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Nats not interested in trading Wang

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Nats not interested in trading Wang

Nationals pitcher Chien-Ming Wang is readying his return from a foot injury, but with Ross Detwiler continuing to pitch well it seems the once-number five starter has no place on the team's roster. Washington isn't interested at this point in making either play a relief pitcher and Detwiler is finally living up to his potential as a former 6th overall pick.

With two number five starters essentially, and another proven big league pitcher in John Lannan, the Nats may be forced to make a move with one of them. According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, however, trading Wang at this juncture is not an option.

Stark spoke to a scout who recently saw Wang pitch for the Syracuse Chiefs and says "he's ready now." He continues to write the Nationals stalling with Wang in order to wait and find a fit for him in their staff. They seem content to wait and, with all the injuries they have seen this season, can't take depth at any position for granted.

"One source who passed through Syracuse tells Rumblings the Nationals also have had feelers from other clubs about Wang. But that's one option they don't seem interested in exploring," he writes.

Wang proved last season by going 4-3 with a 4.04 ERA in 11 appearances he is back to form after battling major shoulder problems during the 2010 season. There is also loyalty on both sides as the Nats gave him a chance to recover his career.

Keeping Wang makes sense for the Nationals who seem to lose a player every time trade rumors come up based on depth at a position. They at one point had a plethora of closers, then Drew Storen and Brad Lidge went down. Jesus Flores was rumored as a trade chip, then Wilson Ramos tore a ligament in his knee.

Washington is a winning ballclub this season because of their pitching and Mike Rizzo likes to stockpile arms, if they let Wang go they could regret it soon. Also, with Stephen Strasburg's suspected innings limit, Wang could be needed for the stretch run if they are still in contention.

ht Federal Baseball

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Nationals' Bryce Harper mashes monster homer on second pitch of spring training

Nationals' Bryce Harper mashes monster homer on second pitch of spring training

The Nationals played their first game of spring training today against the Mets. They won, but that's not nearly the biggest story of the day. It was Bryce Harper's first at-bat that stole the show. 

On just the second pitch he saw of spring training, from lefty Sean Gilmartin, Harper mashed a ginormous home run to right center field. MLB.com shared video of the bomb. 

According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Harper smacked the ball at least 400 feet. In his second at-bat, he hit a line-drive single on the first pitch. 

Let's just say it was an exciting start to the year for Harper, who won the 2015 NL MVP only to endure a let-down last season. As Castillo points out, the slugger hit .226 against left-handed pitchers in 2016. 

Harper enters spring training at 230 pounds, up 15 pounds of muscle from last year. 

“I just felt going into the offseason you want to get as strong as you can, try to maintain your weight the best you can and just do everything the right way,” he told the Post. 

MORE NATIONALS: Baker thinks DC sports teams can win a championship this year

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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.

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