Hot Nats bats vs. Rox help Gio to 100th win

Hot Nats bats vs. Rox help Gio to 100th win

WASHINGTON -- With two-fifths of their rotation in flux thanks to injuries to Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross, the Nationals will lean more heavily on the veterans in their rotation to give them strong outings similar to the one left-hander Gio Gonzalez turned in to help guide them to a 8-5 victory over the Rockies on Friday night at Nationals Park.

Gonzalez picked up the 100th victory in his career after he held the Rockies to two runs on four hits in six innings with five strikeouts. He was aided by a pair of solo homers from Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy, who drove in two runs and collected the 500th RBI of his career.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

3rd time's a charm: Gio reaches milestone

Lefty earns 100th career win; strong performance key due to Nats' injured rotation

3rd time's a charm: Gio reaches milestone

WASHINGTON -- Awaiting outside the Nationals' clubhouse was Gio Gonzalez's family, with smiles on their faces and balloons with the number 100 to celebrate his accomplishment.

Gonzalez earned his 100th career victory Friday night in the Nationals' 8-5 victory against the Rockies. He held Colorado to two runs on four hits in six innings with five strikeouts and just one walk. After the game, Gonzalez was reluctant to admit that the achievement meant much to him, instead choosing to hand out congratulations to his teammates.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Howard thrilled to join Nats' ring of honor

Howard thrilled to join Nats' ring of honor

WASHINGTON -- To say Frank Howard was the happiest man at Nationals Park is an understatement. A few minutes before they played the Rockies on Friday night, the Nationals put Howard's name in the ring of honor, located on the right-field facade near the foul pole. Howard's name sits next to Jackie Robinson and former Nats manager Frank Robinson.

"I'm not one to live in the past, but I'll tell you what -- any time you have a chance to be on Frank and Jackie Robinson's team, it's a real thrill for me," Howard said. "It's nice when someone says, 'Welcome to the ring of honor.'"

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.

Cole to face Rockies in 1st career start at Nationals Park

Cole to face Rockies in 1st career start at Nationals Park

A.J. Cole's circuitous route to Nationals Park will be completed Saturday afternoon, when he makes his first home start as the Nats face the Rockies.

Drafted by the Nats in 2010 but traded to the A's, in part for lefty rotation member Gio Gonzalez, in '11, Cole returned to the Nats in a three-team trade involving the Mariners in '13. Cole replaced the injured Stephen Strasburg (right elbow soreness) and made his '16 debut for the Nats on Monday, striking out eight in seven innings but giving up all the runs in a 4-3 loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards.

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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fedde, Soto among top prospect performers Friday

Indians' No. 7 outduels Blue Jays' No. 17 in impressive matchup

Fedde, Soto among top prospect performers Friday

Fans in attendance for Friday's matchup between Class A Lake County and Lansing were treated to a pitchers' duel between starters Triston McKenzie and Ryan Borucki, who combined for 11 scoreless innings and 18 strikeouts. Ultimately, it was McKenzie, the Indians' No. 7 prospect, who recorded the win as the Captains shut out Lansing, 3-0.

Making his fifth start for Lake County, McKenzie surrendered just two hits and a walk over six scoreless innings. He struck out nine, throwing 57 of his 84 pitches for strikes.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Barrett in good spirits despite setback

Righty optimistic he'll be 'stronger than ever' upon return

Barrett in good spirits despite setback

WASHINGTON -- It was a cruel twist of fate that the day Nationals right-hander Aaron Barrett fractured his right elbow was also the day he felt best during his long recovery from Tommy John surgery. On the 11th pitch of a 20-pitch simulated game in late July, he felt a snap in his arm.

Barrett had been watching every Nationals game from the team's Spring Training home in Viera, Fla. -- he still does, even on the West Coast -- and was hoping to return this season and contribute in September as a possible callup when rosters expand. He was set to begin a Minor League rehab assignment within the next week, the end finally in sight as he worked his way back from a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Those dreams came to a halt.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dominant Scherzer leads Nats' shutout of O's

Dominant Scherzer leads Nats' shutout of O's

WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Max Scherzer was dominant at Nationals Park on Thursday night as the Nationals blanked the Orioles, 4-0, to win the finale of the four-game, home-and-home Battle of the Beltways clash. The Nats put the brakes on a four-game skid, while ending the O's three-game winning streak.

The Nats extended their National League East lead to eight games after the Marlins lost Thursday. The O's, meanwhile, remained one game behind Boston and Toronto -- who both lost -- in the American League East, and they hold a two-game edge in the second AL Wild Card spot.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

Ryan Baillargeon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore and covered the Orioles on Thursday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nationals acquire lefty Rzepczynski from A's

Club deals Minors infielder Schrock in exchange; Lopez optioned to Triple-A

Nationals acquire lefty Rzepczynski from A's

WASHINGTON -- In need of another pitcher in the bullpen, the Nationals acquired left-hander Marc Rzepczynski and cash in a trade with the A's for Minor League infielder Max Schrock on Thursday.

Rzepczynski was activated before Thursday's 4-0 win over the Orioles, while the Nationals optioned right-hander Reynaldo Lopez to Triple-A Syracuse. Rzepczynski did not see action with Max Scherzer picking up most of the load with eight dominant innings.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.

'That's what aces do': Scherzer devises gem

With Nats stuck in 4-game skid, righty studies O's before allowing 2 hits in 8 IP, fanning 10

'That's what aces do': Scherzer devises gem

WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer realized the circumstances heading into his start Thursday night against the Orioles. The Nationals had lost four consecutive games with a bullpen that had been taxed regularly lately after so many short outings from starters.

With that in mind, Scherzer turned in a dominant performance at Nationals Park. He held the Orioles to two hits in eight innings and struck out 10 to lead the Nationals to a 4-0 victory. It gave Washington a much-needed win and gave its bullpen a breather heading into the weekend.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats encouraged as Strasburg plays catch

Club hopeful righty will be ready after DL stint; Ross could restart rehab assignment soon

Nats encouraged as Strasburg plays catch

WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg has played catch on back-to-back days, an encouraging sign just days after he was placed on the disabled list with right elbow soreness.

"[The ball is] coming out pretty easy," manager Dusty Baker said. "I asked him how he felt afterwards, and he said he felt good and his ball's coming out pretty good."

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Scherzer pulled off a between-the-legs trick play

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Scherzer pulled off a between-the-legs trick play

OK, we get it, it's time to just give Max Scherzer a YouTube channel for trick videos. After all, this is a pitcher who struck out 20 batters in a game, has thrown multiple no-hitters and thoroughly dominated the Orioles on Thursday night in the Nats' 4-0 victory (8 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 10 K). So of course, his next move is to just start turning trick plays during games. 

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MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

'Old school' Dusty thriving in new-look MLB

'Old school' Dusty thriving in new-look MLB

WASHINGTON -- John "Dusty" Baker Jr. is sitting in the confines of his office at Nationals Park, sifting through information about the Orioles, Thursday night's opponent.

Assiduously, Baker is marking down information in black ink on the lineup card. He doesn't use a computer or handheld device. In fact, there is none on his desk.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ledecky brings pool's gold in DC

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Ledecky brings pool's gold in DC

Some people get nervous before throwing out a first pitch. Katie Ledecky is not some people.

Fresh off winning five medals, including four golds, at the Rio Olympics, Ledecky came back home to kick off Wednesday's O's-Nats game at Nationals Park. It's hard to throw a baseball with all of that hardware around your neck, though, so she decided to seek some help -- from Bryce Harper.

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Murphy's slam part of Nats' unfinished rally

Murphy's slam part of Nats' unfinished rally

BALTIMORE -- Manny Machado lit up the scoreboard all night and Matt Wieters contributed a late three-run homer to help the Orioles slug their way past the Nationals, 10-8, at Nationals Park on Wednesday night. Both Wieters and Machado -- who finished with four hits, including his 29th homer -- drove in four runs in support of left-handed starter Wade Miley, who was acquired by Baltimore last month and earned his first win as an Oriole with five-plus innings of two-run ball.

The win was the Orioles' third straight over the Nationals and came hours after the team placed ace Chris Tillman on the disabled list.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

Alex Putterman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington and covered the Orioles on Wednesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Turner continues rise with Nats-record 8 straight hits

Turner continues rise with Nats-record 8 straight hits

WASHINGTON -- It wasn't until Trea Turner was watching video of his last at-bat of the night -- a strikeout in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 10-8 loss to the Orioles -- that he realized the significance of his accomplishment over the previous eight at-bats.

There Turner saw a graphic flash on the screen that with a hit in eight consecutive plate appearances, he had tied a franchise record. Turner matched Andre Dawson (June 4-7, 1983, with the Expos) and Dimitri Young (May 31-June 1, 2007, with the Nationals) as the two players in franchise history with a hit in eight consecutive plate appearances.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Nationals on solid ground with Rizzo in charge

Nationals on solid ground with Rizzo in charge

WASHINGTON -- There's no secret to Mike Rizzo's success, and thus the success of the Nationals, who are running away with the National League East as the baseball season heads toward Labor Day.

"It's like anything else, it starts with scouting and player development," Rizzo, the Nationals' president of baseball operations and general manager, told MLB.com prior to Wednesday night's 10-8 loss to the Orioles at Nationals Park.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Belisle's extended outing not lost on Baker

Nats' manager appreciates 3-inning stint amid tough stretch; righty to receive rest

Belisle's extended outing not lost on Baker

WASHINGTON -- After pitching three scoreless innings in an 8-1 loss to the Orioles on Tuesday night, Nationals reliever Matt Belisle was not expected to be available on Wednesday and possibly Thursday against the O's, Nationals manager Dusty Baker said on Wednesday.

It was the first time Belisle had pitched that many innings since Aug. 15, 2014, when he was with the Rockies. Belisle entered Tuesday's game with two outs in the bottom of the third inning in relief of starter Reynaldo Lopez and exited after allowing two singles in the sixth.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.

Harper unveils cap collection for charity

Harper unveils cap collection for charity

WASHINGTON -- When Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper traveled to New York in January to spend the day at the New Era Cap offices, he had two ideas in mind for the cap he would help design for his Harper's Heroes Foundation.

Harper created a traditional baseball cap, something people could wear at a game, the grocery store or in everyday life. Nationals manager Dusty Baker wore one to his pregame meeting with the media. Harper also wanted to create a ski cap, an item he regularly wears, but he also had a different idea in mind.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lopez can't solve Orioles; Nats stifled by Gausman

Lopez can't solve Orioles; Nats stifled by Gausman

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles have relied on a simple formula for most of the season, trying to outslug their opponents. But they deviated from the norm Tuesday night, tallying their first seven runs without a homer in combination with six shutout innings from starter Kevin Gausman to beat the Nationals, 8-1.

Baltimore continues to get the best of Washington in the Battle of the Beltways, sweeping the two games at Camden Yards this season. Since 2012, the O's are 16-6 against the Nationals.

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Ryan Baillargeon is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Orioles on Tuesday.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamalcollier.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

O's 3-for-3 on challenges, which hurt Nats' chances

O's 3-for-3 on challenges, which hurt Nats' chances

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles took advantage of instant replay in an 8-1 victory over the Nationals on Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

Baltimore challenged three rulings in the game and won all three challenges, two of which snuffed out Nationals rallies. According to MLB Public Relations, the Orioles became the third team -- Rockies and Mets are the others -- to have three successful challenges in the same game this season.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.

Ross throws first 'pen session since shutdown

Ross throws first 'pen session since shutdown

BALTIMORE -- Nationals right-hander Joe Ross threw a bullpen session Tuesday afternoon at Camden Yards, his first time throwing off the mound since he was pulled off a Minor League rehab assignment earlier this month.

Ross, who has not pitched in the Majors since July 2 because of right shoulder inflammation, came away excited about the way his arm and shoulder felt after tossing about 25 pitches. He had made two Minor League rehab starts in late July before more soreness in his shoulder forced the Nats to shut him down.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Revere losing playing time, but not complaining

Revere losing playing time, but not complaining

BALTIMORE -- Ben Revere started the 2016 season as the Nationals' starting center fielder. Now, he is a backup and he understands why his playing time has been limited.

Revere is having the worst season of his career, hitting .213 with a .259 on-base percentage entering Tuesday's action. It didn't help that he suffered a torn oblique during the season opener against the Braves. He missed more than a month because of the injury, and it changed his swing after he came off the disabled list.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.

Cole pitches 'outstanding game' in place of Stras

Righty strikes out 8 over 7 innings, allows 4 runs to powerful O's lineup in loss

Cole pitches 'outstanding game' in place of Stras

BALTIMORE -- A.J. Cole was preparing to start in Pawtucket for Triple-A Syracuse when he got word Monday afternoon that he was needed in Baltimore to start in place of Stephen Strasburg, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow soreness. Cole had just been optioned back to the Minors on Saturday after spending two days with the Nationals, which included him missing his previously scheduled start in Triple-A on Thursday.

"It's been a weird couple days," Cole said. "This is what the game is, gotta be ready, and that's what I've been getting ready for."

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Strasburg lands on DL with elbow soreness

Nationals call up Cole to replace right-hander in rotation

Strasburg lands on DL with elbow soreness

BALTIMORE -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who was scheduled to start Monday's game against the Orioles, was scratched because of right elbow soreness and placed on the 15-day disabled list. The Nats have recalled right-hander A.J. Cole, who is replacing Strasburg in the rotation.

Even though manager Dusty Baker didn't have any concerns about Strasburg's health after his past three starts -- including his last outing on Wednesday in which he gave up nine runs in 1 2/3 innings against the Rockies -- the righty will now be out until at least Sept. 6.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.

Nats drop close one in Beltway Series opener

Nats drop close one in Beltway Series opener

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles entered the series with the Nationals in the midst of a 1-5 homestand that's seen them fall from first place in the American League East to third. In need of a win to stop the slide, rookie Dylan Bundy and Baltimore's power-hitting lineup delivered in a 4-3 win at Camden Yards on Monday night.

Bundy threw a career-high 94 pitches to get through six innings of two-run ball, retiring nine of the final 10 batters he faced. It marked the second consecutive quality start for the Orioles, who had gone eight straight games without one before Sunday.

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Ryan Baillargeon is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Orioles on Monday.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamalcollier.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats unable to convert on 8th-inning threat

Murphy gets caught off second after leadoff double before Zim K's in big spot

Nats unable to convert on 8th-inning threat

BALTIMORE -- The Nationals had a chance to at least tie the game in the eighth inning in their 4-3 loss to the Orioles on Monday night at Camden Yards, but a baserunning blunder and not delivering with runners in scoring position proved costly.

With left-hander Donnie Hart on the mound and Washington down by a run, Daniel Murphy led off with a double. Bryce Harper was the next hitter and he hit a comebacker to Hart, who noticed that Murphy was leaning too far off second base. Hart then threw to shortstop J.J. Hardy, who was able to quickly tag Murphy for the first out of the inning.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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

Mike Petriello

After week off, Harper looks like his old self again

Slugger has .526 on-base and .700 slugging since taking seat

After week off, Harper looks like his old self again

It's probably too simplistic to merely say "Bryce Harper struggled for months, sat for a week and has been fantastic since." It's probably a bit of cherry-picking to also note that a struggling Justin Upton sat for three days and has been crushing since, or that a struggling Andrew McCutchen sat for three days and has been outstanding since, or that the Cubs have currently given a struggling Jason Heyward a long weekend off and are hoping for similar returns. We don't know what we don't know.

Here's what we do know: In eight games since returning from what the Nationals termed a "stiff neck," Harper -- who is set to square off against the Orioles tonight in a game featured on MLB Plus and MLB Network -- has looked a whole lot more like the hitter who terrorized pitchers in 2015 and early on in '16, and a whole lot less like the player who'd mysteriously lost nearly all of his power in May, June and July.

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Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats denied sweep in walk-off loss to Braves

Nats denied sweep in walk-off loss to Braves

ATLANTA -- As Nationals manager Dusty Baker often says, "The Braves never give up." And that was proven once again on Sunday afternoon at Turner Field as Atlanta rallied for a 7-6 win on Jace Peterson's walk-off home run in the 10th inning.

With the score tied at 6, Peterson -- who also crashed into the wall in center to make a catch in the third inning -- swung at a 3-2 pitch off Shawn Kelley and hit the ball into the right-field seats for his seventh home run of the season.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

Pat James is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.