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MLB suspends Hamels 5 games

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MLB suspends Hamels 5 games

Major League Baseball announced it has suspended Cole Hamels for five games after the Phillies left-hander acknowledged he intentionally hit Nationals rookie Bryce Harper with a fastball during the first inning of last night's game.

The punishment, handed down by MLB's senior vice president of standards and on-field operations, Joe Garagiola Jr., also includes an undisclosed fine.

The five-game suspension, common for pitchers because it typically forces them to miss one start, could actually have no effect on Hamels' schedule. The Phillies have been planning to activate lefty Cliff Lee off the disabled list Wednesday, and with a day off Thursday, they can bring back ace Roy Halladay on normal rest to pitch Saturday, allowing Hamels to return from his suspension Sunday and technically not miss a start.

Hamels drilled Harper with a first-pitch fastball in the bottom of the first inning of last night's nationally televised game. Harper proceeded to go first-to-third on a routine single to left, then stole home as Hamels made a pickoff throw to first.

After the game, Hamels publicly acknowledged the purpose of his pitch to the 19-year-old.

"I was trying to hit him," the 2008 World Series MVP said. "I'm not going to deny it. That's just -- you know what, it's something that I grew up watching, that's what happened, so I'm just trying to continue the old baseball -- I think some people kind of get away from it. I remember when I was a rookie the strike zone was really, really small and you didn't say anything just because that's the way baseball is. Sometimes the league is protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball."

Told of Hamels' comments after the game, Harper took the high road.

"He's a great guy, great pitcher and knows how to pitch," Harper said. "He's an All-Star. It's all good."

It does not appear Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann, who hit Hamels in the knee with a pitch in the third inning, has been punished at all by MLB. Zimmermann insisted he was not retaliating for the Harper beaning.

"No," the right-hander said. "I mean, he was bunting, and I'm going to take an out when I can get an out. I was trying to go away, and just cut a fastball really, really bad and unfortunately hit him in the knee."

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Ivan Rodriguez becomes first former Nationals player to be voted into Hall of Fame

Ivan Rodriguez becomes first former Nationals player to be voted into Hall of Fame

Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez became the first former Nationals player (2005-present) to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He was inducted in his first year of eligibility, marking the 52nd first-ballot hall of famer in history. 

Rodriguez, who was the first free agent signed by current Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, played the final two seasons of his career with Washington in 2010-11. During his time in D.C. he hit .254 six homers and 68 RBI. Pudge's greatest contribution to the Nationals came from his leadership and work ethic. He guided Stephen Strasburg through his rookie season and also helped develop Wilson Ramos so he could pass the torch to him. 

During his 21-year career, Pudge made 14 all-star teams, won 13 gold gloves, won seven silver slugger awards, led his league in caught-steeling percentage nine times, and was named American League MVP in 1999 with the Texas Rangers. He became a World Series champion in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. Pudge's 13 gold gloves are the most ever by a catcher, and his 2,844 career hits are the most ever by a player who appeared in 50 percent or more of their career games as a catcher.  

In addition to Rodriguez, former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Raines is the franchise leader (Expos/Nationals) in walks (793), runs (947), stolen bases (635) and triples (82). Raines was an all-star seven times and he won a silver slugger in 1986 with the Expos. He is the only player in MLB history with at least 100 triples, 150 homers and 600 RBI in a career, and the only player to steal at least 70 bases in six consecutive seasons. 

Related: Bryce Harper wants Nationals to spend money on players, not team store

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Bryce Harper wants Nationals to invest in Matt Wieters, Greg Holland more than facilities

Bryce Harper wants Nationals to invest in Matt Wieters, Greg Holland more than facilities

Bryce Harper isn't one to keep his opinions to himself. The Nationals slugger is outspoken about what he wants, whether that's to "Make Baseball Fun Again" or to make at least $400 million on his next contract

On Wednesday, he gave his take on how the Nats should be investing their money this summer. Here's Harper responding to a tweet from ESPN's Jim Bowden.

Harper's message: Players over everything else. Sorry, gift shop. 

It's plain to see where the 2015 NL MVP is going with this. Obviously, he wants as much talent around him as possible for a chance to win the World Series. 

Matt Wieters, a four-time All-Star catcher, and Greg Holland, a two-time All-Star closer, could be significant additions to Washington's roster. 

Harper is set to become a free agent in 2018, at which point an organization like the New York Yankees will be prepared to offer him both a massive salary and a massive investment in the players around him.

The slugger probably hopes his current team will try to surround him with winning pieces in an effort to keep him. But if a report about the Nationals' reaction to his contract demands proves accurate, they may have another agenda. 

There's Harper drama around the Nationals? Just a regular Wednesday here in Washington.

MORE NATIONALS: Nationals avoid arbitration with Harper, three others