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Strasburg will make next start

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Strasburg will make next start

PHILADELPHIA -- Stephen Strasburg will make his next scheduled start Saturday in Atlanta, with the Nationals showing no concern about the state of their ace's right arm one day after he was pulled with what manager Davey Johnson termed tightness in his biceps.

Johnson said today he sought more of an explanation from Strasburg and pitching coach Steve McCatty and emerged with no reason to be concerned.

"I was trying to get to the bottom of it, but it's just not worth proceeding," the manager said before tonight's game against the Phillies. "He's going to make his next start, that's all I know."

Strasburg threw 90 pitches over five innings Sunday against the Orioles, retiring the last 10 batters he faced (seven via strikeout). Afterward, Johnson revealed the 23-year-old noted some arm discomfort, and when the manager ran through different potential problem areas, Strasburg told him it was in his biceps.

After the game, though, Strasburg denied there being any issue with his biceps, insisting what he felt was merely general fatigue he believes was a product of having worked too hard in between starts.

"It sounds like maybe we didn't get our stories straight," Johnson said. "I talked to him when we were shaking hands out there, I said I'm just going to tell them there's a little tightness in the bicep and it flared up after the first inning and then again after the fifth you were trying to keep it loose. Fine. And then I read the paper today and we're speaking a different language to each other. But that's Stras. Everything's magnified. But he's fine."

Strasburg, who also hit his first career home run during the fourth inning, improved to 5-2 with a 1.99 ERA and an 88-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 14 combined starts since he returned from Tommy John surgery last fall.

The Nationals have taken extra precautions with the right-hander, as they did last season when teammate Jordan Zimmermann returned from the same elbow ligament replacement surgery, and plan to shut him down sometime before the end of the regular season.

Johnson said Strasburg told him Sunday he didn't want the manager to think he was "not a man or something" for noting the arm discomfort. Johnson assured Strasburg he wasn't treating him with kid gloves.

"No, I do that with anybody," Johnson said. "Anybody in our rotation. Anybody coming out of the pen. If they have anything that was bothering them, they're out. End of conversation."

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Former Nationals outfielder admits to drinking vodka before MLB games

Former Nationals outfielder admits to drinking vodka before MLB games

When it comes to sports, we sometimes forget that the athletes we look up to are just normal people.  Normal people who have a lot to prove to millions of people on a weekly basis.  Former Nationals outfielder Rick Ankiel has discussed one his human moments in an interview with 590 The Fan in St. Louis.

Ankiel admitted to drinking vodka during his plight as a pitcher. He referenced his first two starts of the 2001 season, in particular against the his opener Arizona Diamondbacks where he allowed his anxiety to giving in to alcohol to soothe him. In the previous postseason, he became the first pitcher since 1980 to throw five wild pitches in a single inning. 

It may have worked for a couple of games but Ankiel eventually realized it was only making matters worse.

Ankiel began playing in the MLB at the age of 19 and has had a fluctuating career through six teams.  All the while, he has keep a “never give up” mentality.

Why the sudden need to vent? The St. Louis baseball pitcher is getting up close and personal with his upcoming book, “The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed my Life” which is co-written with sports writer, Tim Brown will be released on April 18.  

His two seasons with the Nationals, resulted in 127 hits and 52 RBIs as an outfielder. 

MORE NATS: Can't miss Nationals promotional schedule

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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