by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals announced their 2016 schedule on Tuesday, in conjunction with Major League Baseball, revealing an 81-game home slate that will begin with the home opener on April 7 vs. the Miami Marlins. The 83rd home opener in D.C. since 1901 will come after the Nationals begin the season at Atlanta with a two-game series April 4-6. Visit nationals.com to view the full schedule.
Nationals Park will play host to 11 homestands, four of which will span 10 days, and include 13 weekend series. The home schedule will be highlighted by visits from the American League Central in Interleague play. The Nationals will welcome the Minnesota Twins (April 22-24), Detroit Tigers (May 9-11), and the Cleveland Indians (Aug. 9-10), and will visit the Chicago White Sox (June 7-9), the Kansas City Royals (May 2-4), and Cleveland (July 26-27).
The Nationals will celebrate with holiday crowds twice in 2016, first with the annual Fourth of July contest, as the Milwaukee Brewers visit the nation’s capital for the nation’s birthday, and concluding with a visit from the Philadelphia Phillies on Labor Day (Sept. 5).
Weekends at Nationals Park will feature visits from the Miami Marlins (April 7-10, May 13-15, Sept. 30-Oct. 2), Minnesota Twins (April 22-24), St. Louis Cardinals (May 26-29), Philadelphia Phillies (June 10-12, Sept. 8-11), Cincinnati Reds (July 1-3), Pittsburgh Pirates (July 15-17), San Diego Padres (July 22-24), San Francisco Giants (Aug. 5-7), Atlanta Braves (Aug. 12-14), and Colorado Rockies (Aug. 26-28).
The Nationals’ road slate features two west coast trips as the club will travel to San Diego and Los Angeles in June (16-22) before closing that 10-game trip with a three-game set in Milwaukee. The Nationals will then head west once more at the end of July as they close a nine-game trip that begins in Cleveland (July 26-27), with stops in San Francisco (July 28-31) and Arizona (Aug. 1-3).
The annual Beltway Series with the Baltimore Orioles will take place in August during a four-game home-and-home. The Nationals will travel to Baltimore at the end of a nine-game trip that starts in Colorado (Aug. 15-17), stops in Atlanta (Aug. 18-21) and wraps up in Baltimore (Aug. 22-23). The two Mid-Atlantic teams will then head down to D.C. to finish up the series with two at Nationals Park (Aug 24-25).
Nineteen of the Nationals’ first 22 games will come against divisional foes. Washington will finish the 2016 season playing 25 of their final 32 games within the National League East as well.
The Nationals will conclude the 2016 regular season with a seven-game homestand that will feature a four-game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks (Sept. 26-29) and finish with three games against the Miami Marlins (Sept. 30-Oct. 2).
All dates and opponents on this schedule are subject to change. Visit nationals.com to view the full schedule. To secure the best seats at the best price with a 2016 NATS PLUS Membership, visit nationals.com/natsplus, call 202.675.NATS(6287) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals returned from rehab and reinstated center fielder Denard Span from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, and optioned right-handed pitcher Tanner Roark to Single-A Potomac.
Span, 31, returns to the Nationals after missing 40 games due to back tightness. The Nationals’ leadoff man is coming off six rehab games – spanning stops with Single-A Hagerstown, Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg – in which he hit .412 with a .500 on-base percentage and a .588 slugging percentage. Span went 7-for-17 with one home run, three walks and six runs scored.
In 59 games with the Nationals this season, Span is hitting .304 (72-for-237) with a .367 on-base percentage and a .430 slugging percentage. In 265 plate appearances, Span has clubbed 15 doubles and five home runs, walked 24 times and stolen 11 bases.
One of the most dynamic center fielders in the game, Span is coming off arguably his finest Major League season. Hitting .302 with a Nationals (2005-present) single-season record 184 hits in 2014, Span collected a career-high 52 extra-base hits last season, to go along with a career-best 31 stolen bases. He became just the sixth qualified player in Nationals history to hit .300 or better, joining Cristian Guzman, Michael Morse, Jayson Werth, Dmitri Young and Ryan Zimmerman.
Roark, 28, is 4-4 with four holds and one save, along with a 4.54 ERA in 34 games (six games started) this season. The versatile right-hander is career 26-15 with a 3.04 ERA since his MLB debut, Aug. 7, 2013. In that span, Roark has started 42 games for the Nationals, including 31 (15-10, 2.85 ERA) during his breakout 2014 season. While with Potomac Roark will transition to the starting rotation.
by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals selected the contract of shortstop Trea Turner from Triple-A Syracuse on Friday and placed first baseman/outfielder Tyler Moore on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 19, with a left ankle sprain. Additionally, right-handed pitcher Aaron Barrett (right elbow sprain) was transferred to the 60-day DL.
Turner joins the Nationals for the first Major League assignment of his career. Ranked the No. 9 (Baseball America) and No. 12 (MLB.com) best prospect in all of baseball, Turner arrives in the Major Leagues having hit .322 with a .370 on-base percentage and a .458 slugging percentage in 116 minor league games this season.
Acquired from the San Diego Padres on June 14 – completing the Dec. 18, 2014 three-team trade in which Washington acquired right-handed pitcher Joe Ross and a Player to be Named from the Padres, and sent outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and Minor League left-handed pitcher Travis Ott to the Tampa Bay Rays – Turner has played at two different levels for three different teams this year.
The speedy infielder hit .322 (73-for-227) with 13 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 35 RBI, 24 walks, 11 stolen bases and 31 runs scored in 58 games for San Diego’s Double-A affiliate, the San Antonio Missions, to open his 2015 season. He posted a .385 on-base percentage, a .471 slugging percentage and an .856 OPS along the way.
After officially joining the Nationals’ organization, Turner hit .359/.366/.513 with four doubles, one triple, four RBI, one walk and four stolen bases in 10 games with Double-A Harrisburg. Turner, 22, was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse on June 26, and has hit .314/.353/.431 with seven doubles, three triples, three home runs, 13 walks, 14 stolen bases and 15 RBI in his first experience (48 games) at the highest level of the minor leagues.
Turner joined right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito in representing the Nationals at the Sirius/XM MLB All-Star Futures Game in Cincinnati in July. He went 2-for-2 with a double, triple, and two RBI in the annual prospect showcase.
A first-round selection in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft (No. 13 overall), Turner entered the 2015 season rated as the No. 2 prospect in the Padres’ chain and the No. 65 prospect in all of baseball, per Baseball America, and his stock has risen considerably this season.
Turner boasts advanced speed and base running ability. According to Baseball America, Turner had the “Best Strike-Zone Discipline,” and was the “Best Athlete” and “Best Defensive Infielder” in the San Diego Minor League system prior to his trade to Washington.
Moore, 28, is hitting .200 for the Nationals this season with 10 doubles, four home runs and 22 RBI. Appearing predominantly off the Nationals’ bench (Moore has started 28 games, 1B: 17; OF: 11), the Mississippi native has four pinch hits and one pinch-hit home run in 2015.
The Washington Nationals acquired All-Star right-handed pitcher Jonathan Papelbon from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Minor League right-handed pitcher, Nick Pivetta. President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcements. Papelbon, a six-time All-Star and one of the most prolific closers in Major League Baseball history, joins the Nationals after spending the last three-plus seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies. He is 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA (7 ER/39.2 IP) and is 17-for-17 in save opportunities this season. He has tallied 40 strikeouts, issued eight walks and has allowed opposing batters to hit .211 against him. He is one of only three MLB closers to be perfect in save opportunities and ranks among National League relievers in ERA (7th, 1.59) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (T10th, 5.00),
Since assuming the closer’s role for the Boston Red Sox in 2006, Papelbon has converted 342 saves, the most in Major League Baseball during the last 11 seasons. His 342 saves are good for 12th in MLB history and are third-most among active pitchers. He also ranks among MLB relievers in strikeouts (1st, 727), strikeout-to-walk ratio (5th, 4.85), walks and hits/innings pitched (6th, 1.00) and ERA (8th, 2.30) since 2006.
In 2014, he became just the fifth reliever in MLB history to convert at least 25 saves in nine consecutive seasons, joining Mariano Rivera, Lee Smith, John Wetteland, and Troy Percival. On June 10 vs. San Diego, he became the 26th pitcher in MLB history to record 300 saves, tying Trevor Hoffman as the second fastest player to reach the 300 save mark.
Papelbon converted 39 saves in 2014, his most since converting a career-high 41 saves for the Boston Red Sox in 2008. He ranked among National League relievers in save percentage (T4th, 90.7%), saves (T5th, 39), walks and hits/innings pitched (8th, 0.90) and opponents OPS (9th, .500). With 66 games pitched, he appeared in 50 or more games for the ninth straight season and 60 or more for the seventh year in a row. On August 26, 2014 vs. Washington, he converted his 100th career save as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies and became the first player in MLB history to convert at least 200 saves in one league (AL, BOS – 219) and 100 saves in another league (NL, PHI – 123).
Papelbon, 34, is 37-30 with a 2.32 ERA over his 11 Major League seasons with Boston (2005-2011) and Philadelphia (2012-2015). He was selected in the fourth round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft out of Mississippi State University. During his time with the Phillies, he supported youth living in Philadelphia-area foster programs through his participation in “Papelbon’s Pen” charitable ticket program. He and his wife, Ashley, have a daughter, Parker, and a son, Gunner.
Pivetta, 22, was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of New Mexico Junior College. He was 7-6 with a 3.02 ERA in 18 games/17 starts between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg.
The Washington Nationals returned from rehab and reinstated infielder Anthony Rendon from the 15-day disabled list and optioned right-handed pitcher Abel de Los Santos to Double-A Harrisburg on Saturday.
Rendon, 24, returns to the Nationals’ active roster after missing 25 games with a left quad strain. He appeared in six Minor League rehab games with Single-A Potomac, hitting .471 (8-for-17) with two doubles, one RBI, three walks and two runs scored.
The Nationals’ first-round selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Rendon is coming off a superb 2014 season in which he took home the National League Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award for third basemen and finished fifth in the National League Most Valuable Player Award voting.
Rendon, who is an exceptional defender at second and third base, hit .287 with 39 doubles, six triples, 21 home runs, 83 RBI, 58 walks and 111 runs scored in 153 games in 2014. The gifted infielder ranked fourth in the Major Leagues (second in the NL) in wins above replacement (6.6), according to FanGraphs.com, at the conclusion of the season.
de Los Santos, 22, appeared in two games for the Nationals allowing one earned run on two hits with three strikeouts and one walk in 1.2 innings of relief. He made his Major League debut on July 21 vs. New York.
by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals recalled right-handed pitcher Joe Ross from Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday and optioned infielder Wilmer Difo to Double-A Harrisburg. Ross will start for the Nationals against the Mets on Tuesday night.
Ross, 22, returns to the Nationals for his second Major League stint of the season. The Nationals selected Ross’ contract from Double-A on June 6 and the rookie right-hander dazzled in three starts for Washington, going 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA. The first Major League assignment of Ross’ career included eight innings of two-run baseball over the Milwaukee Brewers on June 13 and one run over 7.1 IP in his next start, June 19 vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Ross, who has posted a 2.6 walks/9.0 IP mark over the course of his Minor League career, faced 51 Major League batters before he issued his first walk, a new Nationals (2005-present) record.
Since returning to the Minor Leagues, Ross has worked to a 3-1 record with a 2.19 ERA over five starts in his first experience at the Triple-A level. With Syracuse, Ross has never allowed more than three earned runs in a start.
Ross was acquired, along with infielder Trea Turner, from the San Diego Padres in a three-team trade that sent outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and Minor League left-handed pitcher Travis Ott to the Tampa Bay Rays on December 18, 2014. He was originally selected by the Padres in the first round (No. 25 overall) of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
Difo, 23, is 1-for-8 (.125) in the Major Leagues this season. The Nationals’ No. 8 prospect, per Baseball America’s mid-season rankings, is hitting .296 with a .343 on-base percentage and a .416 slugging percentage in 63 Minor League games this season across High Single-A and Double-A.