Devers hits 2 HR; Red Sox to host Yanks in AL wild-card game
The Boston Red Sox have clinched a playoff berth on the regular season’s final day and will host the New York Yankees in the AL wild-card game after coming back to beat the Washington Nationals 7-5 on a tiebreaking two-run homer by Rafael Devers in the ninth inning.
COVID hits MLB opening day; positive tests scrap Mets-Nats
The opening day game between the Washington Nationals and New York Mets was postponed hours before it was scheduled to begin because of coronavirus concerns after at least three of the 2019 World Series champions’ players tested positive for COVID-19.
LEADING OFF: Crowds back on opening day, Cole starts season
EARLY TESTSThe Washington Nationals will be short-handed due to a positive coronavirus test for the second straight season opener. General manager Mike Rizzo did not reveal who the five players were, and the only certainty as of Wednesday night was that opening day starter Max Scherzer wasn't one of them. The Nationals did not have any players test positive during spring training prior to that. But in a what-are-the-odds moment, all three are set to start on opening day. To be pitching the same day as those guys is pretty cool.”MITTS AND MITTENSNolan Arenado, Kris Bryant and Miguel Cabrera will be wearing gloves on opening day.
1 Nationals player positive for COVID; 4 others quarantined
On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, Rizzo said a player for the team has tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)WASHINGTON – A Washington Nationals player tested positive for COVID-19, and four teammates and a staff member have been quarantined after contact tracing on the eve of the regular season's start, general manager Mike Rizzo said Wednesday. The positive result came from a test conducted Monday, while the Nationals were still in Florida for spring training. AdThe flight home was where there was close contact between the five who are quarantining and the player who tested positive. "Everybody across the game — we had seen so few positive cases across spring training as a whole.
Nats release Jeffress for unspecified 'personnel reasons'
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Jeremy Jeffress was released by the Washington Nationals on Sunday for what general manager Mike Rizzo called unspecified “personnel reasons,” less than two weeks after the reliever agreed to terms on a minor league deal. The 33-year-old Jeffress was taken by Milwaukee in the first round pick of the 2006 amateur draft and has pitched for five teams over 11 years in the majors. Last season, Jeffress went 4-1 with a 1.54 ERA and eight saves in 10 chances for the Chicago Cubs. AdMore than a decade ago, Jeffress was suspended twice for violating the minor league drug treatment and prevention program. He has said he used marijuana to manage a severe case of anxiety and he was diagnosed with juvenile epilepsy in 2013.
Nats' Strasburg: 'Numbness in my whole hand' led to surgery
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, that Strasburg is in preparation mode not in rehabilitation mode at spring training after having surgery in 2020. I think, if anything, all the work I’ve done strengthening it has only improved the movement of my pitches," Strasburg said. “Endurance-wise, stamina-wise, I feel like I’m a lot further along than I have (been) in years past,” he said. There was a period of uncertainty about when the so-called “summer camp” would start, so Strasburg would throw into a net to try to stay ready. Martinez said he might ask position players to play seven, eight or nine innings of the last 10 days of exhibition games.
Easy does it: MLB pitchers prepare for usual 162-game grind
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, that Strasburg is in preparation mode not in rehabilitation mode at spring training after having surgery in 2020. So the familiar feel of February spring training has pitchers eager to unleash fastballs, spin a few breaking balls and get ready for the 162-game long haul. “Spring training is 50 days long,” Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais said. But young pitchers — many of whom didn't throw many innings last season — will have to be watched closely. He practiced on the first day of spring training Wednesday but an MRI later revealed the break.
Brad Hand gets $10.5M from Nationals, $6.5M of it deferred
FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020 file photo, Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Brad Hand delivers in the ninth inning in a baseball game against the Cincinnati Red in Cleveland. Brad Hand has agreed in principle to join the Washington Nationals, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)WASHINGTON – Brad Hand knows his fastball's speed declined more than 2 mph over the past two seasons. So the Washington Nationals' new reliever is trying to reverse that trend. The deferred money will come in payments of $1.5 million due next Jan. 15, $3.5 million due Jan. 15, 2023, and $1.5 million due Jan. 15, 2024.
AP source: Zimmerman, Nats agree at $1M, pending physical
A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that Zimmerman agreed to a $1 million, one-year contract that would include additional bonus provisions. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)WASHINGTON – First baseman Ryan Zimmerman is returning to the Washington Nationals after sitting out the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, agreeing in principle to a $1 million, one-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Friday. A second person confirmed to the AP there is an agreement in principle in place, without describing the terms. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement was subject to a successful physical. ___More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Schwarber signs $10M deal with Nats, reunites with Martinez
Schwarber agreed in principle to a one-year, $10 million contract with the Washington Nationals, according to a person familiar with the deal. (AP Photo/Matt Marton, File)WASHINGTON – Now that they're both with the Washington Nationals, Kyle Schwarber recalls joking around with Dave Martinez when both were with the Chicago Cubs — Schwarber a slugger, Martinez a bench coach. “He goes, ‘Whenever I get a manager’s job, you are going to come over, and you are going to play for me,'” Schwarber recounted. The 27-year-old Schwarber struggled at the plate during the pandemic-truncated 2020 season, hitting .188 with a .701 OPS. Like Schwarber, the 28-year-old Bell had a career year in 2019 — 37 homers, 116 RBIs, .936 OPS — and slumped in 2020.
Pirates trade slugger Josh Bell to Nationals
FILE - In this July 22, 2020, file photo, Pittsburgh Pirates' Josh Bell bats during an exhibition baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Pittsburgh. The Pirates traded the slugging first baseman to Washington on Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020, for pitching prospects Will Crowe and Eddy Yean. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)PITTSBURGH – Josh Bell embraced everything about being a Pittsburgh Pirate. The Pirates sent the 28-year-old Bell to Washington on Thursday, giving the Nationals the middle-of-the-order bat general manager Mike Rizzo said was an offseason priority for the perennial NL East contenders. “In order to build that winning team and get to that winning team it’s going to require some difficult decisions at times, this is one of those," Cherington said.
Aaron Boone managing Yankees in family hometown San Diego
Family patriarch Ray Boone followed Ted Williams at San Diego’s Hoover High and was a major league infielder with six teams from 1948-60. He broke in with Cleveland late in the 1948 season and had one plate appearance in the Indians’ World Series victory against the Boston Braves. Bob Boone chuckled at the thought of Aaron managing the Yankees in the postseason in San Diego. “It’s definitely a different feeling this year, very unique,” Bob Boone said by phone from West Palm Beach, Florida, where he’ll watch the playoffs on TV. So when I say turn on the game, turn on the Nationals.”Bob Boone, 72, ended up with another World Series ring.
LEADING OFF: NL race down to final day — and maybe Monday
If St. Louis loses and San Francisco wins, the Cardinals would make up two games against Detroit on Monday that were postponed this season due to St. Louis' coronavirus outbreak. If the Giants and Brewers win, San Francisco needs St. Louis to lose both games against the Tigers on Monday. The 37-year-old Pence helped San Francisco to World Series championships in 2012 and 2014. A career .279 hitter, he had 244 home runs and 942 RBIs for Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Texas. “He had a tremendous career, did a ton for the community in San Francisco and obviously for the San Francisco Giants,” Kapler said.
Nats GM Rizzo won't reveal length of Martinez's new contract
WASHINGTON – Dave Martinez spoke Saturday about managing the Washington Nationals for “many, many years” and over the “long term” and “quite some time,” thanks to his contract extension. “We don’t talk about terms as far as years, length and salaries and that type of thing. How many years do you have?”Moments later, as the back-and-forth continued, Rizzo said: “It’s kind of an individual thing with certain people. The Nationals then beat the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals to reach the World Series, where they beat the Houston Astros in Game 7. Washington joined the 1914 Boston Braves as the only teams in major league history to win a World Series after being 12 games below .500 during a season.
Champs done: Time to look toward 2021 for eliminated Nats
FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, file photo, The Washington Nationals celebrate after Game 7 of the baseball World Series against the Houston Astros in Houston. A year after winning the World Series thanks to a historic turnaround, the Nationals woke up Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, with a 23-33 record and no mathematical chance of returning to the playoffs. There was no opportunity for a sellout crowd to roar during the raising of a championship banner or to witness a World Series ring ceremony. Most notably, World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg’s season lasted all of five innings before he was done because of a nerve issue in his throwing hand. The Nationals conclude their 60-game regular season with four games at home against the New York Mets, starting Thursday.
Harper's 2 HRs help Phils top Nats 12-3, eliminate champs
Philadelphia Phillies' Bryce Harper, left, celebrates his home run with third base coach Dusty Wathan during the sixth inning of the team's baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Washington. With Harper leading the way, and homers from Andrew McCutchen, Didi Gregorius and Andrew Knapp, too, the Phillies beat the Nationals 12-3 Wednesday night. “We’re at the part of the season where I need to be on the field," Harper said. TRAINER’S ROOMPhillies: 1B Rhys Hoskins (left elbow) is unlikely to be activated off the injured list before the regular season ends, Girardi said. UP NEXTPhillies: Off on Thursday, then finish the regular season with a three-game series at Tampa Bay that opens Friday.
Out of the box: Umps eject Nats GM Rizzo from luxury suite
Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, left, looks on from the dugout as a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves gets underway, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, in Atlanta. Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was tossed for yelling at umpires from a luxury suite in Atlanta on Sunday, with longtime crew chief Joe West saying, enough is enough.I wouldnt take that from a player. I wouldnt take that from a manager, West told The Associated Press. Rizzo was standing outside the box, high above the plate at Truist Park, without a mask and was barking toward the field. Rizzo has gotten steamed at umpires in the past, most notably at Citi Field in 2016 after a loss to the Mets.
LEADING OFF: MLB looks into GM's ejection, Brock mourned
FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2020, file photo, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo talks with members of the media during the team's "Winterfest" baseball fan festival in Washington. The Nationals and Rizzo finalized a multiyear contract extension Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. Brock died less than a week after Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seavers death at 75. During their stellar careers, Brock and Seaver faced each other 157 times -- the most prolific batter/pitcher matchups for either star. Keuchel (6-2, 2.19 ERA) threw five scoreless innings, then was pulled after tossing a few warmup pitches before the sixth.
Nationals in a hole, and this year they're short on time
Washington Nationals' Carter Kieboom walks away after popping out to end a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)For a second straight season, the Washington Nationals are off to an awful start. CUTTING IT CLOSEWhile the Nationals have struggled from the start, the New York Yankees figured to be in the clear for a postseason spot after their 16-6 start. In 1993, San Diego executed an infamous fire sale, dealing Fred McGriff and Gary Sheffield in the middle of the season. He would go on to become a six-time All-Star for San Diego and, eventually, a Hall of Famer.
Nationals give multiyear extension to GM Mike Rizzo
ATLANTA The Washington Nationals and general manager Mike Rizzo finalized a multiyear contract extension Saturday. The 59-year-old Rizzo, who also holds the title of president of baseball operations, built the team that won the 2019 World Series championship. They won the last season's World Series after making the playoffs as a wild card. I look forward to continuing our strong working relationship for years to come.Rizzo is in his 12th season guiding the Nationals' baseball operations. With Rizzo guiding the direction of the team, the Nationals are 951867 the seventh-best record in the majors in that span.
Strasburg hit hard in debut; O's-Nats suspended after rain
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws during the second inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Washington, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. Baltimore strung together a double, four singles and a walk, including Hanser Albertos two-run double and Anthony Santanders two-run single. We are not making any firm announcement, but I would imagine he is going to take the mound on Tuesday, Rizzo said. UP NEXTOrioles: Open a three-game series at the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday. That will be followed by series at Baltimore and Atlanta.
Nats star Juan Soto positive for COVID-19, out for opener
Washington Nationals' Howie Kendrick (47) is greeted with "air high fives" by Juan Soto (22) after Kendrick scored them both on a two-run home run off Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Alex Cobb during an exhibition baseball game, Monday, July 20, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)WASHINGTON Washington Nationals slugger Juan Soto tested positive for COVID-19 and was put on the injured list Thursday, forcing him to miss the start of the pandemic-delayed season. Soto had missed the first two weeks of the teams summer camp this month after he was exposed to someone with COVID-19. Also Thursday, Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu was reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list as New York set its opening day 30-man roster before playing Game 1. "If you told me my dream, making the opening day roster for the yankees, as a young kid in New Jersey would come true, I wouldnt have believed you.___More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Fans see 1st Nats exho from balcony; Harper HRs off Scherzer
People watch from balconies of a building across the street during an exhibition baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park, Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Washington. Seems like every day theres a challenge, said Scherzer, the three-time Cy Young Award winner who gave up three-run shots to old friend Bryce Harper and mask-wearing Didi Gregorius in Washingtons 7-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. The energy in the stadium thats usually there, isnt there, per se, Nationals shortstop Trea Turner said. Normally, you pull up and theres a good amount of fans there, Nationals outfielder Michael A. Taylor said after taking pregame batting practice. I got beat around a little bit, but thats good, Scherzer said.
MLB releases pandemic-shortened schedule amid testing delays
The steady stream of players testing positive and opting out is leading to a growing unease that the full season might not be played. Theres a ton of players out there quoted saying this, but it almost feels like youre waiting on bad news, right? Youre waiting for travel restrictions to be shut down across the nation. Youre waiting for a second wave, where things become unplayable and sports take a backseat. MLB said it addressed delays caused by the holiday weekend, doesnt expect them to continue and commended teams for canceling workouts.
More positive tests, canceled workouts add to MLB unease
The San Francisco Giants suspended workouts at Oracle Park as they awaited the results of weekend tests for the coronavirus. Rodriguez, who broke out in 2019 as a star, and Red Sox prospect Bobby Dalbec tested positive for the virus. Manager Ron Roenicke said it is just unfortunate the positive test could jeopardize Rodriguezs chances to start on opening day. Also, the Kansas City Royals announced right-hander Brad Keller and first baseman Ryan OHearn had positive tests and gave the team permission to announce the results. Some Washington players did not take part in workouts, including Starlin Castro, Juan Soto, Howie Kendrick and Victor Robles.
Nationals cancel workout because of COVID-19 testing delay
WASHINGTON The defending World Series champion Nationals canceled their workout Monday because of COVID-19 testing delays that general manager Mike Rizzo worried could endanger the baseball season. All players and staff were tested Friday, and Rizzo said the team still hasn't received those results. We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff and their families. Two Nationals players who took part in in-take testing last week tested positive. Martinez said some of the 60 players tested were still awaiting results.
The Latest: 2 Brewers test positive; Nats cancel workout
The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell says shortstop Luis Urias and pitcher Angel Perdomo tested positive for COVID-19 before the intake process. This marks the second setback for Urias since the Brewers acquired him from San Diego in November. Major League Baseball and the players association announced Friday that 31 players and seven staff members tested positive for COVID-19 during intake for the resumption of training, a rate of 1.2%. Players and staff were tested Friday, and general manager Mike Rizzo says the team still hasnt received its results. The WNBA hopes to start training camp later this week, with the regular season set to begin around July 24.
Defending champion Nats return healthy, careful on protocols
Washington Nationals' Adam Eaton (2), left, speaks with a staff member as the Washington Nationals hold their first training camp work out at Nationals Stadium, Friday, July 3, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)WASHINGTON Dave Martinez's mantra of going 1-0 every day followed the Washington Nationals to their first World Series title. When they resumed workouts Friday at summer training camp in the midst of a global pandemic, the manager's mantra remained. Only, it has a different meaning for the defending champions tiptoeing the health and safety protocols that made baseball feel anything but natural. Were so used to it being a long season and it actually becoming a marathon, Martinez said.
Roster shuffle: Plans change in MLB because of health issues
PHOENIX The Minnesota Twins have shuffled their on-field staff to protect the health of some of their older coaches. I think we all know that we're making the right decision, but that doesn't mean it feels good," Baldelli said. The defending World Series champion Nationals will begin their title defense without Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross, who both declined to play because of health concerns. We are one hundred percent supportive of their decision to not play this year, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said in a statement. Cleveland's 61-year-old manager Terry Francona said he's not nervous, even though he's had previous health issues.