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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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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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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!