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Nats re-sign left-hander Duke

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Nats re-sign left-hander Duke

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nationals have re-signed left-hander Zach Duke to a one-year, major-league contract, addressing one of their needs for an affordable long reliever.

The deal has not been announced yet, but a club source confirmed the signing.

Duke returns after a solid September cameo in Washington in which he posted a 1.32 ERA over eight appearances. He spent the majority of the season as a starter at Class AAA Syracuse, going 15-5 with a 3.51 ERA.

The 29-year-old, an All-Star with the Pirates in 2009, figures to serve as the long man in the Nationals' bullpen, taking over the role held by Tom Gorzelanny this season. Gorzelanny performed well in the role -- he boasted a 2.88 ERA in 45 games -- but the Nationals elected not to tender him a contract last week, worried his salary would jump to as high as $4 million through arbitration.

Terms on Duke's contract aren't yet known, but he'll make significantly less than Gorzelanny.

The Nationals are still looking for at least one more left-handed reliever after both Sean Burnett and Michael Gonzalez declared for free agency. They could re-sign either veteran, though the market for Burnett appears deep, with as many as eight clubs interested in his services.

Burnett could command a three-year contract similar to the one the Giants recently gave left-hander Jeremy Affeldt.

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Nats shuffle lineup with Trea Turner starting in center field vs. Indians

Nats shuffle lineup with Trea Turner starting in center field vs. Indians

Nationals (58-41) vs. Indians (56-41) at Progressive Field

The Nationals are beginning their road trip in Cleveland on Tuesday night with several notable changes to their lineup, just in time for a big interleague series against the first-place Indians.

In center field for the first time will be Trea Turner, who remains in the lineup despite Ryan Zimmerman coming off the disabled list. Turner has six games of experience playing outfield in the minor leagues, but has never done so in the majors. Turner spoke on Sunday about how he feels ready for the challenge of playing center field.

Bryce Harper is back in the starting lineup, but is now hitting second. And Ben Revere is in at left field with Jayson Werth serving as the designated hitter.

The pitching matchup is a good one with Gio Gonzalez (6-8, 4.53) set to square off against Danny Salazar (11-3, 2.75). Gonzalez is hoping to build off his strong outing of six innings and one run allowed in his last start. 

First pitch: 7:10 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - Gio Gonzaez vs. Indians - Danny Salazar

NATS

CF Trea Turner
RF Bryce Harper
2B Daniel Murphy
C Wilson Ramos
DH Jayson Werth
3B Anthony Rendon
1B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Danny Espinosa
LF Ben Revere
(LHP Gio Gonzalez)

INDIANS

TBA
RHP Danny Salazar

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Ryan Zimmerman reinstated off DL; placed back in startling lineup

Ryan Zimmerman reinstated off DL; placed back in startling lineup

Ryan Zimmerman has been reinstated off the 15-day disabled list, the Nationals announced Tuesday.

The veteran infielder sprained his rib cage in the first week of July and was retroactively placed on the 15-day DL on July 7.

Zimmerman, who was batting .221 with 44 runs, 38 RBIs and 12 HRs before his injury will be back in the lineup on Tuesday when the Nationals open a three-game road series against the Cleveland Indians Monday night.

The 31-year-old will bat sevenths and play first base.  

With Zimmerman back at first base, Daniel Murphy will move back to second base and rookie Trea Turner will move from second to center field, his first-career start in center field.

The Nationals are 58-41, and lead the N.L. East by five games despite losing five of their last seven games.

RELATED: TAKING STOCK OF PROSPECTS AND SLUMPS

 

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Former Nats 1st rd. pick set to make MLB debut with rival Mets

Former Nats 1st rd. pick set to make MLB debut with rival Mets

The Nationals have enjoyed some very good luck with their first round picks in recent years, from Bryce Harper to Stephen Strasburg to Anthony Rendon. Lucas Giolito is still in the very early stages of his MLB career, but looks like a future star.

That has not always been the case for Washington, though, as they swung and missed on plenty of draft picks before Mike Rizzo took over as GM. One of their busts was a left-handed pitcher named Josh Smoker, whom they took with the 31st overall pick in 2007.

Smoker never pitched for the Nats, but has finally reached the majors now nine years later. The New York Mets called him up on Tuesday for his long awaited MLB debut.

Smoker is now 27 and joins the Mets after posting a 4.73 ERA in 43 games at Triple-A Las Vegas. Last year he had a 3.12 ERA across three Mets affiliates.

With his numbers this year, it's hard to tell what type of impact he will make for the Mets in the majors. But if he sticks around, it could make for an interesting storyline in the Nats-Mets rivalry. 

[RELATED: State of the Nats: Turner's pickoff steal, Indians next]

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