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Rizzo fined by MLB for comments

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Rizzo fined by MLB for comments

PITTSBURGH -- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has been fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball for comments he made about Cole Hamels after the Phillies left-hander admitted he hit rookie Bryce Harper with a pitch on purpose.

Because no suspension was involved, MLB did not publicly announce Rizzo's fine, but a source close to the GM confirmed the punishment.

After plunking Harper with a first-pitch fastball Sunday night, Hamels told reporters: "I was trying to hit him, I'm not going to deny it," and referred to his actions as "old-school."

On Monday, Rizzo fired back at Hamels, telling the Washington Post that he'd "never seen a more classless, gutless chicken bleep act in my 30 years in baseball" and referring to the 28-year-old lefty as "fake tough."

MLB wound up suspended Hamels five games on Monday, and then today fined Rizzo for his words.

Asked today if he felt the Hamels punishment was sufficient, Rizzo replied: "I think I've said probably enough about Cole Hamels. I'm going to stand by my statement and just move from there."

This isn't the first time Rizzo has been punished by the commissioner's office. He also was fined last year after arguing with umpires following a game in New York.

Harper, who has impressed the baseball world with his maturity in the wake of the beaning, wouldn't say much about the Hamels suspension but stood up for his GM.

"Rizzo's always going to have every single guy on this team's back," the 19-year-old said. "Rizzo's a great guy, great GM and he does a lot of things for this organization. It's just really impressive that he's that kind of guy toward every single guy on our club and he's got our back on everything that happens. It's great to have."

Nationals manager Davey Johnson seemed more surprised by the fact Hamels admitted the plunking as opposed to the purpose pitch itself.

"Hamels making those comments, that's kind of a rare thing to ever happen," Johnson said. "That was the most surprising thing. But there have been a lot of things that have changed over the years. I mean, guys get hit in the leg and charge the mound. That part of the game has changed considerably. I think it's all about prevention of injuries and whatever. And the game used to be policed more in-house. Now we have rules and umpires are trying to control the game more than the players. We used to handle it in-house."

Asked if the meaning of "old-school" has changed since he played, Johnson replied: "No doubt about it. Old-school, there was never any comment."

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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

MORE NATS: Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well in 2016