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Nationals extend association with Harrisburg

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals announced on Wednesday the signing of a four-year player-development contract extension with Double-A Harrisburg that starts in 2015.

The two clubs have been partners for each of the Nats' nine seasons in Washington, but their relationship dates back to the organization's days as the Montreal Expos. In all, they have been partners for 24 seasons.  

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"Our partnership with Harrisburg and the Senators dates back more than 20 years, and it is with that history in mind that we are excited to sign on with them for another four," general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. "Harrisburg is an Eastern League gem, and we are proud to continue our association with a team, and a town, that have such rich baseball histories."

During their time with the Nationals/Expos, the Senators have been to the Eastern League finals nine times and won five championship titles. Since the Nats arrived in Washington in 2005, the Senators have won the division twice and they made the playoffs in three of the last four seasons.

Over the past nine seasons, more than 50 players who spent time in Harrisburg have gone on to the Major Leagues with the Nationals. More than 20 players on the current 40-man roster played in Harrisburg, including outfielder Bryce Harper, right-hander Stephen Strasburg and shortstop Ian Desmond.

"We are very pleased to announce this extension of our relationship with the Washington Nationals," said Harrisburg Senators president Kevin Kulp in a statement. "They are a first-class organization from top to bottom and have placed not only great ballplayers on our team but also fine young men. We look forward to growing together in the years to come."

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

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