Tonight's series opener between the Nationals and Braves has been postponed due to dangerous storms sweeping through the area, the club just announced. No makeup date has been set, though manager Davey Johnson said he believes it will be played in August during the Braves' next trip to Washington.
Though the forecast looked unfavorable all afternoon, and though tornado warnings were issued in other parts of the region, the Nationals tried to hold out hope the game could be played. Eventually, they realized it wouldn't be possible.
Stephen Strasburg was scheduled to start for the Nationals against Atlanta left-hander Mike Minor. Michael Morse was due to make his season debut after coming off the disabled list earlier in the day.
Johnson said Strasburg will now start tomorrow's 4:05 p.m. game, with Gio Gonzalez starting Sunday's 1:35 p.m. series finale. The Braves will skip over Minor's rotation spot and instead go with NL ERA leader Brandon Beachy tomorrow as originally scheduled.
One interesting result of tonight's rainout: If everyone stays on schedule, Strasburg is now lined up to face the Red Sox June 8 at Fenway Park. He would not have pitched in that series otherwise.
Despite the lack of baseball, there was still some history made at Nationals Park. A group of 500 trombone players took the warning track shortly after 6 p.m. and became the largest such group ever to perform in one place at one time.
Nationals reliever Aaron Barrett has suffered a significant setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.
While rehabbing in Viera, Fla. on Friday, Barrett broke his right elbow. He will now see Dr. James Andrews on Monday to have his elbow fracture repaired and his ulnar collateral ligament examined.
Barrett had his UCL repaired last September by Andrews. He is eight months into the recovery, which generally takes 12 to 18 months. Barrett had at one point expressed hope of returning to the Nationals bullpen this September, but that is now in question.
Barrett also had bone chips removed from his elbow in September. And this past winter he had bone chips removed from his ankle. It has been a tough year for the right-hander, who broke onto the scene as a rookie in 2014.
Barrett, 28, has pitched in 90 total games for the Nationals. He posted a 2.66 ERA in 50 games in 2014. In 2015, Barrett held a 4.60 ERA through 40 outings.
The Nationals announced Barrett's elbow fracture on Sunday afternoon.
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Former Washington Nationals pitcher Drew Storen has been designated for assignment by the Toronto Blue Jays, thus likely ending his brief tenure with the team.
Storen was traded to Toronto by the Nationals in excahnge for outfielder Ben Revere in January. He has struggled this season with a 6.21 ERA in 33.1 innings pitched.
The right-handed reliever was a reliable pitcher for Washington, but his career with the Nationals was marred by the ninth inning collapse against the St. Loius Cardinals in the 2012 playoffs. Handed a two-run lead in the ninth inning, Storen came within one strike of the win. Instead, he blew the save giving up four runs.
Storen eventually recovered, but Mike Rizzo's faith in him never did. In 2015, the Nationals traded for Jonathan Papelbon despite a strong season by Storen as closer.
Now perhaps the same thing could be playing out this year for Papelbon as the Nationals target New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman.
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Having landed five hits already in three minor league rehab games, first baseman Ryan Zimmerman is on track to return to the Nationals on Tuesday when they hit the road to play at the Cleveland Indians.
The 12-year MLB veteran believes that by Tuesday he'll not only be ready to return, but to play every day.
"I think I'm good to go," Zimmerman said. "I feel good. I didn't take that much time off, but it was good to get down there and get some at-bats. I'll be ready to come help this team out in the second half."
Zimmerman, who is recovering from a left rib cage strain, played Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the Single-A Potomac Nationals. He went 5-for-12 with a home run, five RBI, a double and four runs scored.
The Nats wanted the 31-year-old to play three games and he came out of them feeling no complications from his injury.
"Everything feels good," Zimmerman said. "When I come back, I will be ready to go."
Zimmerman has been on the disabled list since July 7. He sustained the injury the day before during an at-bat against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Zimmerman is hitting .221/.284/.402 with 12 homers and 38 RBI in 74 games this season.
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