Before the Nationals shut down Stephen Strasburg in early September, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports brought up a unique contrast to how the Atlanta Braves have handled their own post-Tommy John pitcher in Kris Medlen. The Braves started Medlen in the bullpen this season before putting him in the rotation and as a result he is still with the team and will be for the postseason.
Medlen has pitched just 132.0 innings on the season and is still going strong as one of the hottest pitchers in baseball.
The scenarios are different in many ways with Strasburg being a former first overall pick and Medlen being selected in the 10th round, not to mention the financial considerations. The Nationals also have never wanted to have Strasburg be anything but a starting pitcher.
Rosenthal himself pointed out those differences and so did we when we had the story, but nonetheless Nats manager Davey Johnson is bothered it was ever even brought up. He, in fact, seems to disagree with how the Braves are handling Medlen in the first place.
This via Dan Steinberg of DCsportsbog, it comes from an excerpt of Sports Illustrated's new article on the Nationals skipper.
No! Its a crock of bleep what theyre doing with Medlen. It aint anywhere close to Strasburg. Theyre trying to act like geniuses. Heres the deal. And their whole life theyre raised to go through a certain process at certain times of the year. And ballplayers go through them in the spring. Now you take Doc Halladay or anybody, and if you start varying that dont let him pitch for a month? You dont know whats going to happen.
Now the Nats and Braves are of course still fighting for the division as the season comes to a close. It will be hard for Atlanta to catch the Nationals in the regular season, but they could very well meet in the playoffs. Boy, would that be fun.
The Washington Nationals recently released the dates of their promotional days and giveaways this season, and there are some real gems in this schedule.
Among the standard bobblehead giveaways — Daniel Murphy on April 14, Trea Turner on May 12 and Tanner Roark on June 9 — and the highly recommended Pups in the Park days — April 29, May 13, June 10, June 25, September 7 and September 30 — pick the right game and you could get a snow globe, an American flag shirt or even a fedora. Seriously.
On May 24’s game against the Mariners, the first 25,000 fans will get a Max Scherzer snow globe, which has the potential to be the coolest knickknack in your house. Or on June 14 against the Braves — oddly not closer to the Fourth of July — Budweiser is behind the first 15,000 21-and-up fans getting an American flag tank top.
But truly the most unique item on this list is the Nationals-themed fedora, which will go to the first 25,000 fans at the Brewers’ July 26 matchup. How the Nats landed on this promotional item remains a mystery, but if you like hats beyond a traditional baseball cap, this is the game to attend.
Other cool or oddball promotions include the Nats Magic 8-Ball game April 3, the Chewbacca Koozie day May 27, Bryce Harper action figure day August 29 and Oktoberfest beer stein day Sept. 29.
Here's the complete list of the team's promotional days and giveaways.
MORE NATS: Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well in 2016
Bryce Harper struggled by his standards in 2016 and he says he know why it happened last year. While it was rumored last season that he was playing through injuries, Harper never really missed significant time, nor did he really say that his injuries were the reason for his disappointing numbers.
Speaking with the media today at spring training, Harper hinted at his injuries from last season as he said he was just trying to stay in the lineup every day.
Although Harper's statistics dropped off dramatically from his MVP season in 2015, his numbers weren't entirely awful last year. He still hit 24 homers, drove in 86 runs and he had an .814 OPS.
With a full offseason to heal up, Harper will be a prime bounce-back candidate as he looks to help the Nationals win their third NL East title in the last four years.
Related: Sorry D.C. sports fans, Bryce Harper is a Dallas Cowboys fan