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Lannan, Perez, Leon among Nats call-ups

Lannan, Perez, Leon among Nats call-ups

With the calendar about to shift to September, the Nationals have plans to expand their roster in time for Saturday's game against the Cardinals.

Manager Davey Johnson said the club will recall left-hander John Lannan, catcher Sandy Leon and outfielder Eury Perez from Class AAA Syracuse. Veteran utilityman Mark DeRosa also will be activated off the disabled list after missing the last month with an abdominal strain.

The Nationals plan more reinforcements next week, after Syracuse's season ends on Monday. Johnson hinted that outfielder Corey Brown and reliever Christian Garcia will join the big-league roster at that point.

Of the September call-ups, Lannan figures to have the greatest impact. The left-hander was kept at Class AAA the entire season (aside from two spot starts during doubleheaders) specifically to take over the rotation spot that will become vacant when Stephen Strasburg is shut down.

Lannan, owner of a career 40-51 record and 3.99 ERA in 130 big-league starts, finished off his minor-league season in impressive fashion, tossing back-to-back, nine-inning shutouts. That helped reinforce the club's plan to keep a 5 million pitcher at Class AAA the entire season, if only to have him available for a handful of late-September starts.

"It's great," Johnson said. "He's had a great attitude down there and come up and really been excited about coming up and helping us win. ... I think his arm and his head and everything is in the right spot. There was never going to be any doubt of who was going to be the guy that came in to replace Stras. There have been all kinds of other guys available, but that's how high we are on John."

Leon will serve as the Nationals' third catcher, giving Johnson the ability to use one of his veterans (Kurt Suzuki or Jesus Flores) as a pinch-hitter without risk of losing his only remaining backstop.

Perez is the least-experienced of the call-ups, having appeared in only 40 games at Class AAA. But the 22-year-old outfielder possesses one key skill the Nationals hope to use to their advantage: speed. Perez has stolen 51 bases this season, and he'll be asked to serve as a pinch-runner in key spots down the stretch.

DeRosa, meanwhile, hopes to enjoy some late success at the end of a frustrating season. The 37-year-old was expected to be a big contributor off the bench, but he's battled injuries to his oblique and abdominal muscles and has hit only .152 in 34 games.

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2017 ballpark foods that are way better than peanuts and Cracker Jack

2017 ballpark foods that are way better than peanuts and Cracker Jack

Back in the olden days, cotton candy or a plate of nachos were considered bold ballpark snacks. Thankfully, the olden days are over, and a new era of ballpark food has begun.

And in this era, a menu item isn't considered complete until it's fried, sandwiched between something else and then finally drizzled with some sort of sauce. 

So, what's on the menu for 2017? Well, peanuts, hot dogs and apple pie nachos, of course.

CLICK HERE TO FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE CRAZIEST BALLPARK FOODS YOU'LL FIND AROUND MLB THIS YEAR

With a new season about to begin, CSNmidatlantic.com has identified 10 of the most eye-popping and artery-clogging foods available around Major League Baseball in 2017. To see them, simply click on the link above or below to open our gallery (no fork and knife necessary).

After all, while peanuts and Cracker Jack are cute, they simply can't match up with a hot dog topped with bacon and a fried egg. 

CLICK HERE TO FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE CRAZIEST BALLPARK FOODS YOU'LL FIND AROUND MLB THIS YEAR

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Nationals Ace Max Scherzer will not be team's opening day starter

Nationals Ace Max Scherzer will not be team's opening day starter

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team's opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation. 

Scherzer has been the team's starter on opening day for the past two seasons, but a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger caused him to miss the start of spring training, and the World Baseball Classic. 

Scherzer did, however, make his first MLB spring training start of 2017 on Wednesday. The 2016 NL Cy Young award winner allowed two earned runs on five hits over 4.2 innings. He added four strikeouts and one walk, and reportedly looked just like you would expect from Max Scherzer. 

"To be out there competing, throwing all my pitches, throwing them for strikes, that's a great first outing," Scherzer told Eddie Matz of ESPN after the game. "Finger's good. Finger feels like a finger. I'm getting through that injury. It's behind me now."

With Scherzer set to open the season as the third starter in the rotation, that likely means that Stephen Strasburg will start on opening day against the Miami Marlins, and Tanner Roark will slot in behind him. 

While it's nice to have your ace pitcher starting on opening day, it's not a huge deal to have Scherzer start the season third in the rotation, especially because the Nationals starting rotation is the strength of the team

RELATED: Nationals' Tanner Roark pitches four scoreless innings to help Team USA beat Japan in WBC