Nationals place Rick Ankiel on disabled list with sprained wrist

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The Nationals placed center fielder Rick Ankiel on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right wrist following last night’s win over the Marlins.

Ankiel hasn’t played since since jamming his wrist while attempting to make some diving catches in the outfield during Monday’s game against the Giants.

An MRI on Ankiel’s wrist came back negative, but Nationals manager Jim Riggleman told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that they couldn’t go short-handed on their bench any longer.

“He just is not feeling well enough to hit, and we’re just so short-handed,” Riggleman said. “Morse is kind of limping around. We just can’t continue to go a man short. We just got to get a healthy body and let Rick Ankiel get healthy.”

Ankiel, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract over the winter, is batting .221/.302/.288 with one home run, seven RBI and a .590 OPS over his first 118 plate appearances this season, including a .203 clip over 74 at-bats against right-handed pitching.

Roger Bernadina was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse to replace Ankiel on the active roster and has a legitimate chance to take away the starting center field job.

Braves clinch NL East title

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So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.

The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.

Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.

Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.

With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.