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Strasburg wins NL Pitcher of Month

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Strasburg wins NL Pitcher of Month

Stephen Strasburg's dominant April earned the right-hander National League Pitcher of the Month honors today.

Strasburg, who went 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA, 34 strikeouts and six walks in five starts, won the award on the votes of media members who regularly cover NL clubs.

The 23-year-old has been credited with a quality start each time he's taken the mound this season and has been charged with zero or one earned run in four of those five starts.

His 1.13 ERA ranks second in the NL at the moment (trailing only the Diamondbacks' Joe Saunders, who carries a 0.90 ERA into tonight's game against the Nationals) and his 34 strikeouts are tied for third-most in the league (behind Cole Hamels and Matt Garza, each with 36).

This award further distances Strasburg from the Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for most of 2011. In 10 total starts now since returning from his torn elbow ligament, Strasburg is 3-1 with a 1.29 ERA, a 58-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 0.804 WHIP.

Strasburg is the first member of the Nationals to earn league Player, Pitcher or Rookie of the Month honors since closer Chad Cordero was named NL Pitcher of the Month in June 2005. Outfielder Ryan Church also won NL Rookie of the Month in May 2005.

Strasburg is scheduled to make his next start Friday night against the Phillies.

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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