Stephen Strasburg strikes out nine in a dominating performance

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Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL Stephen Strasburg!

The Nats’ ace was a bit rusty in his first start back from the disabled list, but there was no rust to be seen last night against the Rockies. He allowed one run in seven innings, giving up five hits walking no one and striking out nine.

The Nats are slowly turning things around. Strong starts from Jordan Zimmermann and Strasburg, some awakening offense from Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche. And, quite possibly, a quicker return for Bryce Harper than many expected are all what the doctor ordered. Pair that with a Braves team that is struggling mightily and the NL East is quickly becoming a race again.

The Red Sox designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment

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The Boston Red Sox activated Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list today. That’s a big deal. The move they made to make room for him on the roster was a big one too: they designated Hanley Ramirez for assignment. A designation for assignment, of course, means that the Sox have seven days to either trade or release Ramirez.

Ramirez, 34, is experiencing his worst season as a major leaguer thus far, hitting .254/.313/.395 (88 OPS+) in 195 plate appearances as he split time between first base and designated hitter. Given how well Mitch Moreland has hit at first and J.D. Martinez has hit at DH, there is simply no room for Ramirez in the lineup.

Ramirez, a 14-year big league veteran, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award and won the NL batting title in 2009. He has been a below average hitter in three of his last four seasons, however and, long removed from his days as a middle infielder, he has little defensive value these days. That said, his fame and the possibility that he could put together a decent run if used wisely will likely get him some looks from other clubs.