DeRosa could rejoin Nats in days

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DeRosa could rejoin Nats in days

BALTIMORE -- The Nationals expect to have utilityman Mark DeRosa back from the disabled list within days, perhaps in time for Sunday's series finale against the Orioles.

DeRosa is starting in left field for Class A Potomac tonight and is scheduled to play nine innings for the first time since landing on the DL with a strained left oblique muscle. If that goes well, manager Davey Johnson suggested the 37-year-old could be in uniform as soon as Sunday at Camden Yards.

"He's going to play nine innings tonight and see how he comes out of that, and we'll take it one day at a time," Johnson said. "He could be here tomorrow or another 2-3 days. We'll see."

DeRosa was hitless in his first four at-bats on rehab, though he did draw two walks last night. Afterward, he exchanged emails with his big-league manager and gave an encouraging report.

"He left me an email and said that he was feeling great," Johnson said. "He wanted to know what the plan was. And I said: 'Well, the plan was for you to get some at-bats, start feeling real good and let me know when you're feeling real good.' And his answer was: 'I'm feeling great.'"

Signed over the winter to a one-year, 800,000 contract, DeRosa was expected to be one of the Nationals' top players off the bench and see significant playing time at a variety of positions. He got off to a sluggish start at the plate, though, and had just three hits in 37 at-bats before landing on the DL in late-April.

What will DeRosa's role be upon his return? Opportunities to start will probably be limited, but he does want DeRosa to be ready to step in at third base should struggling Ryan Zimmerman need a break.

"Right now, I was more concerned in having somebody who can pick up Zim if his shoulder starts bothering him or something," Johnson said. "So I wanted him to play third his first time down there at Potomac, and he's hopefully going to play third tonight. Really the only other replacement I've got for Zim if he gets hurt is Steve Lombardozzi. And if I have him in left field, I really don't want to make that change, putting him in a new position."

DeRosa's pending return will force the Nationals to part ways with someone else off their bench. Candidates include rookie Tyler Moore (though he's become one of the team's hottest hitters) or veterans Xavier Nady (hitting .150) or Roger Bernadina (hitting .233). Neither Nady nor Bernadina has any options left and thus would have to pass through waivers to be sent to Class AAA.

Nationals make big jump in updated sportsbook World Series odds

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Nationals make big jump in updated sportsbook World Series odds

Bovada has released their updated World Series odds after the first month of the 2016 MLB season and the Nationals are rising the ranks. They are now tied for second in best odds to with the World Series with the New York Mets. The only team ahead of them is the Chicago Cubs, who they face in their next series beginnning Thursday.

Here are teh full updated odds courtesy of Bovada:

                                            Odds on 4/4/16             Current Odds (5/316)               

Chicago Cubs                                       5/1                    5/1                                           

New York Mets                                      12/1                  10/1     

Washington Nationals                            18/1                  10/1

Boston Red Sox                                   14/1                  12/1     

Chicago White Sox                                33/1                  12/1

Toronto Blue Jays                                 10/1                  12/1                                         

Kansas City Royals                               14/1                  14/1     

Los Angeles Dodgers                            12/1                  14/1                                         

San Francisco Giants                            8/1                    14/1                                         

Texas Rangers                                      25/1                  18/1                             

Pittsburgh Pirates                                  20/1                  20/1                             

St. Louis Cardinals                                18/1                  20/1                                         

Detroit Tigers                                        20/1                  22/1                                         

Seattle Mariners                                    40/1                  22/1                                         

Arizona Diamondbacks                          25/1                  28/1                                         

Baltimore Orioles                                   40/1                  28/1     

Cleveland Indians                                  18/1                  33/1

Houston Astros                                     16/1                  33/1     

Los Angeles Angels                              40/1                  33/1

Oakland Athletics                                  66/1                  40/1     

Miami Marlins                                        50/1                  50/1

New York Yankees                                25/1                  50/1                                         

Tampa Bay Rays                                   40/1                  50/1                                         

Colorado Rockies                                 150/1                75/1                                         

Philadelphia Phillies                               150/1                75/1                                         

Minnesota Twins                                    50/1                  125/1                                       

San Diego Padres                                 125/1                150/1                                       

Cincinnati Reds                                     125/1                200/1                                       

Milwaukee Brewers                                125/1                200/1                                       

Atlanta Braves                                       150/1                500/1                                       

Nats look to bounce back against Royals with Strasburg on the mound

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Nats look to bounce back against Royals with Strasburg on the mound

Nats (18-8) vs. Royals (14-12) at Kauffman Stadium

Tuesday night was a tough loss for the Nationals, as they saw Jonathan Papelbon blow a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. On Wednesday, they will look to bounce back with Stephen Strasburg (4-0, 2.25) on the mound.

It's a quick turnaround with a 2:15 p.m. ET first pitch. Despite that, Wilson Ramos is back in there at catcher. Ryan Zimmerman will be the desiganted hitter with Clint Robinson starting at first base.

First pitch: 2:15 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, XM 869
Starting pitchers: Nats - Stephen Strasburg vs. Royals - Kris Medlen

NATS

CF Michael Taylor
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
DH Ryan Zimmerman
2B Daniel Murphy
LF Jayson Werth
C Wilson Ramos
1B Clint Robinson
SS Danny Espinosa
(RHP Stephen Strasburg)

ROYALS

SS Alcides Escobar
3B Mike Moustakas
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Kendrys Morales
LF Alex Gordon
2B Omar Infante
RF Jarrod Dyson
C Drew Butera
(RHP Kris Medlen)

Follow along with GameView here.

NL East: Braves could hire Bud Black if they fire manager Gonzalez

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NL East: Braves could hire Bud Black if they fire manager Gonzalez

How weird would this be?

The Atlanta Braves are not likely to keep manager Fredi Gonzalez around long with the team holding the worst record in baseball through 26 games, and a new report has Bud Black as the prohibitive favorite to replace him. That's Bud Black, as in the guy who nearly became the Nats' manager this past winter before they turned to Dusty Baker.

Choosing Baker has proven to be smart so far as the Nats are atop the NL East after a month of games, but Black isn't expected to be sitting out long. If he were to land in Atlanta, that could make for some interesting matchups between the teams and debates among those who had strong opinions about either candidate during the Nats hiring process.