VIDEO: Harper stars in Dick's commercial

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VIDEO: Harper stars in Dick's commercial

During the World Series last week a commercial aired showing Bryce Harper wearing Under Armour for Dick's Sporting Goods. He is featured with Jason Pierre-Paul and Hope Solo in an advertisement with a cold weather theme. 

The ad shows Harper taking batting practice in the cold at Nationals Park with some apparent special effects, unless they filmed it almost a year ago last winter. Nonetheless, Harper is the star of another commercial and continues to build his brand. He joins Santana Moss as local athletes to promote Dick's.

Check it out via @RecordsandRadio:

Dusty Baker: Daniel Murphy 'more than I think anybody dreamed that he would be'

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Dusty Baker: Daniel Murphy 'more than I think anybody dreamed that he would be'

Amid a torrid start to his season, Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy will be given the night off by manager Dusty Baker for Thursday's series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The 31-year-old Murphy — a revelation since he signed with the Nats in January at three years, $37.5 million — leads the majors with a .394 batting average and is second with a 1.043 on-base plus slugging mark. 

"He's been more than I think anybody dreamed that he would be," Baker said before Thursday's game. 

Even more amazing is that Murphy wasn't even the Nats' first option during baseball''s Hot Stove season. Baker mentioned that Washington's original target at that spot was Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, who was nearly traded to D.C. were it not for the team's reluctance to extend the veteran's contract. The Nats were also reportedly in on Ben Zobrist, who signed with the Chicago Cubs at four years, $56 million.

Given the early returns, suffice it say that Murphy is undoubtedly one of the best bargains of the offseason. 

"I'm glad we got Daniel Murphy," Baker said. "Big time....I don't think we could have done much better with a player [in free agency] than Murphy."

Mostly known as a good-but-not-great hitter throughout most of his seven-year tenure with the New York Mets, Murphy showed signs of a breakout during the latter part of 2015 after he altered his batting stance. Per a suggestion from Mets hitting coach Kevin Long, Murphy went to more of a crouch and crept up on the plate a little more. The tweak allowed him to pull the ball more and leverage his knack for making contact, which created a power stroke that hasn't dissipated since.

The change, while crucial to Murphy's impressive season, is also part of the reason he'll be monitored from time to time. But that's something Baker and the Nats are more than willing to accommodate him on — especially if he keeps putting up these kinds of numbers. 

"We [have] to watch him to keep his legs strong because he's always in a squat," Baker said. "So [the time off] is a day to get his legs worked on and get everything back strong 'till the next day off."

Murphy gets day off as Nationals begin series vs. Cardinals

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Murphy gets day off as Nationals begin series vs. Cardinals

Nats (28-18) vs. Carinals (24-23) at Nationals Park

The Nationals welcome the St. Louis Cardinals to town on Thursday for the first of a four-game series. Joe Ross (3-4, 2.70) will face the Cardinals for the second time this season, having allowed one run through six innings in a Nats win on April 30.

Opposite Ross will be right-hander Mike Leake, whom the Nationals showed interest in during this past winter's free agency. He is 3-3 with a 4.07 ERA this season. Leake faced the Nats on April 29 and fave up five earned runs in seve innings in a Nats' win.

Both teams will be without star infielders in this one. Daniel Murphy is getting the day off to rest, while Cardinals All-Star Matt Carpenter is out for a few days as his wife gives birth.

First pitch: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, XM 183
Starting pitchers: Nats - Joe Ross vs. Cardinals - Mike Leake

NATS

CF Ben Revere
LF Jayson Werth
2B Daniel Murphy
1B Ryan Zimmerman
3B Anthony Rendon
C Wilson Ramos
2B Stephen Drew
SS Danny Espinosa
RHP Joe Ross

CARDINALS

CF Jeremy Hazelbaker
SS Aledmys Diaz
1B Matt Adams
RF Stephen Piscotty
LF Brandon Moss
C Yadier Molina
2B Kolten Wong
3B Greg Garcia
RHP Mike Leake

Follow along with GameView here

Podcast - 'Baseball in the District' - Are Nats better than the Mets?

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Podcast - 'Baseball in the District' - Are Nats better than the Mets?

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The Nationals just wrapped up their series against the Mets, making this a good time to discuss where they stand in the NL East and what they still need to work on.

Tim Murray and I went into the Mets series and what we learned. We also gave our thoughts on the Matt Harvey disaster and whether he should have spoken to the media.

Tim and I compared Daniel Murphy's numbers to those of Brandon Phillips and Ben Zobrist, the other two players the Nats targeted this offseason to play second base. We also wondered the best way to use Michael Taylor and whether he should be dangled at the trade deadline.

Feel free to share your opinions with us on Twitter @ChaseHughesCSN and @1TimMurray.

You can listen to the show on ESPN 980's website or download the show on iTunes.