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Johnson wins Sporting News N.L. manager of the year

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Johnson wins Sporting News N.L. manager of the year

Nationals manager Davey Johnson has been named the National League manager of the year by Sporting News magazine. The 69-year-old skipper led Washington to the best record in the majors at 98-64, an improvement of 18 wins from the season before.

Johnson was a heavy favorite for the honor and is likely to receive the official award from the Baseball Writers Association of America. BBWAA announces their manager of the year winners on November 13.

The Nationals are the fifth team Johnson has coached in his 16-year managerial career. He took over in the middle of the 2011 season and led the Nats to a record of 40-43 over the final 83 games. 2012 was his first full season with the team.

Johnson and the Nats won the National League East for the first time since the franchise moved to Washington, D.C. The Nats began the season hot with a 14-4 record in their first 18 games and were in first place from May 22 through the end of the season on October 3. They won the division with a four-game lead over the Atlanta Braves.

The Nationals reached the playoffs and became the first D.C. postseason baseball team since 1933. They faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Division Series and lost in five games. 

“To be recognized by my fellow comrades, a particularly accomplished bunch, makes this award especially meaningful.  To put on the uniform every day and compete is an honor I never take for granted,” Johnson said in a press release.

Buck Showalter of the Baltimore Orioles won the award for the American League.

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Former Nationals outfielder admits to drinking vodka before MLB games

Former Nationals outfielder admits to drinking vodka before MLB games

When it comes to sports, we sometimes forget that the athletes we look up to are just normal people.  Normal people who have a lot to prove to millions of people on a weekly basis.  Former Nationals outfielder Rick Ankiel has discussed one his human moments in an interview with 590 The Fan in St. Louis.

Ankiel admitted to drinking vodka during his plight as a pitcher. He referenced his first two starts of the 2001 season, in particular against the his opener Arizona Diamondbacks where he allowed his anxiety to giving in to alcohol to soothe him. In the previous postseason, he became the first pitcher since 1980 to throw five wild pitches in a single inning. 

It may have worked for a couple of games but Ankiel eventually realized it was only making matters worse.

Ankiel began playing in the MLB at the age of 19 and has had a fluctuating career through six teams.  All the while, he has keep a “never give up” mentality.

Why the sudden need to vent? The St. Louis baseball pitcher is getting up close and personal with his upcoming book, “The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed my Life” which is co-written with sports writer, Tim Brown will be released on April 18.  

His two seasons with the Nationals, resulted in 127 hits and 52 RBIs as an outfielder. 

MORE NATS: Can't miss Nationals promotional schedule

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Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

The Washington Nationals have signed former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, according to multiple reports. 

Wieters spent the first eight years in the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, being named to the AL All-Star team four times and winning two gold glove awards. Last season the switch-hitting catcher posted a .243 average with 17 homers and 66 RBI.  

The Nationals have been in the market for catchers all offseason after Wilson Ramos left for Tampa Bay in free agency. The team traded for former Padres catcher Derek Norris, whose role is now in question. The Nationals still have Jose Lobaton on the roster as a strong defensive backup catcher who has a proven rapport with many of the pitchers in the Nationals rotation. Wieters had been linked to the Nationals all offseason because of the team's need a the position and because of the Nationals close relationship with Wieters' agent Scott Boras. 

The only significant time that Wieters has missed due to injury in his career came in 2014-15 when he had Tommy John surgury. Prior to that surgury, however, Wieters had played in at least 130 games for four straight seasons and became a large part of the Orioles' identity. 

The 30-year-old backstop will give the Nationals lineup more depth and power. Wieters had three consecutive 20-homer seasons from 2011-13 and since 2009 when his career began, he ranks fifth among catchers in all of baseball in home runs with 117. 

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