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Nationals unlikely to sign draft pick who made racist tweets

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Zach Houchins, the Nationals’ 15th-round pick in the 2011 draft who created a bit of a stir when a fanblog highlighted some very unflattering tweets, hasn’t heard from the team in months and is highly unlikely to sign a contract prior to the Aug. 15 deadline.

Houchins, a shortstop from a North Carolina juco, apologized to the Nationals back in June, but hasn’t had any contact with the team since, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports.

“I called [the Nationals]. I apologized to Mr. Roy Clark [the team’s assistant general manager]. I apologized to him for what was said on Twitter,” Houchins said. “[Clark said], ‘Yeah, anything you said on Twitter was completely unacceptable.’ I understood where he was coming from. That was pretty much the conversation.”

Houchins indicated he plans to return to Louisburg College and try to improve his draft stock for next year.

The Nationals acquire Marc Rzepczynski from the Athletics

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 25:  Marc Rzepczynski #35 of the Oakland Athletics throws against the Texas Rangers in the fifth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Nationals have acquired left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski and cash considerations from the A’s in exchange for minor league infielder Max Schrock.

Schrock is a 21-year-old second baseman who has been pretty darn impressive in A-ball this year, but the Nats can be excused for giving up promise in 2018 or whatever for some bullpen help come playoff time. Rzepczynski walks a few too many guys for my taste but he strikes ’em out at a pretty decent rate for a LOOGY and the Nats could use another southpaw reliever apart from Oliver Perez. This is especially true given how many tough lefty hitters they may face in the playoffs.

On the basic merits, sure, Rzepczynski for Schrock may look pretty dang good for the A’s in a few years. But this October the A’s will be watching on TV from home while the Nats will be trying to win it all, making the trade pretty darn understandable from their point of view.

 

Video: Minor leaguer dives over the wall to rob a home run

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Meanwhile, in Tulsa, Zach Welz of the visiting Arkansas Travelers made a spectacular catch. It was the catch Torii Hunter tried to make on that famous David Ortiz homer in the playoffs a few years back except Welz made it.

Watch as he topples over the wall to come up with the would-be dinger off the bat of Tulsa Drillers first baseman Cody Bellinger: