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Nationals' 2013 schedule released

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Nationals' 2013 schedule released

NEW YORK -- The Nationals will open 2013 with a home series against the Marlins, the first step in a new-look schedule that includes more interleague play and some other new quirks.

Major League Baseball unveiled its 2013 slate this afternoon, revealing for the first time how the 162-game season will play out now that there will be 15 teams in both the National and American Leagues.

The Houston Astros' relocation to the AL brings a more balanced schedule, but it also increases the total number of interleague games to 20 and requires at least one interleague series to take place every day of the season.

Thus, the Nationals will get an early test against an AL powerhouse when the White Sox come to town April 9-11. Like all NL East clubs, they'll face every team from the AL Central next season, with home interleague series also scheduled for May 7-8 against the Tigers and June 7-9 against the Twins, and road series scheduled for June 14-16 at the Indians, July 30-31 at the Tigers and Aug. 23-25 at the Royals.

The Nationals still maintain their annual Battle of the Beltways with the Orioles, but that series has been reduced to four games from six, all played in succession between the two cities. The Orioles will be in Washington May 27-28, with the Nationals playing in Baltimore May 29-30.

After commencing this season on the road in Chicago, the Nationals get to celebrate Opening Day at home in 2013, with the Marlins in town on Monday, April 1. After a built-in day off to protect against a rain-out, the two teams finish their series April 3-4.

Other 2013 highlights include an Independence Day home game against the Brewers, and an unconventional final week of the regular season that will see the Nationals travel to St. Louis Sept. 23-25 and then Arizona (Sept. 27-29).

The full schedule...

2013 NATIONALS SCHEDULE
Apr. 1, 3-4 vs. Marlins
Apr. 5-7 at Reds
Apr. 9-11 vs. White Sox (AL)
Apr. 12-14 vs. Braves
Apr. 15-17 at Marlins
Apr. 19-21 at Mets
Apr. 22-24 vs. Cardinals
Apr. 25-28 vs. Reds
Apr. 29-30, May 1-2 at Braves
May 3-5 at Pirates
May 7-8 vs. Tigers (AL)
May 10-12 vs. Cubs
May 13-15 at Dodgers
May 16-19 at Padres
May 20-22 at Giants
May 24-26 vs. Phillies
May 27-28 vs. Orioles (AL)
May 29-30 at Orioles (AL)
May 31-June 2 at Braves
June 4-6 vs. Mets
June 7-9 vs. Twins (AL)
June 11-13 at Rockies
June 14-16 at Indians (AL)
June 17-19 at Phillies
June 25-27 vs. Diamondbacks
June 28-30 at Mets
July 1-4 vs. Brewers
July 5-7 vs. Padres
July 8-11 at Phillies
July 12-14 at Marlins
July 16 All-Star Game at New York (NL)
July 19-21 vs. Dodgers
July 22-25 vs. Pirates
July 26-28 vs. Mets
July 30-31 at Tigers (AL)
Aug. 2-4 at Brewers
Aug. 5-7 vs. Braves
Aug. 9-11 vs. Phillies
Aug. 13-15 vs. Giants
Aug. 16-18 at Braves
Aug. 19-22 at Cubs
Aug. 23-25 at Royals (AL)
Aug. 27-29 vs. Marlins
Aug. 30-Sept. 1 vs. Mets
Sept. 2-4 at Phillies
Sept. 6-8 at Marlins
Sept. 9-12 at Mets
Sept. 13-15 vs. Phillies
Sept. 16-18 vs. Braves
Sept. 19-22 vs. Marlins
Sept. 23-25 at Cardinals
Sept. 27-29 at Diamondbacks

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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