Tight muscle in neck puts Strasburg on DL

Tight muscle in neck puts Strasburg on DL

CINCINNATI -- Stephen Strasburg exited Friday's series opener vs. the Reds, a 5-2 Nationals loss, in the bottom of the second inning with what the team says is a tight muscle in his neck. The club placed the right-hander on the 15-day disabled list before Saturday's game.

After the right-hander allowed a leadoff walk to Brayan Pena, manager Matt Williams, pitching coach Steve McCatty and the team's head athletic trainer went to the mound. Strasburg did not throw another pitch; he was removed by Williams and replaced by Taylor Jordan, who was in the restroom when he received word that he would be entering the game.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Without Strasburg, Nationals fall to Reds

Without Strasburg, Nationals fall to Reds

CINCINNATI -- Using a three-run bottom of the sixth and Todd Frazier's home run in the seventh, the Reds claimed a 5-2 victory over the Nationals on Friday in the opener of a three-game series.

Washington, which lost starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg only 16 pitches into his night because of tightness in a neck muscle, took a one-run lead in the top of the sixth on Wilson Ramos' RBI single, which scored Ryan Zimmerman.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rendon goes 1-for-4 in rehab outing

Rendon goes 1-for-4 in rehab outing

CINCINNATI -- Infielder Anthony Rendon started his rehab assignment on Friday for Double-A Harrisburg at second base, which gives another indication that he will not play third base once he returns to the Nationals.

Rendon went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts in Harrisburg's 3-2 victory over Bowie. Nationals manager Matt Williams did not say when Rendon would be back in the big leagues.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Words traded after Cingrani plunks Harper

Words traded after Cingrani plunks Harper

CINCINNATI -- Bryce Harper is one of the game's best players right now, so one could understand his feelings after he was hit in the back by a pitch thrown by the Reds' Tony Cingrani during the Nationals' 5-2 loss on Friday.

In the seventh inning, with Denard Span on second, Cingrani replaced right-hander Jumbo Diaz to face Harper. On the first pitch, Cingrani hit Harper, who was clearly upset. Harper threw his bat near the Nationals' dugout and slowly walked to first, where he exchanged words with first baseman Joey Votto.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Reds beat reporter Mark Sheldon contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gio out to continue strong May stretch in outing vs. Reds

Gio out to continue strong May stretch in outing vs. Reds

CINCINNATI -- The Reds and Nationals will continue their three-game weekend series on Saturday at Great American Ball Park.

The Nationals will start lefty Gio Gonzalez, who is looking to continue a strong stretch this month. The Reds' Raisel Iglesias will be making his fourth start of the season. The rookie right-hander has also worked out of the bullpen for Cincinnati.

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Robert Bondy is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With Werth out, Nats to rotate left fielders

With Werth out, Nats to rotate left fielders

CINCINNATI -- With Jayson Werth expected to be out for at least two months because of two small fractures in his left wrist, manager Matt Williams plans to use a rotation in left field that includes Michael Taylor, Tyler Moore and Clint Robinson.

Williams did not rule out sticking with a player who is hot at the plate, although as of now those three have been inconsistent.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

CT scan shows 2 fractures in Werth's wrist

Injured by May 15 HBP, Nationals outfielder unlikely to return before August

CT scan shows 2 fractures in Werth's wrist

NEW YORK -- A CT scan of Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth's left wrist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., on Thursday revealed two small fractures, according to a baseball source. The Nats have not confirmed the news.

Dr. Richard Berger, who operated on Werth's wrist in 2012, is convinced that the veteran outfielder will return to full strength. If Werth's rehabilitation goes according to plan, he could return as early as August.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Nats equipped to handle loss of Werth

Nats equipped to handle loss of Werth

The Washington Nationals just caught another lousy break with the news that Jayson Werth will be sidelined until around August with a broken left wrist. That's not their first piece of bad news this season. Probably won't be their last.

Sometimes, teams get tested in ways they never imagined. One player goes down, and then another and then another. After a while, players look around and see a lineup card dotted with names they never imagined they'd be seeing on a regular basis. These kinds of things can sometimes bring a team closer, ramp up its competitive fire, etc.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A timeline of the Wale-Bryce Harper bromance

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A timeline of the Wale-Bryce Harper bromance

The year was 2011. "Moneyball" was still in theaters, Herman Cain was a presidential candidate and Bryce Harper had just turned 19 after humoring old fashioned baseball scouts by paying his dues in the Minors. Wale had just released his second studio album "Ambition," his first as a memeber of Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group.

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Super Scherzer fans 13 in win over Cubs

Super Scherzer fans 13 in win over Cubs

CHICAGO -- Bryce Harper belted his National League-leading 18th home run and Max Scherzer outdueled Jon Lester on Wednesday night to lead the Nationals to a 3-0 victory over the Cubs and a series win.

Scherzer struck out 13, two shy of his career best, and scattered five hits over seven innings for the win, while Lester fanned 10 over seven innings and took his first loss in six May starts. This was the fourth meeting between the two pitchers; Scherzer now leads, 3-1.

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John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryce joins Cruz atop homer leaderboard

Bryce joins Cruz atop homer leaderboard

CHICAGO -- Right-hander Max Scherzer had a pretty good performance on Wednesday night, with seven shutout innings and 13 strikeouts, but he was most enthusiastic during his postgame news conference about teammate Bryce Harper.

The 22-year-old Harper hit his 18th home run in the Nationals' 3-0 victory over the Cubs -- a solo shot to left field off left-hander Jon Lester -- and now is tied with the Mariners' Nelson Cruz for the Major League lead.

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John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Scherzer gives new meaning to 'command'

Scherzer gives new meaning to 'command'

CHICAGO -- Manager Matt Williams was a bench coach with the D-backs a few years ago and got to watch a young Max Scherzer work on a regular basis.

The way Williams sees it, Scherzer had the same stuff then but wasn't close to being the pitcher who dominated the Cubs in a 3-0 win on Wednesday.

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John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harper leads NL All-Star Game vote-getters

Harper leads NL All-Star Game vote-getters

Already a two-time All-Star, outfielder Bryce Harper leads all vote-getters in the first National League 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot results, announced on Wednesday.

Harper, 22, is the only Nationals player to appear in the voting results (top 15 for outfielders, top five for other positions).

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Greg Garno is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

In duel of winter prizes, no topping Scherzer

Lester on his game, but Nats' ace fans 13 Cubs in finale of hard-fought set

In duel of winter prizes, no topping Scherzer

CHICAGO -- You've got to beat the best to be the best. Joe Maddon says it all the time, and the chance was right there for the manager and his Cubs during Wednesday's 3-0 loss to the Nationals. But let it be known that the belt, as it were, stays with Max Scherzer and the Nats.

On an idyllic night in one of baseball's great old shrines, Scherzer showed the Cubs that he's not just the guy who was the best pitcher in the American League in 2013. He's mounting a challenge at Clayton Kershaw to become the best arm in the game. Period.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rehab assignment next for Rendon

Rehab assignment next for Rendon

CHICAGO -- Infielder Anthony Rendon played five innings of a simulated game on Wednesday, and it appears his next step is to begin a rehab assignment, perhaps as soon as Friday.

"He had a couple of at-bats," manager Matt Williams said. "He played all innings of defense, which is good. ... He didn't take breaks in between. He stayed out there.

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John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Homers by Harper, Span not enough

Homers by Harper, Span not enough

CHICAGO -- Jonathan Herrera scored on a walk-off double by Addison Russell with two outs in the ninth to lift the Cubs to a 3-2 victory over the Nationals and even the series. It was Chicago's 23rd one-run game and fifth walk-off win, both tops in the Major Leagues.

With the game tied at 2 and one out against Matt Grace, Chris Coghlan singled to center, but was forced at second on Herrera's grounder. Herrera was safe as shortstop Ian Desmond threw the ball high for an error. Russell then doubled into the gap in right-center.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Rogers: Scherzer, Lester provide early return on deals

Ace hurlers face off Wednesday in meeting of big free-agent signings

Rogers: Scherzer, Lester provide early return on deals

CHICAGO -- They were the two must-have starting pitchers in last winter's free-agent crop, signing contracts that accounted for almost 56 percent of the money going to the 10 starters who got multiyear deals.

It's going to be a while before economists and baseball historians figure whether Max Scherzer and Jon Lester were worth the investment. But before they meet on Wednesday night, we can draw some early conclusions:

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.TV unveils new media player, price drop

MLB.TV unveils new media player, price drop

Along with the new Web-based media player (version 5.0) that was introduced this week by Major League Baseball Advanced Media, there is another new reason to sign up now to watch live out-of-market games. The cost of a yearly subscription was lowered on Friday to $99.99 for MLB.TV Premium and $79.99 for MLB.TV.

This is the final weekend of May, and the price drop for MLB.TV reflects the fact that nearly a third of the regular season is in the books. The new HD media player has an in-page layout, so it all happens in your browser with no need for an additional download, and the new game scoreboard will make it easier to track games.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats lament errors in loss to Cubs

Nats lament errors in loss to Cubs

CHICAGO -- The Nationals have been racking up wins in May because they've been playing good, sound fundamental baseball.

But they suffered a 3-2 walk-off loss to the Cubs on Tuesday -- snapping a streak of eight wins in nine games -- mainly because of two mental errors in the ninth inning.

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John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rendon plays three innings in sim game

Barring setback, third baseman could begin rehab stint this weekend

Rendon plays three innings in sim game

CHICAGO -- Anthony Rendon continues to make progress in his return from a sprained left knee suffered in March and an oblique injury suffered in April. He played a three-inning simulated game at extended spring training in Florida on Tuesday.

If he doesn't suffer a setback, Rendon could begin a rehab assignment this weekend.

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John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Werth's return to lineup remains unclear

Left wrist contusion preventing left fielder from swinging a bat

Werth's return to lineup remains unclear

CHICAGO -- Jayson Werth rejoined the Nationals before Tuesday's game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, but whether the left fielder will be ready to return next week when he's eligible to be activated from the 15-day disabled list remains unclear.

The left wrist contusion still hasn't progressed to the point where Werth can swing a bat.

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John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

On the spot: Unselfish Roark provides big lift

Earning win in first start of season, righty has earned much respect in Nats clubhouse

On the spot: Unselfish Roark provides big lift

CHICAGO -- After winning 15 games with an earned run average of 2.85 in one season, most pitchers would throw a fit if they were unceremoniously dumped from the starting rotation the next season and relegated to a supporting role in the bullpen.

Tanner Roark, though, is not most pitchers.

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John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Taylor's flying catch highlights Nats' OF work

Left fielder likely saves run going horizontal to snag sinking liner; Harper hits wall to make grab

Taylor's flying catch highlights Nats' OF work

CHICAGO -- Tanner Roark and four relievers provided the pitching, and Michael Taylor and Bryce Harper provided the defense. That was a successful combination as the Nationals posted a 2-1 victory over the Cubs on Monday to improve to 17-5 in May.

Perhaps the biggest play of the game was Taylor's diving catch in the second inning. With two out and a runner on first base, Cubs starter Tsuyoshi Wada drove a liner to the left-center-field gap. The ball seemed certain to drop and roll all the way to the wall, but Taylor raced over from left field and made a diving catch. He was fully horizontal as the ball landed in his glove.

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John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ramos' go-ahead homer stands up for Nats' win

Ramos' go-ahead homer stands up for Nats' win

CHICAGO -- The Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs will see a lot of each other in the near future, as they play seven games over two weeks. In their first meeting, the Nationals struck first, edging the Cubs, 2-1, on Memorial Day at Wrigley Field.

Denard Span and Wilson Ramos homered for the National League East-leading Nationals, while Tanner Roark started in place of the injured Doug Fister and allowed a run and three hits in five innings. Cubs starter Tsuyoshi Wada struck out six and allowed a run, four hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings in his second start after beginning the season on the disabled list. After Wada departed, Ramos hit a go-ahead solo homer off right-hander Justin Grimm in the sixth.

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John Jackson and Sarah Trotto are contributors to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Remember when? Harper, Bryant meet again

Nats, Cubs rising stars played ball together growing up; 'Silk' immediately sets bar with homer

Remember when? Harper, Bryant meet again

CHICAGO -- Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant grew up in Las Vegas and traveled in many of the same baseball circles as young players. But personality-wise, the two Major League rising stars almost appear as if they're from different planets. Bryant is mostly quiet and reserved, while Harper is not.

On Monday, before the Nationals beat the Cubs, 2-1, to open a three-game series at Wrigley Field, someone asked Harper if he had checked the flags on the center-field scoreboard to see if the wind was blowing in or out.

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John Jackson and Sarah Trotto are contributors to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.