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Strasburg wins NL Pitcher of Month

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Strasburg wins NL Pitcher of Month

Stephen Strasburg's dominant April earned the right-hander National League Pitcher of the Month honors today.

Strasburg, who went 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA, 34 strikeouts and six walks in five starts, won the award on the votes of media members who regularly cover NL clubs.

The 23-year-old has been credited with a quality start each time he's taken the mound this season and has been charged with zero or one earned run in four of those five starts.

His 1.13 ERA ranks second in the NL at the moment (trailing only the Diamondbacks' Joe Saunders, who carries a 0.90 ERA into tonight's game against the Nationals) and his 34 strikeouts are tied for third-most in the league (behind Cole Hamels and Matt Garza, each with 36).

This award further distances Strasburg from the Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for most of 2011. In 10 total starts now since returning from his torn elbow ligament, Strasburg is 3-1 with a 1.29 ERA, a 58-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 0.804 WHIP.

Strasburg is the first member of the Nationals to earn league Player, Pitcher or Rookie of the Month honors since closer Chad Cordero was named NL Pitcher of the Month in June 2005. Outfielder Ryan Church also won NL Rookie of the Month in May 2005.

Strasburg is scheduled to make his next start Friday night against the Phillies.

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This year's Nationals roster is stacked with glorious facial hair

This year's Nationals roster is stacked with glorious facial hair

The following is a list of things the 2017 Washington Nationals appear to have: A talented outfield led by Bryce Harper and Adam Eaton. A rising superstar at shortstop in Trea Turner. A possibly major hole at closer.

The following is a list of things the 2017 Washington Nationals appear to not have: Razors. Shaving cream. A desire to groom their faces.

A fun tradition at each team's spring training is the annual photo day, because photo day forces professional athletes to pose in front of cameras like they're being featured in the poster of an upcoming blockbuster movie. And after poring through the snapshots from the Nationals' photo day, a single trend emerged.

This year's team is a hairy bunch.

Among that bunch are the usual suspects, such as Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth:

But there are some surprises, most notably of which is Stephen Strasburg. The right-hander tends to keep his mug 100-percent clean-shaven, but for now, at least, he's allowed his face to become quite fertile:

Then there's newcomer Adam Lind, who has a goatee that Duke's Blue Devil logo would be forced to respect:

Shawn Kelley, meanwhile, who's pictured below, has a beard that looks like...

...Derek Norris' beard, before Derek Norris' beard hit puberty and grew up to be the strong, mature beard it is today:

There are scraggly ones, such as Daniel Murphy's:

And fuller, more complete ones, like Eaton's (full marks, by the way, for the trade acquisition's ability to seamlessly connect 'stache to beard):

The most wild photo of all, however, was this one of Turner. Is this the Nats stud, or a picture of Leonard DiCaprio from a scene in The Revenant? Hard to tell with all that stubble the infielder's cultivating:

One potential positive of this team-wide movement: If Turner and his teammates keep what they're growing down in Florida going throughout the season, their faces will be plenty warm by the time playoff baseball comes around. 

RELATED: HARPER GOES YARD IN FIRST AT-BAT OF THE SPRING

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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