Nats, Bucs strike deal for prospect Bostick

Infielder will go to Pittsburgh in exchange for Gushue, cash

Nats, Bucs strike deal for prospect Bostick

The Nationals and Pirates have agreed on a deal that will send infielder Chris Bostick to Pittsburgh in exchange for catcher Taylor Gushue and cash considerations.

Bostick, 23, hit a combined .250 with eight home runs and 51 RBIs in 135 games at Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse in 2016.

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Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

5 days that set the course for the Nationals

5 days that set the course for the Nationals

PITTSBURGH -- The Nationals were in turmoil by the end of the 2015 season. They didn't make the postseason, so they dismissed Matt Williams as manager.

In came Dusty Baker, who guided the Nats to their third National League East title. The veteran skipper hopes to take them further than the NL Division Series this October.

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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 rally past Pirates with 5-run eighth

Nats rally past Pirates with 5-run eighth

PITTSBURGH -- There was a lot of pushing and shoving behind home plate in the third inning of the Nationals and Pirates' series finale Sunday afternoon at PNC Park. Plenty of give-and-take on the scoreboard, too. The Pirates pushed, but the Nats pushed back with a five-run eighth inning, pulling out a 10-7 win in the back-and-forth, four-hour affair.

The Pirates and Nats combined to use 17 pitchers, one shy of the Major League record for a nine-inning game. In total, 45 different players took the field, tying the NL record and falling one short of matching the Major League high for a nine-inning game.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

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, Fernandez's final opponent, mourn ace

Murphy: 'No words to describe loss' of Marlins' exuberant right-hander

Nats, Fernandez's final opponent, mourn ace

PITTSBURGH -- Jose Fernandez's final game was against the Nationals last Tuesday, and he was dominating, pitching eight shutout innings and striking out 12 in a 1-0 victory at Marlins Park.

Fernandez, who passed away Sunday morning in a boating accident, left a positive impression on the Nationals. Take Daniel Murphy, the last hitter to face Fernandez. He was able to get to know him when both were on the 2016 National League All-Star team.

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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 exits with sore thumb after awkward slide

Right-fielder initially worried he reinjured UCL, listed as day to day

Harper exits with sore thumb after awkward slide

PITTSBURGH -- Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper left Sunday's 10-7 victory over the Pirates in the bottom of the third inning because of a sore left thumb. He is listed as day to day, but will have X-rays taken on the thumb on Monday.

In the top of the third inning against Pirates right-hander Tyler Glasnow, Harper hit a triple down the right-field line. As he headed toward third base, Harper thought the Pirates were going to make a play on him. As it turned out, third baseman Jung Ho Kang's fake tag deked Harper. Pittsburgh never came close to making a play, and Harper hurt the thumb sliding awkwardly into the bag. At first, Harper thought he tore the UCL in the thumb.

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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.

Tempers flare in Pittsburgh after deke, near-HBP

Nats starter Cole's ejection prompts benches-clearing fracas

Tempers flare in Pittsburgh after deke, near-HBP

PITTSBURGH -- The Nationals believed it was unnecessary and wrong. The Pirates thought it was typical and crafty. Their disagreement over Jung Ho Kang's fake tag on Bryce Harper ended with both dugouts and bullpens emptying onto the field, sparking a benches-clearing incident in the third inning of Washington's 10-7 win Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.

Tempers began to boil in the top of the third, when Bryce Harper laced a line drive to right field. He stretched the hit into a triple, hustling to third base even as right fielder Josh Bell's throw sailed wide of Kang. But Kang faked a tag, leading Harper to make an awkward slide into the bag.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Roark, Nats return home as division champs to face D-backs

Roark, Nats return home as division champs to face D-backs

The Nationals return home for the first time as 2016 National League East champions when they open a four-game series against the D-backs in Washington on Monday.

Tanner Roark starts the series opener for the Nats, who clinched their third NL East title in five seasons on Saturday night in Pittsburgh. Roark (15-9, 2.70 ERA) has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his last five outings. The right-hander has a 1.44 ERA in four starts this month.

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Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats jump on Bucs, wait out Mets, clinch NL East

Nats jump on Bucs, wait out Mets, clinch NL East

PITTSBURGH -- What felt inevitable all spring and summer became official Saturday night. For the third time in five years, the Nationals are National League East champions.

The Nats beat the Pirates, 6-1, then waited 23 minutes until the Mets' 10-8 loss to the Phillies in New York, which officially clinched the division title and punched Washington's postseason ticket. Then the celebration was on.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

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.

Baker: Lopez could make postseason roster

Nats' No. 3 prospect could be long man in playoffs after scoreless outing

Baker: Lopez could make postseason roster

PITTSBURGH -- Nationals right-hander Reynaldo Lopez was outstanding during Saturday's 6-1 victory over the Pirates. He replaced Joe Ross in the third inning and pitched 5 1/3 innings without allowing a run and struck out six batters.

Nationals manager Dusty Baker was so impressed that he said he hasn't ruled out putting Lopez, the third-best prospect in the Nationals' farm system according to MLBPipeline.com, on the postseason roster.

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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.

After tough '15, Nats rejoice in Step 1 of ultimate goal

After tough '15, Nats rejoice in Step 1 of ultimate goal

PITTSBURGH -- Max Scherzer left last season with a bitter taste in his mouth. After a season with World Series expectations ended in disappointment and not even a postseason berth, every member of the Nationals felt the same.

That feeling fueled these 2016 Nationals, who led the National League East for all but four days this season. And on Saturday night, they clinched the division championship for the third time in the last five seasons.

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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 have choices before meeting Dodgers

Injuries create uncertainty for Nos. 3-4 starters, lefty relievers in NLDS

Nats have choices before meeting Dodgers

PITTSBURGH -- The Nationals won their third National League East title by a comfortable margin. They now head into the postseason, where they'll open against the Dodgers, who clinched the NL West Sunday, in the NL Division Series.

L.A. is a team that gave Washington fits during the regular season, winning five out of the six meetings. Infielder Justin Turner proved to be a serious problem at Nationals Park, going 5-for-12 with two home runs and five RBIs.

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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 celebrated clinching in a Ledecky swim cap

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Harper celebrated clinching in a Ledecky swim cap

Katie Ledecky spent her summer absolutely decimating competition, collecting four gold medals and one silver while competing at the Rio Olympics. 

The Nationals did the same in the NL East, wrapping up the division after beating the Pirates, 6-1, and then watching the Mets lose to the Phillies, 10-8, from the clubhouse.

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Vote: Turner up for Best Rookie Award

Balloting open until Nov. 11 to reward game's elite

Vote: Turner up for Best Rookie Award

Voting is underway through Nov. 11 at MLB.com/awards to help decide who wins Best Rookie regardless of league affiliation, and all five of your candidates are currently playing key roles in pennant races: Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer, Indians center fielder Tyler Naquin, Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and Nationals center fielder Trea Turner.

The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor Major League Baseball's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five groups, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) voters and fans like you at MLB.com.

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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.

Blown save aside, Melancon has warm Pittsburgh return

Closer appreciates ovation as he tries to help Nats the way he aided Bucs

Blown save aside, Melancon has warm Pittsburgh return

PITTSBURGH -- Mark Melancon admitted it was a little strange to be sitting in the visitors' dugout at PNC Park, wearing his red Nationals hoodie, for the first time since he was traded from the Pirates in July.

That weirdness carried over to when he took the mound in the ninth, when although they did not play his usual walkup song, "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC, he was greeted with a tribute on the video board and a standing ovation from the 29,513 fans in attendance. The Pirates' offense didn't treat him as nicely, rallying to hand Melancon his first blown save as a member of the Nationals during a 6-5 Pittsburgh win in 11 innings.

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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.

Inbox: Could Trea win NL Rookie of the Year Award?

Beat reporter Bill Ladson answers questions from fans

Inbox: Could Trea win NL Rookie of the Year Award?

Is Trea Turner eligible for the National League Rookie of the Year Award? If he is, he should be the winner.
-- Pat B., Virginia Beach, Va.

Turner is eligible for NL Rookie of the Year Award, but I don't think he will win. I think Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager is the front-runner.

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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.

Strained buttocks keeps Nats' Murphy out of lineup

Strained buttocks keeps Nats' Murphy out of lineup

PITTSBURGH -- Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy, who was out of the lineup Friday for the fifth consecutive game, had an MRI exam recently, and it was revealed he has a mild strain in his buttocks, according to manager Dusty Baker. Murphy will be shut down for a few days.

Will Murphy be ready for the postseason?

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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.

Celebration delayed as Nats fall to Bucs in extras

Celebration delayed as Nats fall to Bucs in extras

PITTSBURGH -- With the champagne chilling and their clubhouse prepared for a celebration, the Nationals couldn't seal the deal Friday night at PNC Park. About an hour after the Mets put the Nats' division-clinching party on hold in New York, the Pirates kept Washington from officially punching its ticket to the postseason. The Bucs cracked Mark Melancon, their former closer, then little-used September callup Jacob Stallings slapped a pinch-hit, walk-off single to left field in the 11th inning to cap a 6-5 comeback win over the Nats.

Stallings was the last man on the Pirates' bench, the 25th different Pittsburgh player used in the four-hour, 36-minute marathon. He had done the math earlier in the 11th inning, coming to the conclusion that the only way he'd hit -- the only way he'd see a big league field for the first time since June 21 -- was with the bases loaded and two outs. That situation presented itself against Yusmeiro Petit, and Stallings delivered his second Major League hit over Anthony Rendon's head.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

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.

Bullpen lefties key to Nats' postseason hopes

Bullpen lefties key to Nats' postseason hopes

WASHINGTON -- Sometime during the postseason, the Nationals will likely face a slugging left-handed hitter in a key late-inning situation. When this happens, manager Dusty Baker will have to make a vital decision: Which left-handed reliever to call on?

Washington's lefty relief corps has undergone a makeover. For most of the year, the Nats carried three southpaws in the bullpen, but in July and August, Felipe Rivero was traded, Sammy Solis got hurt and Oliver Perez began to struggle. Washington quickly traded for Marc Rzepczynski and Sean Burnett.

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Alex Putterman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nationals offered Ramos contract extension

Nationals offered Ramos contract extension

NEW YORK -- The Nationals have offered catcher Wilson Ramos a contract extension, a baseball source told MLB.com on Thursday. However, the source said that the offer was made "during the beginning of the season" and that the parties have not spoken in some time. The club did not confirm the report.

According to a report at TodaysKnuckleball.com, the offer was for three years at around $30 million, short of what Ramos' camp is seeking.

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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.

Nationals break out, cut magic number to 2

Nationals break out, cut magic number to 2

MIAMI -- The Nationals have been searching for offense during a four-game losing streak that slowed their march to secure the National League East. They had managed just eight runs during the stretch without second baseman Daniel Murphy, who was out of the starting lineup for a fourth consecutive game with a left leg injury.

But Washington's offense broke out in Wednesday night's 8-3 victory over the Marlins at Marlins Park, including a three-run homer from Ryan Zimmerman and a solo blast from Trea Turner, to back a strong start from right-hander Max Scherzer, who won No. 18.

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

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

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

Nationals hope Zim's timely blast a harbinger

Three-run homer could help struggling first baseman swing fortune in his favor

Nationals hope Zim's timely blast a harbinger

MIAMI -- Ryan Zimmerman thought he had homered in the second inning Wednesday night, driving the ball a Statcast™-projected 406 feet from home plate with 106-mph exit velocity, but it was caught at the wall in center field by Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich. It was a microcosm of a nightmare year for Zimmerman, who rarely shows emotion on the field but yelled in frustration nearing second base as the ball was caught. And he could let out a sigh of relief when he made up for it in the fourth.

The Nationals are hoping what happened in the fourth inning -- when he hammered a breaking ball for a three-run homer to left field -- is a preview of what he can provide down the stretch. The homer, Zimmerman's first since Sept. 6, helped lead Washington to an 8-3 victory Wednesday night in Miami and provided a bit of relief for a player in need of it.

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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 up for Best Pitcher Award

Balloting open until Nov. 11 to reward game's elite

Scherzer up for Best Pitcher Award

Some get it done with pure heat. Some dazzle with cartoonish curveballs. Some are so dialed in with command that they'd seemingly be able to paint the corners of the strike zone while blindfolded.

But when it comes to being an elite pitcher in the Major Leagues, only one thing really matters: getting hitters out.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Worth the wait: Turner rewards family, friends

With Lake Worth crew in attendance, Nats rookie goes deep for first and only hit in Miami

Worth the wait: Turner rewards family, friends

MIAMI -- Nationals center fielder Trea Turner showed off in front of family members Wednesday night, hitting a blistering home run in an 8-3 victory over the Marlins.

Turner -- who is from Lake Worth, Fla., which is a little over 60 miles away from Miami -- had a lot of family and friends visit Marlins Park to watch him play this week. He was hitless in the first two games of the three-game series, and it didn't help that he was pulling off the ball.

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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.

Vote: Murphy up for Best Hitter

Balloting open until Nov. 11 to reward game's elite

Vote: Murphy up for Best Hitter

Babe Ruth once said of hitting, "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it."

Following that advice most impressively in 2016 are Jose Altuve of the Astros, Kris Bryant of the Cubs, Daniel Murphy of the Nationals, David Ortiz of the Red Sox and Mike Trout of the Angels. They have socked it so often, so hard, so productively and so memorably, that they are your five choices for Best Hitter in the Esurance MLB Awards.

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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 lose, but NL East magic number down to 4

Nats lose, but NL East magic number down to 4

MIAMI -- With the club hanging on the fringes of the postseason race and right-hander Jose Fernandez approaching 180 innings, the Marlins had discussed the possibility of Tuesday night being Fernandez's final start this season.

Then, Fernandez delivered his most dominant outing of the year, striking out 12 in a season-high eight innings to lead the Marlins to a 1-0 victory over the Nationals at Marlins Park.

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

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

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

Despite loss, Roark a model of consistency

Despite loss, Roark a model of consistency

MIAMI -- Nationals manager Dusty Baker often calls right-hander Tanner Roark his workhorse, and Tuesday was no different in a 1-0 loss to the Marlins at Marlins Park.

Roark pitched seven innings for the 12th time this season and crossed the 200 innings threshold for the first time in his career. While he went deep and reached a milestone, Roark was not happy the Nationals lost to right-hander Jose Fernandez, who pitched eight shutout innings for his 16th win 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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats: Report on Harper's shoulder inaccurate

Nats: Report on Harper's shoulder inaccurate

MIAMI -- Nationals manager Dusty Baker denied an SI.com report that outfielder Bryce Harper is currently dealing with a sore right shoulder. The skipper said that Harper was not playing a shallow right field in recent games due to throwing issues.

Baker pointed out that Braves third-base coach Bo Porter would have let the Atlanta baserunners take an extra base on Harper last weekend if such an injury existed.

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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.