempt to right his wayward ship in a low-pressure environment. Rodríguez, 35, owns 437 saves and a 2.86 ERA over 16 big league...
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More on the bullpen, Difo's debut in center and Storen's return

More on the bullpen, Difo's debut in center and Storen's return
There were no shortage of noteworthy developments in last night's 6-5 10-inning win. We've already addressed a few of them - the game-winning rally, Brian Goodwin's two-homer night, Stephen Strasburg's struggles in the humidity - but let's run through some more items of interest before turning the page to today's game ... * The Nationals bullpen was good. Really good. Like, five scoreless innings good. When Strasburg was pulled after five innings and 95 pitches, the notion that the Nats'...
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Baker makes plea for bullpen help, discusses Alexandria shooting

Baker makes plea for bullpen help, discusses Alexandria shooting
Dusty Baker is tired of talking about his bullpen. But every time the subject comes up, the Nationals manager finds new ways to express his opinion and perhaps drop even more hints at the front office to address the club's biggest - only? - glaring hole. "They've all struggled," Baker said of a bullpen that enters play today with a 5.02 ERA (second-worst in the majors) and .808 opponent OPS (tied for worst in the majors). "Which one would you pick out to replace? Cause I hear people from...
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Unlikely Albers-Glover combo has stabilized Nationals bullpen

Unlikely Albers-Glover combo has stabilized Nationals bullpen
SAN FRANCISCO - Maybe everyone should have listened to Koda Glover a couple of weeks ago when the rookie reliever insisted the beleaguered Nationals bullpen would be just fine. Glover reiterated that sentiment Tuesday night after closing out the Nationals' 6-3 victory over the Giants that included the latest in a string of dominant performances by this relief corps. "What'd I tell you earlier? We're starting to roll. We're fine," Glover said. "Like I said when everybody was kind of...
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After three days of rest, can Nats bullpen hit the reset button?

After three days of rest, can Nats bullpen hit the reset button?
What's the most important thing to happen to the Nationals over the last three days? Is it their offensive explosion last night against the Mariners? Big-time starts from Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross? Some encouraging results at the plate for Trea Turner? Those are all nice developments, but perhaps the most important one has involved the part of the roster that basically has not been used during this mini stretch: the bullpen. With Strasburg going 7 2/3 innings on Sunday in Atlanta, then a...
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Looking at closer issues around baseball

Looking at closer issues around baseball
The Nationals lead the National League East despite a bullpen that brings daily turbulence. This week at Nationals Park they will see first-hand that they aren't the only team with late-inning issues. The Nationals' bullpen ERA (5.40) is 29th in baseball. Seattle's bullpen has the highest ERA in the majors at 5.44, while San Diego is 27th at 5.04. The Mariners and Padres play in D.C. this week. Edwin Díaz, and his blazing fastball, was the Mariners closer at the season's start, but he...
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