Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says he’s “disappointed” Bryce Harper skipped NatsFest


UPDATE: According to Mark Zuckerman of, Bryce Harper released the following statement about missing NatsFest today:

“I have attended NatsFest each year and always enjoy spending time with Nats fans,” he said. “Due to matters outside of my control, I was unable to attend this year. However, I look forward to attending future fanfest events.”

2:05 p.m. ET: The Nationals are holding their annual NatsFest today, but a couple of high-profile players are not in attendance. One of them is Bryce Harper, who decided to not attend due to his scheduled grievance hearing against the team on Tuesday.

Mark Zuckerman of has more on the story:

Harper, on the other hand, appears to have decided himself not to attend. Rizzo said he’s “disappointed” by that development, but acknowledged it’s due to Tuesday’s salary grievance hearing in New York. Earlier in the week, Rizzo was asked if he thought there was a chance the two sides could come to an agreement and avoid the hearing, and he suggested there was some hope of that. Today, I asked him the same question, and he gave a “no comment” response. Reading between the lines, sounds like Tuesday’s hearing is all but certain to take place.

Rizzo had to explain Harper’s absence in some way and who knows what is going on behind the scenes, but whether it’s on purpose or not, they are doing a great job of trying to turn the fans against him. The dynamic between the Nats and Harper continues to be a weird one.

Denard Span, who was previously listed among the participating players, is also absent. However, he just had sports hernia surgery two weeks ago. Jayson Werth is in attendance and is expected to participate in some functions, but he will not address the media due to his appeal for a reckless driving charge in Virginia.

Padres claim 2-time All-Star catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from Mets

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — The scuffling San Diego Padres claimed catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from the New York Mets.

The two-time All-Star was designated for assignment after playing in three games for the Mets. He went 1 for 6 with three strikeouts and an RBI, looking shaky at times behind the plate.

With the disappointing Padres (24-29) getting meager offensive production at catcher, they hope Sánchez can provide a boost. Austin Nola is batting .131 with three extra-base hits and a paltry .434 OPS in 39 games. His part-time platoon partner, second-stringer Brett Sullivan, is hitting .170 with four extra-base hits and a .482 OPS in 21 games since getting called up from the minors April 16.

Luis Campusano has been on the injured list since April 17 and is expected to be sidelined until around the All-Star break following left thumb surgery.

San Diego is responsible for just over $1 million in salary for Sánchez after assuming his $1.5 million, one-year contract.

The star-studded Padres have lost seven of 11 and are 3-3 on a nine-game East Coast trip. They open a three-game series at Miami.

San Diego becomes the third National League team to take a close look at the 30-year-old Sánchez this season. He spent time in the minors with San Francisco before getting released May 2 and signing a minor league contract a week later with the Mets, who were minus a couple of injured catchers at the time.

After hitting well in a short stint at Triple-A Syracuse, he was promoted to the big leagues May 19. When the Mets reinstated catcher Tomás Nido from the injured list last week, Sánchez was cut.

Sánchez’s best seasons came early in his career with the New York Yankees, where he was runner-up in 2016 AL Rookie of the Year voting and made the AL All-Star team in 2017 and 2019.

He was traded to Minnesota before the 2022 season and batted .205 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 128 games last year.

With the Padres, Sánchez could also be a candidate for at-bats at designated hitter, where 42-year-old Nelson Cruz is batting .245 with three homers, 16 RBIs and a .670 OPS, and 37-year-old Matt Carpenter is hitting .174 with four homers, 21 RBIs and a .652 OPS.