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Strasburg will make next start

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Strasburg will make next start

PHILADELPHIA -- Stephen Strasburg will make his next scheduled start Saturday in Atlanta, with the Nationals showing no concern about the state of their ace's right arm one day after he was pulled with what manager Davey Johnson termed tightness in his biceps.

Johnson said today he sought more of an explanation from Strasburg and pitching coach Steve McCatty and emerged with no reason to be concerned.

"I was trying to get to the bottom of it, but it's just not worth proceeding," the manager said before tonight's game against the Phillies. "He's going to make his next start, that's all I know."

Strasburg threw 90 pitches over five innings Sunday against the Orioles, retiring the last 10 batters he faced (seven via strikeout). Afterward, Johnson revealed the 23-year-old noted some arm discomfort, and when the manager ran through different potential problem areas, Strasburg told him it was in his biceps.

After the game, though, Strasburg denied there being any issue with his biceps, insisting what he felt was merely general fatigue he believes was a product of having worked too hard in between starts.

"It sounds like maybe we didn't get our stories straight," Johnson said. "I talked to him when we were shaking hands out there, I said I'm just going to tell them there's a little tightness in the bicep and it flared up after the first inning and then again after the fifth you were trying to keep it loose. Fine. And then I read the paper today and we're speaking a different language to each other. But that's Stras. Everything's magnified. But he's fine."

Strasburg, who also hit his first career home run during the fourth inning, improved to 5-2 with a 1.99 ERA and an 88-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 14 combined starts since he returned from Tommy John surgery last fall.

The Nationals have taken extra precautions with the right-hander, as they did last season when teammate Jordan Zimmermann returned from the same elbow ligament replacement surgery, and plan to shut him down sometime before the end of the regular season.

Johnson said Strasburg told him Sunday he didn't want the manager to think he was "not a man or something" for noting the arm discomfort. Johnson assured Strasburg he wasn't treating him with kid gloves.

"No, I do that with anybody," Johnson said. "Anybody in our rotation. Anybody coming out of the pen. If they have anything that was bothering them, they're out. End of conversation."

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Ivan Rodriguez becomes first former Nationals player to be voted into Hall of Fame

Ivan Rodriguez becomes first former Nationals player to be voted into Hall of Fame

Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez became the first former Nationals player (2005-present) to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He was inducted in his first year of eligibility, marking the 52nd first-ballot hall of famer in history. 

Rodriguez, who was the first free agent signed by current Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, played the final two seasons of his career with Washington in 2010-11. During his time in D.C. he hit .254 six homers and 68 RBI. Pudge's greatest contribution to the Nationals came from his leadership and work ethic. He guided Stephen Strasburg through his rookie season and also helped develop Wilson Ramos so he could pass the torch to him. 

During his 21-year career, Pudge made 14 all-star teams, won 13 gold gloves, won seven silver slugger awards, led his league in caught-steeling percentage nine times, and was named American League MVP in 1999 with the Texas Rangers. He became a World Series champion in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. Pudge's 13 gold gloves are the most ever by a catcher, and his 2,844 career hits are the most ever by a player who appeared in 50 percent or more of their career games as a catcher.  

In addition to Rodriguez, former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Raines is the franchise leader (Expos/Nationals) in walks (793), runs (947), stolen bases (635) and triples (82). Raines was an all-star seven times and he won a silver slugger in 1986 with the Expos. He is the only player in MLB history with at least 100 triples, 150 homers and 600 RBI in a career, and the only player to steal at least 70 bases in six consecutive seasons. 

Related: Bryce Harper wants Nationals to spend money on players, not team store

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Bryce Harper wants Nationals to invest in Matt Wieters, Greg Holland more than facilities

Bryce Harper wants Nationals to invest in Matt Wieters, Greg Holland more than facilities

Bryce Harper isn't one to keep his opinions to himself. The Nationals slugger is outspoken about what he wants, whether that's to "Make Baseball Fun Again" or to make at least $400 million on his next contract

On Wednesday, he gave his take on how the Nats should be investing their money this summer. Here's Harper responding to a tweet from ESPN's Jim Bowden.

Harper's message: Players over everything else. Sorry, gift shop. 

It's plain to see where the 2015 NL MVP is going with this. Obviously, he wants as much talent around him as possible for a chance to win the World Series. 

Matt Wieters, a four-time All-Star catcher, and Greg Holland, a two-time All-Star closer, could be significant additions to Washington's roster. 

Harper is set to become a free agent in 2018, at which point an organization like the New York Yankees will be prepared to offer him both a massive salary and a massive investment in the players around him.

The slugger probably hopes his current team will try to surround him with winning pieces in an effort to keep him. But if a report about the Nationals' reaction to his contract demands proves accurate, they may have another agenda. 

There's Harper drama around the Nationals? Just a regular Wednesday here in Washington.

MORE NATIONALS: Nationals avoid arbitration with Harper, three others