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Joe Nathan can void option for 2014, hopes to land multi-year deal

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T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that when Rangers closer Joe Nathan reached 55 games finished on Thursday, it triggered a clause which allows him to void a $9.5 million club option for 2014 and test free agency. While the veteran right-hander would like to stay with Texas, his first priority is to get a multi-year deal.

“The only reason to have that incentive in play is to have a little bit of power in getting a multiyear deal,” Nathan said. “Other than that, I’m just glad to get to that point and have it over and done with. Not that I was worried about it, but now I don’t have to concern myself with it. I can focus on what’s important.”

Even though he turns 39 in November, Nathan stands a pretty good chance to get his wish, as he has compiled a 2.20 ERA over the past two seasons while going 76-for-82 in save chances. The Rangers have Joakim Soria and Neftali Felz as in-house alternatives, so it’s possible they’ll move on if the bidding gets out of hand.

Stephen Strasburg unlikely to pitch in the NLDS

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 07:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals walks off the field after an injury in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on September 7, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.

Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.

The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.

A.J. Cole fined, suspended five games for throwing at Jung Ho Kang

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Home plate umpire Jordan Baker ejects A.J. Cole #22 of the Washington Nationals in the third inning during the game at PNC Park on September 25, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.

Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.

Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.