Ryan Zimmerman scratched, a ‘manager’s decision’

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Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was a late scratch Tuesday in what was termed a “manager’s decision” by a team spokesman.

The spokesman said Zimmerman might be available to pinch-hit. Chad Tracy is starting at third base in his place.

Zimmerman’s absence bodes well for Roy Halladay to continue his dominance of the Nationals. He’s 11-0 with a 2.09 ERA against the franchise since last losing to the Expos on June 28, 2002.

CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman points out that the Nationals used the “manager’s decision” term once before this season when they scratched Jayson Werth due to what was eventually revealed to be a migraine headache.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.