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Lannan likely to start Saturday

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Lannan likely to start Saturday

MIAMI -- John Lannan, who surprisingly lost his spot in the Nationals' rotation at the end of spring training and has been pitching at Class AAA Syracuse since, is expected to return to the big leagues Saturday and start one game of the Nationals' doubleheader against the Braves.

Asked who would be used to pitch that day, Davey Johnson didn't explicitly name Lannan. The Nationals manager said the club would promote one of three minor-league starters: Lannan, Yunesky Maya or Ryan Perry.

"So it'll be one of them," Johnson said before adding with a smirk: "Who do you think?"

Lannan, who is pitching tonight for Syracuse at Pawtucket, is best lined up to make the start. The 27-year-old left-hander enters tonight's game with a 6-8 record and 4.60 ERA in 17 total starts, but he's posted a 3.14 ERA over his last eight outings, allowing one earned run in five of those.

Lannan also has far and away the most big-league experience of the candidates, with a 38-51 ERA and 4.00 ERA in 128 career starts.

He was set to earn the final spot in the Nationals' Opening Day rotation over Chien-Ming Wang and Ross Detwiler, and during the final week of spring training, Johnson said "John's my guy" when asked if Lannan would open the season as his No. 5 starter.

But during the Nationals' final exhibition game on April 3, Johnson informed the left-hander (who has a 5 million guaranteed contract) he would be optioned to Syracuse and that the club was going with Detwiler instead.

Lannan then formally requested a trade, and general manager Mike Rizzo has since made inquiries to other clubs. No offers have met Rizzo's satisfaction, though, and the GM has wanted to keep Lannan in the system in case he's needed due to injury, a doubleheader or in September once ace Stephen Strasburg is shut down.

Lannan will most likely be recalled for only one day and then optioned back to Class AAA, and the Nationals won't need to remove anyone else from the roster to make room for him. Per the new collective bargaining agreements, teams are allowed to add a 26th player for doubleheaders.

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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. 

Related: Nationals 2017 promotional schedule includes snow globes and fedoras

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Nationals 2017 promotional giveaways include snow globes and fedoras

Nationals 2017 promotional giveaways include snow globes and fedoras

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

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