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Gonzalez, Buehrle meet in Miami - 7:10 p.m.

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Gonzalez, Buehrle meet in Miami - 7:10 p.m.

GO TO THE LIVE GAME THREAD AT NATSINSIDER.COM RIGHT HERE

MIAMI -- Mike Rizzo sat in his suite at the Winter Meetings on Dec. 7 and expressed optimism the Nationals were going to sign Mark Buehrle to a three-year contract. The free agent left-hander and the Nats met in person and Rizzo believed "there was a connection there."

Within the hour, Buehrle signed a four-year, 58 million contract with the Marlins, leaving Rizzo and the Nationals to acquire a starting pitcher from somewhere else. Turns out that pitcher came from Oakland. His name was Gio Gonzalez, and he cost the Nats four top prospects in a trade.

Seven months later, the Nationals have no complaints about how the situation resolved itself. And tonight, they'll send Gonzalez (an All-Star with a 12-3 record and 2.92 ERA) to the mound against none other than Buehrle (8-8 with a 3.25 ERA) in a juicy twist of fate.

Plenty of updates to come, so please check the Nats Insider live game thread...

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at MIAMI MARLINS
Where: Marlins Park
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Indoors

NATIONALS (50-34)
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Tyler Moore
C Jesus Flores
LHP Gio Gonzalez

MARLINS (41-45)
SS Jose Reyes
2B Omar Infante
1B Carlos Lee
RF Justin Ruggiano
3B Hanley Ramirez
CF Emilio Bonifacio
LF Donovan Solano
C John Buck
LHP Mark Buehrle

UMPIRES
HP Eric Cooper, 1B Marty Foster, 2B D.J. Reyburn, 3B Jeff Kellogg (cc)

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This year's Nationals roster is stacked with glorious facial hair

This year's Nationals roster is stacked with glorious facial hair

The following is a list of things the 2017 Washington Nationals appear to have: A talented outfield led by Bryce Harper and Adam Eaton. A rising superstar at shortstop in Trea Turner. A possibly major hole at closer.

The following is a list of things the 2017 Washington Nationals appear to not have: Razors. Shaving cream. A desire to groom their faces.

A fun tradition at each team's spring training is the annual photo day, because photo day forces professional athletes to pose in front of cameras like they're being featured in the poster of an upcoming blockbuster movie. And after poring through the snapshots from the Nationals' photo day, a single trend emerged.

This year's team is a hairy bunch.

Among that bunch are the usual suspects, such as Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth:

But there are some surprises, most notably of which is Stephen Strasburg. The right-hander tends to keep his mug 100-percent clean-shaven, but for now, at least, he's allowed his face to become quite fertile:

Then there's newcomer Adam Lind, who has a goatee that Duke's Blue Devil logo would be forced to respect:

Shawn Kelley, meanwhile, who's pictured below, has a beard that looks like...

...Derek Norris' beard, before Derek Norris' beard hit puberty and grew up to be the strong, mature beard it is today:

There are scraggly ones, such as Daniel Murphy's:

And fuller, more complete ones, like Eaton's (full marks, by the way, for the trade acquisition's ability to seamlessly connect 'stache to beard):

The most wild photo of all, however, was this one of Turner. Is this the Nats stud, or a picture of Leonard DiCaprio from a scene in The Revenant? Hard to tell with all that stubble the infielder's cultivating:

One potential positive of this team-wide movement: If Turner and his teammates keep what they're growing down in Florida going throughout the season, their faces will be plenty warm by the time playoff baseball comes around. 

RELATED: HARPER GOES YARD IN FIRST AT-BAT OF THE SPRING

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Nationals' Bryce Harper mashes monster homer on second pitch of spring training

Nationals' Bryce Harper mashes monster homer on second pitch of spring training

The Nationals played their first game of spring training today against the Mets. They won, but that's not nearly the biggest story of the day. It was Bryce Harper's first at-bat that stole the show. 

On just the second pitch he saw of spring training, from lefty Sean Gilmartin, Harper mashed a ginormous home run to right center field. MLB.com shared video of the bomb. 

According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Harper smacked the ball at least 400 feet. In his second at-bat, he hit a line-drive single on the first pitch. 

Let's just say it was an exciting start to the year for Harper, who won the 2015 NL MVP only to endure a let-down last season. As Castillo points out, the slugger hit .226 against left-handed pitchers in 2016. 

Harper enters spring training at 230 pounds, up 15 pounds of muscle from last year. 

“I just felt going into the offseason you want to get as strong as you can, try to maintain your weight the best you can and just do everything the right way,” he told the Post. 

MORE NATIONALS: Baker thinks DC sports teams can win a championship this year