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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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New York Daily News puts Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in Yankees uniforms

New York Daily News puts Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in Yankees uniforms

You can always count on the New York Daily News to run an audacious cover. The tabloid delivered again Friday with an image edited to show two of the league's best young hitters in Yankees pinstripes: Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper and Orioles short stop Manny Machado. 

"Bats to the Future" is exactly the headline you'd expect, too.  

It's hard to tell what's more odious to Washington and Baltimore fans: the image itself or the suggestion that baseball's new collective bargaining agreement makes it easier for the Yankees to poach their stars. 

The premise of that argument comes from sources who say the new CBA contains two changes beneficial to New York: reduced revenue sharing burden (due to tweaks in how sharing is calculated, plus a deduction for the cost of building and running Yankee Stadium) and an increased luxury tax threshold. 

Without going into number crunching detail, the Daily News explains how the club could afford Harper and/or Machado when they become free agents after the 2018 season. 

The article's tone of inevitability, despite its many assumptions, will rankle fans of all 29 other teams. After all, the Yankees aren't the only franchise interested in Harper and Machado. 

The Nationals and Orioles will presumably try to keep their stars. But to do that, they may have to fend off potentially historic money from the Bronx. 

MORE BASEBALL: Nats let Ben Revere walk

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Nationals decline to tender the contract of Ben Revere

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Nationals decline to tender the contract of Ben Revere

Ben Revere was brought to Washington in the hopes he could solve the centerfield and lead-off issue that plagued them the previous year. After just one year, the Nationals have decided to move on from Revere as they declined to tender him.

The move makes Revere a free agent after a .217/.260/.300 season that fell way below expectations. Revere tied his career-high with two home runs and added 24 RBI while scoring 44 runs. 

Stay tuned for more information!