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Werth, Storen near return

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Werth, Storen near return

The Nationals' two biggest roster additions this summer might not come via a blockbuster move at the July 31 trade deadline but rather the pending return of two key players from the disabled list: Jayson Werth and Drew Storen.

Each recovering player is moving closer to a return from the DL. Storen could be activated in time to make his season debut tomorrow afternoon; at the same time Werth could be beginning a minor-league rehab assignment.

Storen sounds ready to face big-league hitters after a dominant, one-inning performance Tuesday night with Class A Potomac. That was his sixth rehab appearance and his most effective (he struck out two of the three Lynchburg batters he faced).

"I feel confident out there and I feel comfortable," he said. "I think that's the main thing. That's what you try to get in spring training. I treated these rehab appearances like they were spring training, and I'm really happy with where I'm at."

Storen, who had surgery in April to remove a bone spur in his elbow, hasn't pitched on back-to-back days yet. But he noted he didn't do that in previous spring trainings and feels confident he'll be able to to perform when called upon now.

"It's one of those things were adrenaline takes over," he said. "I feel physically strong enough to do it. And I've done it before. I feel like I can come back and do it now."

Werth, meanwhile, took a major step forward today when he took a full round of batting practice for the first time since breaking his left wrist on May 6. The veteran outfielder didn't show any rust at all, at one point driving seven consecutive pitches over the fence in either left or center field.

"I was really pleasantly surprised," manager Davey Johnson said. "I didn't think he'd be hitting for another week, and he didn't seem like he felt any discomfort."

Things went so well for Werth that he requested to immediately begin a minor-league rehab assignment tomorrow, and the Nationals might oblige.

"After I saw him hit, I don't see any reason to think differently," Johnson said.

Werth will probably spend considerable time on his rehab assignment, perhaps more than two weeks, as he tries to get his timing down and get his body into game shape. The Nationals still expect him to come off the DL sometime during the first week of August.

"He pretty much knows his body better than anybody," Johnson said. "He knows what he needs to do to come back, and he knows where we're at in a pennant race. He doesn't want to be half-stepping. It'll be entirely up to him and how he's feeling."

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2017 ballpark foods that are way better than peanuts and Cracker Jack

2017 ballpark foods that are way better than peanuts and Cracker Jack

Back in the olden days, cotton candy or a plate of nachos were considered bold ballpark snacks. Thankfully, the olden days are over, and a new era of ballpark food has begun.

And in this era, a menu item isn't considered complete until it's fried, sandwiched between something else and then finally drizzled with some sort of sauce. 

So, what's on the menu for 2017? Well, peanuts, hot dogs and apple pie nachos, of course.

CLICK HERE TO FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE CRAZIEST BALLPARK FOODS YOU'LL FIND AROUND MLB THIS YEAR

With a new season about to begin, CSNmidatlantic.com has identified 10 of the most eye-popping and artery-clogging foods available around Major League Baseball in 2017. To see them, simply click on the link above or below to open our gallery (no fork and knife necessary).

After all, while peanuts and Cracker Jack are cute, they simply can't match up with a hot dog topped with bacon and a fried egg. 

CLICK HERE TO FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE CRAZIEST BALLPARK FOODS YOU'LL FIND AROUND MLB THIS YEAR

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Nationals Ace Max Scherzer will not be team's opening day starter

Nationals Ace Max Scherzer will not be team's opening day starter

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team's opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation. 

Scherzer has been the team's starter on opening day for the past two seasons, but a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger caused him to miss the start of spring training, and the World Baseball Classic. 

Scherzer did, however, make his first MLB spring training start of 2017 on Wednesday. The 2016 NL Cy Young award winner allowed two earned runs on five hits over 4.2 innings. He added four strikeouts and one walk, and reportedly looked just like you would expect from Max Scherzer. 

"To be out there competing, throwing all my pitches, throwing them for strikes, that's a great first outing," Scherzer told Eddie Matz of ESPN after the game. "Finger's good. Finger feels like a finger. I'm getting through that injury. It's behind me now."

With Scherzer set to open the season as the third starter in the rotation, that likely means that Stephen Strasburg will start on opening day against the Miami Marlins, and Tanner Roark will slot in behind him. 

While it's nice to have your ace pitcher starting on opening day, it's not a huge deal to have Scherzer start the season third in the rotation, especially because the Nationals starting rotation is the strength of the team

RELATED: Nationals' Tanner Roark pitches four scoreless innings to help Team USA beat Japan in WBC