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Report: Upton met with Phillies and Braves

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Report: Upton met with Phillies and Braves

As the Nationals move through the 2012 offseason with an apparent interest in signing an outfielder, they may face competition from some of their closest rivals.

According to NBC Sports, free agent center fielder B.J. Upton has already met with both the Braves and the Phillies. The Braves have an opening because of the expected departure of Michael Bourn, another big name on the outfield free agent market.

Upton Tweeted on Friday his enjoyment of the free agent tour as he is likely to see interest from more than just two teams. 

I'm really blown away by the love other cities are showing me right now. Can't wait to see how this pans out. #intrigued

— BJ Upton (@BJUPTON2) November 16, 2012

The meeting on Thursday with Atlanta took place at Turner Field with Braves general manager Frank Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez there to make the pitch. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reported the Braves view Upton as “as the most attractive outfielder available on the free agent market.”

Upton’s meeting with Philly was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and less information is known as to how it went.

The Nationals would also seem to have interest in Upton, a player they have been linked to several times over the past few years. No other teams have been said to have contacted him yet, but it looks like there is an increasing chance Upton lands in the National League East. Where exactly is anyone’s guess.

Bowman says Upton and Bourn could each be looking for deals as long as five years and for as much as $75 million. Upton being two years younger may be the reason he is further along in the process of getting signed. If the Nationals signed either player for those terms they would have Jayson Werth and either Bourn or Upton locked in to their outfield through 2017. With Harper also in the mix, they would be solidifying their three outfield positions for the foreseeable future.

The Nationals still remain committed to re-signing first baseman Adam LaRoche. Both Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson have voiced their intention to bring him back and all signs point to that being their first order of business. While updates on LaRoche and the Nationals has been scarce, their division rivals are aggressively looking to make their first moves. If the Nationals do sign Upton or Bourn, it could affect retaining LaRoche, and vice versa. Whichever move they make first, if they choose to do one or the other, could set up the dominoes for the rest of their offseason. Either move would then affect the future of Michael Morse and the positions of first base and left field.

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Nats get Solis back, still waiting for Harper's MRI results

Nats get Solis back, still waiting for Harper's MRI results

The Nationals offered no new information on Bryce Harper's sore left thumb or Daniel Murphy's sore left buttock on Monday. The results of Harper's X-ray are not back and Murphy's still shut down and out of the lineup for the seventh straight game.

They did, however, get lefty reliever Sammy Solis back from the disabled list. That was a nice boost for a team that is missing two of its best position players and one of its best pitchers in Stephen Strasburg.

Solis was their most effective lefty reliever when he landed on the DL on Aug. 16 with left shoulder inflammation. He threw two simulated games in Viera, Fla., including one on Sunday when he tossed 25 pitches.

Simulated games, though, only replicate so much. His goal now is simple: get as much work as he can in the last seven games to get up to speed before the playoffs.

"[A simulated game] is not quite a game. I think we all know that. I'm still feeling good and ready to go," Solis said. "Hopefully I'll get some game experience and get back on track for the postseason."

Since Solis threw on Sunday, he's unlikely to pitch in the team's opener against the Diamondbacks on Monday. That leaves six games and then the four days off before the NLDS begins on Friday, Oct. 7 to get work in.

That's not a long time, but the Nats will take what they can get from the left-hander, who has enjoyed a breakout season with a 2.35 ERA in 34 appearances.

"Hopefully we have a situation where we can get him into the game tomorrow," manager Dusty Baker said. "It doesn’t leave a bunch of time for us to get him sharp. But they told me that he’s feeling good and he threw the ball well.”

For Harper, the Nationals continue to wait. Usually X-rays do not take as long as MRIs to get the results back. So, it would be surprising if there was no update on Tuesday.

Like Solis, Murphy getting his rhythm back will also be important. He has just two at-bats since he hurt himself sliding on Sept. 17.

“How many at-bats he needs, that’s a toss-up between at-bats and him getting extra days to get healthy and get well," Baker said. "Which ones are more important: His legs to get healthy, or his at-bats, and are we risking that leg by pushing him too early? Murph knows himself. Murph has a strong mind. I’m just glad that we shut Murph down when we did, and we had the luxury of shutting him down when we did. Because if he had played any longer, he’d have been out for probably the entire postseason.”

Baker went on to say that he does expect Murphy to be able to play in the postseason. As for Stephen Strasburg, he said he still doesn't know.

NOTES:

-- The Nationals made a minor trade with the Pirates on Monday. They sent infielder Chris Bostick to Pittsburgh for catcher Taylor Gushue and cash considerations. Gushue was a fourth round pick in 2014 out of the University of Florida. He has a .231 average and .659 OPS in 243 minor league games.

[RELATED: Thoughts on the death of Marlins star Jose Fernandez]

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Nats begin final homestand with Roark set to face Diamondbacks

Nats begin final homestand with Roark set to face Diamondbacks

Nats (91-64) vs. Diamondbacks (64-91) at Nationals Park

The Nationals already have the NL East division locked up and know they will be playing the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series next week. But first, they have seven more regular season games, all at home. They begin that final homestand on Monday night with the Arizona Diamondbacks in town.

That means Matt Williams will make his return to Nationals Park for the first time since he was fired last October. He is now the third base coach of the D'Backs, who can technically help their division rivals, the Dodgers, by beating the Nats. L.A. and Washington are jockeying for home field advantage in that first round.

Bryce Harper (thumb) and Daniel Murphy remain out of the Nats' lineup. The Nats are still not ready to reveal the results of Harper's X-ray.

Tanner Roark (15-9, 2.70) will make his 32nd start of the season. He saw the D'Backs on Aug. 2 in Arizona and tossed 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball.

Opposite Roark will be former first round pick Archie Bradley (7-9, 5.02). Bradley pitched on Aug. 1 the first series between these teams and allowed eight runs - seven earned - in 3 1/3 innings.

First pitch: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - Tanner Roark vs. Diamondbacks - Archie Bradley

NATS

CF Trea Turner
LF Jayson Werth
3B Anthony Rendon
C Wilson Ramos
2B Stephen Drew
1B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Brian Goodwin
SS Danny Espinosa
RHP Tanner Roark

DIAMONDBACKS

TBA
RHP Archie Bradley

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