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Nats cut ties with Lannan, Flores, Gorzelanny

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Nats cut ties with Lannan, Flores, Gorzelanny

The Nationals will elect not to tender contracts to left-handers John Lannan and Tom Gorzelanny and catcher Jesus Flores before tonight's midnight deadline, officially cutting ties with two of the organization's longest-tenured players and the only remaining lefty in their bullpen.

The decisions to non-tender Lannan and Flores weren't surprises; neither figured into the club's plans for 2013 or beyond. The removal of Gorzelanny from the roster was more surprising given the lack of any other left-handers in the Nationals' current bullpen.

The moves aren't official yet, but a club source confirmed all are planned before midnight.

Lannan, who was drafted in 2005 out of Siena College and reached the big leagues two years later, is the Nationals' all-time leader in starts (134) and ranks second to Livan Hernandez in wins (42) and innings (783 2/3).

His standing within the organization dropped significantly this year, though, after the Nationals shipped the lefty to Class AAA Syracuse after going 10-13 with a 3.70 ERA and earning a $5 million salary through arbitration. Lannan initially requested a trade, but wound up spending the majority of the season in the minors, ultimately returning to make six starts for Washington down the stretch (he went 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA).

The Nationals could have kept Lannan in the organization for another season. He actually has one more minor-league option and could have again been stashed in Syracuse to serve as an expensive insurance policy in case of injury to another member of the rotation. But general manager Mike Rizzo, out of respect for the 28-year-old, let him instead become a free agent after failing to find a trade partner.

Flores was once thought of as the Nationals' long-term catching solution, but the former Rule 5 draft pick saw his promising career derailed by a major shoulder injury that sidelined him nearly two seasons.

Drafted away from the Mets in Dec. 2006 at the urging of Davey Johnson, who at the time served as an adviser to former GM Jim Bowden, Flores got another chance to play everyday this summer after starter Wilson Ramos suffered a season-ending knee injury. But he struggled at the plate (hitting .213) and behind the plate (throwing out only 15 percent of basestealers) and wound up back on the bench after Rizzo traded for veteran Kurt Suzuki.

With Suzuki and a healthy Ramos back in 2013, plus the emergence of young catchers Sandy Leon and Jhonatan Solano, the Nationals had little need to keep Flores in the organization.

Gorzelanny was let go despite a productive season as a long man in the Nationals' bullpen. The 30-year-old, acquired from the Cubs in 2011 for three minor-leaguers to start for Washington, posted a 2.88 ERA in 45 appearances this season.

Ultimately, Gorzelanny's price tag -- he stood to make as much as $4 million through arbitration -- was too steep for a pitcher in his role.

The decision does leave the Nationals in a predicament, with zero left-handed relievers currently on the roster. They'll have to hope to either re-sign free agents Sean Burnett and/or Michael Gonzalez or acquire another lefty or two this winter.

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Anthony Rendon homers in third straight game, but Nationals fall to Mariners in series finale

Anthony Rendon homers in third straight game, but Nationals fall to Mariners in series finale

WASHINGTON -- Nelson Cruz greeted reliever Jacob Turner with a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 Thursday to stop a five-game losing streak.

Gio Gonzalez took a 2-0 lead into the sixth, when Jean Segura singled leading off and Guillermo Heredia took a called third strike. That prompted Seattle manager Scott Servais to complain from the dugout, which led to his ejection by plate umpire Adam Hamari.

Robinson Cano singled, and Washington manager Dusty Baker brought in Turner (2-3), despite Cruz having just one hit in 15 at-bats against Gonzalez. Cruz drove a belt-high slider over the fence in left-center for his 12th homer this season and a 3-2 lead. Cruz leads the AL with 40 RBIs.

Cano added an RBI single off Turner in the seventh. Seattle scored multiple runs for the first time since May 18.

Ariel Miranda (4-2) allowed two runs, three hits and three walks in five innings. Edwin Diaz, Seattle's sixth pitcher, threw a one-hit ninth that completed a six-hitter. Diaz got his first save since May 9 and has eight in 10 chances overall.

Gonzalez gave up two runs, three hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings, striking out eight.

Washington's Anthony Rendon homered in the fifth, his ninth this season and fourth in the three-game series. Jayson Werth added an RBI single later in the inning.

FAMILY FIRST

Baker will be leaving the Nationals for their weekend series against San Diego Padres to attend his son Darren's high school graduation in Northern California and will rejoin the team Monday in San Francisco.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (forearm strain) could return to the rotation in the first or second game of a homestand that starts Wednesday, Servais said. ... 1B Danny Valencia was in the lineup for a second straight day after sitting out three games with a wrist injury.

Nationals: Baker may continue to use an eight-man bullpen. Baker said the decision depends the progress of INF Stephen Drew's rehabilitation from a hamstring strain. Drew is at extended spring training.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Yovani Gallardo is 2-2 with a 5.28 ERA against Boston, where Seattle begins a three-game set on Friday.

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (4-3, 3.02) has allowed two runs or fewer in his last three starts against San Diego, which opens a three-game series in Washington on Friday.

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Nats beat Mariners behind Joe Ross' career day in return from minors

Nats beat Mariners behind Joe Ross' career day in return from minors

WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon homered twice and drove in five runs, Joe Ross returned from the minors to allow one run over a career high-tying eight innings, and the Washington Nationals routed the Seattle Mariners 10-1 on Tuesday night.

Bryce Harper added his 14th homer and Jayson Werth hit his seventh off Chris Bergman (1-2), who allowed all of the Nationals' runs and 14 of their 15 hits.

Rendon doubled before his second homer -- and seventh of the season -- completed an eight-run fourth inning. Ryan Zimmerman also had three hits.

Mike Zunino homered off Ross (2-0) in his return from his own minor league stint. Robinson Cano was hitless in his first game back from the disabled list following a thigh injury as Seattle dropped its fourth straight.

Ross showed no signs of the late April struggles that ended with a demotion to Triple-A Syracuse. He yielded five hits and a walk while striking out six, and retired 12 straight batters after a leadoff single to begin the game.

By the time Seattle finally put multiple runners aboard, Washington had already opened a 10-0 lead.

Rendon's second-inning shot around the left field foul pole made it 2-0.

Then Werth, Harper and Rendon all connected in the fourth, helping the Nationals score seven of their eight runs in the inning with two outs.

MORE NATIONALS: WATCH: Werth, Harper go back-to-back, Rendon hits 2 HRs in Nationals win