Harper jumps out to lead in NL All-Star balloting

Harper jumps out to lead in NL All-Star balloting

At the first update in the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot for the National League, the Cardinals have four players in line to start the July 14 Midsummer Classic at Great American Ball Park, and another four among the voting leaders.

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, a two-time All-Star, leads all NL players in balloting with 1,116,582 total votes.

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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 Web-based media player

MLB.TV unveils new Web-based media player

Today's schedule features a staggered rollout of 15 games from lunchtime specials through late West Coast night action, and you are about to have another one of those MLB.TV moments that make you realize how far we have come since that first live video broadcast stream by a major sports league here in 2002.

Major League Baseball Advanced Media is introducing its new Web-based media player (version 5.0), for those who currently subscribe or those who sign up now for MLB.TV Premium ($114.99 a year or $24.99 a month) or regular MLB.TV ($94.99/$19.99). You'll notice the difference right away as the HD media player has an in-page layout, so it all happens in your browser with no need for an additional download.

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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.

Scherzer leads Nats in finale against Lester, Cubs

Scherzer leads Nats in finale against Lester, Cubs

Chicago manager Joe Maddon has been around the game for a while in both leagues, but that didn't stop him from calling Nationals starter Max Scherzer's pitching "as good as it gets."

And he'll have to prepare for that challenge as the Nationals send Scherzer to the mound on Wednesday to close out the series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Scherzer, who enters with a 1.67 ERA this season, has allowed two runs in his last three starts, having struck out 33 combined batters in those games.

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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.

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.

Clutch Harper backs solid Gio in victory

Clutch Harper backs solid Gio in victory

WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper continues to be a game-changer for the Nationals as he drove in two runs in a 4-1 victory over the Phillies on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park. The Nationals improved their record to 26-18.

"Being able to get the W was huge," Harper said. "What we did today to get that W -- going on the road right now -- I'm just glad we ended it on a good note in this homestand."

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Ben Standig is a contributor to MLB.com and Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gio cruises after wiggling out of tough spot

In fourth, Gonzalez gets big strikeout to avoid costly inning

Gio cruises after wiggling out of tough spot

WASHINGTON -- For a brief moment in the fourth inning, it appeared as if Gio Gonzalez might flash back to his poor outing from a week ago.

But unlike then -- when the former 21-game-winner cruised through three innings before hitting a roadblock -- Gonzalez powered through the hiccup and pitched into the seventh inning of Washington's 4-1 series-clinching win versus Philadelphia.

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

Harper comes through in clutch to down Phils

Right fielder drives in a pair and throws out runner at second

Harper comes through in clutch to down Phils

WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper showed Sunday afternoon that he doesn't have to hit the long ball to look like "The Natural." Harper drove in two runs and made a great defensive play in right field in a 4-1 victory over the Phillies.

After the game, manager Matt Williams revealed the secret to Harper's success this season and it's more than just leading the National League in homers.

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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.

Fister hopes to start throwing soon

Fister hopes to start throwing soon

WASHINGTON -- After Sunday's 4-1 victory over the Phillies, right-hander Doug Fister was standing outside the Nationals locker room talking to one of the security guards and was in good spirits.

Fister, who is on the disabled list with right forearm tightness, said he is feeling better and hopes to start throwing soon.

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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.

Nationals recall Jordan, send down Cole

Nationals recall Jordan, send down Cole

WASHINGTON -- Right-handed pitcher A.J. Cole has been optioned to Triple-A Syracuse, the Nationals announced Sunday.

Righty Taylor Jordan has been recalled in the corresponding move to give the Nationals a fresh arm out of the bullpen after Cole's extended outing on Saturday.

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

Nats' win streak ends behind shaky Strasburg

Nats' win streak ends behind shaky Strasburg

WASHINGTON --- Left-hander Cole Hamels proved to be too much for the Nationals, who lost to the Phillies, 8-1, at Nationals Park on Saturday afternoon.

Hamels pitched eight solid innings, allowed the one run, five hits and struck out five batters. He received plenty of run support as the Phillies scored a season-high eight runs. Ryan Howard had three hits and drove in two runs.

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Bill Ladson and Todd Zolecki are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Strasburg roughed up again by Phillies

Right-hander describes recent struggles as 'a test'

Strasburg roughed up again by Phillies

WASHINGTON -- Saturday's start against Philadelphia was the latest chapter in Stephen Strasburg's disappointing 2015 campaign.

The former first overall pick lasted 3 2/3 innings and was roughed up for six runs, five earned, in the 8-1 loss.

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

Janssen throws perfect frame in Nats debut

Janssen throws perfect frame in Nats debut

WASHINGTON -- After spending almost two months on the disabled list because of rotator cuff tendinitis, right-hander Casey Janssen made his Nationals debut Saturday and pitched one perfect inning in an 8-1 loss to the Phillies at Nationals Park.

Janssen entered the game in the ninth inning and retired the Phillies in order. He threw a total of eight pitches and seven of them went for strikes.

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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.

Nationals visit Little Leagues in Washington

Nationals visit Little Leagues in Washington

WASHINGTON -- Gio Gonzalez and Clint Robinson spent one hour Saturday morning talking to members of Washington's Northwest Little League and facing all the hard-hitting questions.

"Who was your favorite player growing up?"

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

Scherzer shows desire to be complete player

Along with pitching 8 strong innings, Nats ace singles and scores decisive run from first

Scherzer shows desire to be complete player

WASHINGTON -- Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond recently figured out what makes teammate Max Scherzer the competitor that he is.

Desmond realized that Scherzer wants to be more than just a great pitcher. Scherzer wants to be an all-around athlete. He wants to get better at the plate as well as having great instincts while running the bases.

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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.

Werth: Nats benefiting from relaxed Harper

Rehabbing outfielder focused on keeping distractions from derailing ultimate goal

Werth: Nats benefiting from relaxed Harper

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper has been carrying the Nationals for more than a month with his big bat, and teammate Jayson Werth called Harper's fast start "awesome."

Harper clubbed his 16th home run, and 11th in 14 games, during Friday's 2-1 win over the Phillies.

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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.

Nats ride Max, Harper's HR to 6th straight win

Nats ride Max, Harper's HR to 6th straight win

WASHINGTON -- Nationals starter Max Scherzer was brilliant on the mound yet again, and it was his leadoff single in the sixth and run scored from first base on Ian Desmond's double that decided Washington's 2-1 win over Philadelphia on Friday night at Nationals Park.

On the bump, Scherzer outdueled Sean O'Sullivan, lasting eight innings and allowing only a second-inning run. Now 5-3 on the season, after winning his fourth straight start, Scherzer recorded his sixth consecutive outing of at least seven innings pitched.

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Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Battle of the Aarons: Harang vs. Barrett in standoff

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Battle of the Aarons: Harang vs. Barrett in standoff

The Phillies were in Colorado on Thursday night, where Sean O'Sullivan and Boone Logan partook in a thrilling post-national anthem, pregame standoff that ended in a mutual decision to turn away. Well, the Phillies apparently got a taste for the standoff thrill, because ahead of Friday night's game in Washington, starter Aaron Harang and Nationals reliever Aaron Barrett faced off in yet another standoff.

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