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Rodriguez has elbow surgery

Rodriguez has elbow surgery

Henry Rodriguez has made two stints on the disabled list this season for injuries the Nationals said were to his index finger and his lower back. Turns out the biggest issue with the erratic reliever was a bone spur in his right elbow that required surgery today.

Rodriguez was operated on by team orthopedist Wiemi Douoguih; he may not be able to pitch in winter ball but is expected to be fully healed for the start of spring training.

General manager Mike Rizzo said Rodriguez only began complaining about discomfort in his elbow in roughly mid-July, but it's not certain how long he was pitching with the injury, or what effect it had on his performance. After failing to surrender an earned run in any of his first nine appearances this season, Rodriguez posted an 8.14 ERA over his final 26 games.

"I'm not sure what the effect was, but Henry has got great upside," Rizzo said. "He's a power pitcher, and if this injury prevented him from performing at his accustomed level, then that's a good thing. Because when he gets healthy, he should revert back to the guy we saw in spring training and the guy we saw at the beginning of the season."

Rizzo said this injury was similar to the one that caused fellow reliever Drew Storen to miss the season's first 3 12 months. Given a comparable recovery time, Rodriguez could be healed by December, at which point he could appear in some winter league games in his native Venezuela in preparation for spring training.

The Nationals will face the same dilemma with the 25-year-old next year as it did this year: Because Rodriguez is out of options, he will have to make the Opening Day roster or else be exposed to waivers.

Meanwhile, top Nationals draft pick Lucas Giolito underwent Tommy John surgery today, a procedure planned over the last week. Giolito, the 16th overall pick in the June draft, was operated on in his native Los Angeles by orthopedist Lewis Yocum. He's expected to miss the entire 2013 season.

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Nats creating distance, Harper keeps rolling, can Murphy still win MVP?

Nats creating distance, Harper keeps rolling, can Murphy still win MVP?

Notes and observations from the Nats' 4-0 win over the Phillies on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park…

Roark bounces back: Tanner Roark rebounded nicely from his uneven start against the Orioles last Wednesday to go seven shutout innings with just four hits and a walk surrendered against the Phillies. It was the 16th time in 27 starts this season that Roark has lasted at least seven innings. And it was the eighth time this year that Roark has gone at least seven frames with zero earned runs allowed. No other pitcher has done that more times this year than Roark.

Roark's season ERA is now at 2.87, almost exactly the 2.85 mark he put up in 2014, his last full year as a starter. His ERA+, though, is better at 146, compared to the 131 he had in 2014. And his strikeout rate (7.1 SO/9) is better than it was two years ago (6.3).

Werth hits No. 19: Jayson Werth hit another homer on Monday night, his third in his last four games. He now has 19 on the year, one away from recording the sixth 20-homer season of his career. Werth has seven in August alone which ties the most he's ever hit in a month since he signed with the Nats before the 2011 season. His career-high is eight, set back in 2010 with the Phillies.

Harper gets on again: Bryce Harper didn't get a hit on Monday night, but he did walk and score a run and has now reached base in all 16 games he's played since coming back from the neck stiffness that kept him out a week. In those 16 games he's hit 22-for-61 (.361) with three homers, 17 RBI, 11 walks, 13 runs, six doubles and three steals. His OPS during that stretch is 1.098. That's not a huge sample size, 16 games, but it's more than half a month. If he can be anything close to that for the final month of the season, the Nats' lineup could look a lot different. 

Murphy keeps it up: It has perhaps gone unnoticed by some with the emergence of Trea Turner and the resurgence of Harper, but Daniel Murphy is having another very good month at the plate. With his two hits on Monday, Murphy is now 30-for-93 (.323) with five homers, 22 RBI, 20 runs and a .933 OPS in August. 

Murphy still has the best batting average in the NL at .345, but he has some work to do if he still wants to win the league's MVP award. He's currently tied for third in fWAR with Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. They are both at 4.9, while Kris Bryant (7.6) and Corey Seager (6.9) are far ahead. It seems amazing that Murphy could be hitting .345 with 25 homers and 98 RBI on a first-place team and at this point be third in the MVP race, but that's where he realistically stands right now. Bryant and Seager also lead first-place teams. Bryant is hitting .305 with 35 homers and an MLB-best 109 runs scored, while Seager is batting .323 with 23 homers and also plays plus-defense at shortstop.

Magic number to 23: It's that time of year. With the Nats' win on Monday night and the Marlins having lost their third straight game, the Nats' magic number to win the NL East is now 23. That's pretty low for this point of the season and it could start going down very quickly. The Nats do not play a team outside of the NL East until they go to Pittsburgh on Sept. 23. And the Nats have the best intra-division record in baseball at 36-16.

[RELATED: Turner on playing like a little kid, rest helped Ramos]

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Tanner Roark and Jayson Werth lead Nationals past Phillies 4-0

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Tanner Roark and Jayson Werth lead Nationals past Phillies 4-0

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Tanner Roark won't fly under the radar the way he's pitching.

Roark threw seven impressive innings, Jayson Werth hit a solo homer and the Washington Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-0 on Monday night.

Roark (14-7) allowed four singles and struck out five. Marc Rzepczynski tossed a perfect eighth and Mark Melancon finished off the four-hitter.

"It would be fine if people don't notice because maybe he can surprise some people," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "I don't think he really cares. He just wants the victories."

The wins are piling up for Roark, who went from winning 15 games in 2014 to pitching in relief last year. He's more focused on helping the NL East-leading Nationals win the division.

"August is a grinder month," Roark said. "Everybody has to stay locked in. We all have bumps and bruises but we have to keep going."

Phillies rookie Jake Thompson (1-4) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings. It was the longest and best of his five career starts.

Werth lined a solo shot to left in the first against his former team. It was his third homer in four games. A member of Philadelphia's 2008 World Series championship team, Werth was greeted by boos, as usual.

"Home runs come in streaks. When you start hitting a couple, you think about it," Baker said. "I knew he was locked in watching him in BP. He was hitting them out and keeping them low."

Bryce Harper raced home from first on Anthony Rendon's single to left-center to make it 2-0 in the first. Clint Robinson and Trea Turner had RBI singles off Frank Herrmann in the ninth.

Thompson settled in nicely after a rough start. His last pitch was a nasty curve that froze Turner for strike three.

"It was night and day from my performance in the first four (starts)," Thompson said. "It's kind of a relief. It feels a lot better."

Roark didn't need much support. The righty stifled the Phillies again. He's 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA against them this season.

The Nationals snapped a two-game losing streak. They have a nine-game lead over the Marlins and Mets.

DIVISION DOMINANCE

Washington is 36-16 against the rest of the NL East. It's the best division record in the majors.

ROSTER MOVES

OF Michael A. Taylor was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse by the Nationals. RHP Lucas Giolito was optioned down.

ODUBEL ON THE MOVE

Phillies All-Star CF Odubel Herrera will likely play a corner outfield spot in winter ball. Manager Pete Mackanin has been impressed with Aaron Altherr in center and prospect Roman Quinn also plays there.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg threw a bullpen session one week after he was placed on the DL with elbow soreness. Strasburg is expected to return to the rotation when he's eligible.

UP NEXT

RHP Max Scherzer (14-7) starts for the Nationals against RHP Jerad Eickhoff (9-12) on Tuesday night. Scherzer is 6-1 against the Phillies in nine career starts. Eickhoff had 10 strikeouts in his only career start vs. Washington on Sept. 25, 2015.

RELATED: NATS MAKE TWO ROSTER MOVES

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Nats look to get back on track as Roark starts at Phillies

Nats look to get back on track as Roark starts at Phillies

Nats (75-55) at Phillies (60-70) at Citizens Bank Park

Having lost six of their last eight, the Nats now hit the road to face the Phillies for three games. This could be a good opportunity to collect some wins against a lesser team, as the Nats swept each of their last two head-to-head series.

Also working in the Nats' favor is that Tanner Roark is on the mound. Roark is 13-7 with a 2.99 ERA and is very good at going deep into games, having pitched at least seven innings in 15 of his 25 starts.

Ryan Zimmerman gets the day off as manager Dusty Baker looks to get him some rest. Clint Robinson is instead playing first base.

First pitch: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - Tanner Roark vs. Phillies - Jake Thompson

NATS

CF Trea Turner
LF Jayson Werth
2B Daniel Murphy
RF Bryce Harper
3B Anthony Rendon
C Wilson Ramos
1B Clint Robinson
SS Danny Espinosa
RHP Tanner Roark

PHILLIES

TBA
RHP Jake Thompson

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