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Sleepy Maldonado ready to help Nats

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Sleepy Maldonado ready to help Nats

Bleary-eyed and with most of his possessions at his apartment in Syracuse, Carlos Maldonado sat inside the Nationals' clubhouse this morning, an attendant helping him adjust his new, red shin guards to make sure they properly fit.

The 33-year-old had caught nine innings yesterday afternoon in Syracuse, then joined his teammates on a nine-hour bus ride to Columbus, Ohio. About halfway through the trip, he got word he was being summoned to Washington after rookie Sandy Leon had suffered a serious ankle injury in his big-league debut. But a traffic jam prevented the Chiefs' bus from arriving until 2 a.m. Maldonado's flight to Washington departed at 5:30 a.m. Upon landing, he came straight to Nationals Park to make sure he'd be in uniform and available to serve as the backup catcher for today's series finale against the Padres.

So, how much sleep did Maldonado get?

"Not much," he said. "But it's worth it."

This isn't Maldonado's first rodeo in the big leagues. He's played in 25 total games with the Pirates (2006-07) and Nationals (2010) but had never been summoned quite in this fashion.

Close friends with Leon, Maldonado was heartbroken to learn last night the 23-year-old had suffered a high right ankle sprain on a collision at the plate and would be placed on the disabled list. This came only two days after starter Wilson Ramos tore the ACL in his right knee, necessitating Leon's promotion.

"Leon called me and gave me the news he was getting called up, and I talked to him a lot," Maldonado said. "He was excited, but it was his first game in the big leagues and he got hurt. I feel bad for him. He's a great guy and a great kid."

Officially, Leon was placed on the 15-day DL. Ramos was then transferred to the 60-day DL, clearing a spot on the Nationals' 40-man roster for Maldonado.

"We're fortunate," manager Davey Johnson said. "I've said it a lot that we have a lot of depth at catching, but this is getting ridiculous."

Maldonado figures to start once or twice a week in place of Jesus Flores, who now takes over as the Nationals' No. 1 catcher. Above all else, though, Johnson has one important plan for the veteran backstop.

"Keep him healthy," the manager said.

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Nationals avoid arbitration, reach deal with Bryce Harper and three others

Nationals avoid arbitration, reach deal with Bryce Harper and three others

The Washington Nationals avoided arbitration and agreed to one-year deals today with Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Tanner Roark and newly acquired catcher Derek Norris.

If team's and players didn't agree to contracts by today's 1 p.m. ET deadline, an independent arbitrator will rule on the contract at a later date and decide how much the player will play for in 2017. 

Harper and the Nationals agreed to a $13.625 million deal, which was significantly more than the $9.3 million contract that was projected by MLB Trade Rumors. Last season, coming off his 2015 MVP campaign, Harper made $5 million. The 24-year-old will be a free agent after the 2018 season. 

Harper is coming off a disappointing season by his standards, in which he hit just .243 with 24 homers, which was way down from his total of 42 dingers in 2015. 

According to multiple reports, Rendon signed for $5.8 million, Roark signed for $4.315 million and Norris' deal was for $4.2 million.

Roark made just $543,400 last season, which he vastly out-performed. Roark was one of the most consistent pitchers in the National League last year as he won 16 games and posted a 2.83 ERA in 210 innings of work. 

With today's signings, all of the Nationals' arbitration-eligible players are under contract for 2017. 

Related: Tanner Roark to replace Max Scherzer on World Baseball Classic roster

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LOOK: Bryce Harper got married in suit jacket lined with pictures of wife

LOOK: Bryce Harper got married in suit jacket lined with pictures of wife

Nationals star Bryce Harper has a bold fashion sense, that's for sure. Just take a look at that hair. But he a more romantic fashion risk for his own wedding with a custom suit jacket. 

He opted for a navy blue tuxedo with black piping. It was the lining that really stood out as special. 

If you look closely, you'll see photos of Harper and his wife, Kayla, decorating the lining of the jacket. 

There's also the date of wedding and script reading "Mr. and Mrs. Harper." 

He credited the makers of his tuxedo, Stitched, in the tweet. 

MORE NATIONALS: Nationals’ Bryce Harper ecstatic to see bride on wedding day