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Burnett throws, likely available Wednesday

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Burnett throws, likely available Wednesday

NEW YORK -- Sean Burnett threw off a bullpen mound this afternoon and reported no pain in his elbow, though manager Davey Johnson doesn't plan to use the left-hander before Wednesday.

Burnett, who hasn't appeared in any of the Nationals last seven games due to lingering elbow irritation, threw 15 pitches in the bullpen prior to the Nationals' series opener against the Mets. He said the elbow isn't 100 percent healthy -- "I mean, it's September, so it's not going to be 100 percent," he said -- but feels considerably better than it did after his last appearance.

"It was just more typical ball flight that I'm used to seeing and movement," he said. "It probably hadn't been like that in 2-3 weeks."

Though Burnett was hopeful he'd be cleared to return to game action Tuesday, Johnson said he's likely to wait one more day, wanting to make sure his setup man makes it through a light tossing session first.

"I don't know how much he put into the 'pen," the manager said. "Was it game-like, or what? Normally coming back from something bothering him, I give him a day of rest to regroup, and then I go. But I would expect he'd want to be in tomorrow night. I would expect that of Sean: My riverboat gambler."

Burnett dealt with this issue for a while in midsummer but bounced back and posted a 1.38 ERA while holding opponents to a .149 batting average in 15 appearances from July 13-August 10.

But Burnett hasn't enjoyed a clean outing since, allowing 19 batters to reach safely over his last six innings and blowing late leads to the Cardinals on consecutive days last weekend.

Reluctant at first to be shut down, he finally relented once he realized it might allow him to be available for the stretch run.

"They had to convince me of that," Burnett said. "That was hard for me. It feels like it's been a month for me. But it got to a point where it wasn't fair for me, it wasn't fair to my teammates, to go out there not 100 percent in a pennant race and put stuff in jeopardy. It wasn't right to my teammates. But I felt like a week off would freshen me up a little bit and hopefully get back with no pain. And today it was better. It seemed like the action on the ball was back."

The Nationals haven't had Burnett undergo an MRI, though doctors performed manual tests on the elbow and found no evidence of structural damage.

"No MRI. I didn't want to look and see what that was going to show," he said. "I've already had surgeries on it. It's not going to look pretty. ... I'm not scared something's wrong. Obviously going through the ligament tests, I passed all those. The doctor said the ligament was fine, so I don't see anything else in there."

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New York Daily News puts Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in Yankees uniforms

New York Daily News puts Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in Yankees uniforms

You can always count on the New York Daily News to run an audacious cover. The tabloid delivered again Friday with an image edited to show two of the league's best young hitters in Yankees pinstripes: Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper and Orioles short stop Manny Machado. 

"Bats to the Future" is exactly the headline you'd expect, too.  

It's hard to tell what's more odious to Washington and Baltimore fans: the image itself or the suggestion that baseball's new collective bargaining agreement makes it easier for the Yankees to poach their stars. 

The premise of that argument comes from sources who say the new CBA contains two changes beneficial to New York: reduced revenue sharing burden (due to tweaks in how sharing is calculated, plus a deduction for the cost of building and running Yankee Stadium) and an increased luxury tax threshold. 

Without going into number crunching detail, the Daily News explains how the club could afford Harper and/or Machado when they become free agents after the 2018 season. 

The article's tone of inevitability, despite its many assumptions, will rankle fans of all 29 other teams. After all, the Yankees aren't the only franchise interested in Harper and Machado. 

The Nationals and Orioles will presumably try to keep their stars. But to do that, they may have to fend off potentially historic money from the Bronx. 

MORE BASEBALL: Nats let Ben Revere walk

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Nationals decline to tender the contract of Ben Revere

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USA Today Sports

Nationals decline to tender the contract of Ben Revere

Ben Revere was brought to Washington in the hopes he could solve the centerfield and lead-off issue that plagued them the previous year. After just one year, the Nationals have decided to move on from Revere as they declined to tender him.

The move makes Revere a free agent after a .217/.260/.300 season that fell way below expectations. Revere tied his career-high with two home runs and added 24 RBI while scoring 44 runs. 

Stay tuned for more information!