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Nationals' Dusty Baker thinks Washington teams are positioned to win a championship this year

Nationals' Dusty Baker thinks Washington teams are positioned to win a championship this year

Nationals manager Dusty Baker is back for a second year and feeling optimistic for his Washington team. Spring training has begun in Florida and it has Baker thinking about how the Nats can create some excitement for local sports fans.

In an interview with American University’s WAMU radio station, Baker said D.C. wants to be a "city of champions.” Furthermore, he thinks it can be pulled off before the year ends.

"I came here to win a championship and you know I would love nothing more than to bring one to Washington. Washington, I didn’t know it before I got there, but it’s had a tough time getting out of the first round in a number of sports."

He projected the Nationals to bring home the next championship for the District, but he knows they have competition of late. 

"Washington Wizards are looking pretty good. I’m pulling for them first because their season ends before ours, so I’ve been really following them. The Capitals have a good thing going. I started watching the Redskins more this year.

"You know once it gets contagious in a city and you get a positive attitude throughout the city, then it transfers to the sports teams. So we want to be known as a city of champions, before the end of the year hopefully."

Baker has a reputation for bringing out the best in his teams, especially managing star players. He managed the San Francisco Giants for ten seasons before moving on to the Chicago Cubs, a team he managed for four seasons.

He's never won a World Series, but has taken a team to Game 7. He also finished third for the 2016 National League Manager of the Year award.

So, what are Baker’s steps for the Nationals to get that ultimate prize? A simple formula, really.

"I think that we’ve got to stay healthy, number one. We’re trying to fill the holes that we need to fill, and we’ve got to play," he said. "You know last year we were very close, we were one hit away or one play away or one pitch away from going to the next round against the Cubs."

While he says he came to win Washington a championship, he's also enjoying his time in the city. 

"I love D.C. Before that, San Francisco was my favorite town; that’s my home. But I tell you, D.C. is definitely in the running," he said. "I thought San Francisco had the best seafood, but man, you guys have the best seafood I think in the world."

Thanks, Dusty!

The Nationals play their first spring training game against the New York mets on Saturday.

RELATED: NATIONALS REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE

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Nationals set franchise scoring record in rout of Mets

Nationals set franchise scoring record in rout of Mets

WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon had 10 RBIs, three home runs and six hits as the Washington Nationals took advantage of Noah Syndergaard's injury and mauled the New York Mets 23-5 on Sunday to set a franchise scoring record.

Rendon went a career-best 6 for 6 and scored five times while setting a club mark for RBIs. He became the 13th player in major league history to drive in 10 or more runs in a game -- the first since Garret Anderson did it for the Angels in 2007.

Matt Wieters added two homers, a single and two walks as the Nationals salvaged the finale of a three-game series between NL East rivals. Adam Lind and Bryce Harper also homered, and Harper scored four runs.

Washington finished with a season-high 23 hits and scored the most runs in the history of the Expos/Nationals franchise. The Nationals' seven homers were their most since the team moved from Montreal to Washington in 2005.

After a two-run single in the first, Rendon followed with a solo homer in the third and a three-run shot in the fourth. He ripped a three-run double off the right-center wall in the fifth and nearly had another RBI when he singled in the seventh, but teammate Daniel Murphy held up at third base.

Rendon capped his incredible day with a solo home run off Mets backup catcher Kevin Plawecki in the eighth. Harper and Lind went deep against Plawecki earlier in the inning.

It was a miserable day all-around for the Mets, who won the first two games of the series after losing six straight. Syndergaard, the team's hard-throwing ace, left in the second inning with what the club called "a possible right lat strain" and was on his way back to New York for an MRI.

Syndergaard (1-2) allowed five runs on five hits in the first. In the second, he threw a strike to Harper on his 38th pitch and grimaced while reaching for his right armpit. Mets manager Terry Collins and the team trainer immediately came out, and Collins summoned reliever Sean Gilmartin.

Syndergaard was making his first start since April 20. The right-hander was a late scratch from his last scheduled outing Thursday against Atlanta due to right biceps discomfort. But he threw a bullpen Friday, said he felt fine and refused an MRI.

After the Nationals beat up on three Mets relievers, Plawecki got the final six outs.

Hours after Washington announced leadoff batter Adam Eaton has a torn knee ligament and is likely done for the season, Michael A. Taylor, Eaton's replacement in center field, had two hits.

Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Murphy also had two hits and each member of Washington's starting nine had at least one.

New York's Jay Bruce had three hits, including a solo home run, and Rene Rivera had a solo shot and a single.

Matt Albers (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings in relief.

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Report: Nationals OF Adam Eaton out for season with torn ACL

Report: Nationals OF Adam Eaton out for season with torn ACL

Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday.

Eaton sustained the injury in Friday night’s 7-5 loss to the Mets when he stepped awkwardly on the bag while beating out a throw to first in the ninth inning. He then collapsed and needed assistance off the field.

The Nationals initially announced earlier Saturday that Eaton would go on the 10-day disabled list with a left knee strain. They also have since called up outfielder Rafael Bautista from Triple-A Syracuse.

The Nationals acquired Eaton in a trade with the White Sox in December in exchange for pitching prospects Luca Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning.

The 28-year-old Eaton was hitting .297 with a .393 on-base percentage and 24 runs scored for the 16-8 Nationals.

Michael A. Taylor replaced Eaton in centerfield during the Nationals’ 5-3 loss to the Mets on Saturday.