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Yasiel Puig homers off of Clayton Kershaw in return to Dodger Stadium

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Yasiel Puig made his much-anticipated return to Dodger Stadium following an offseason trade that sent him to Cincinnati. The game had even more intrigue as Clayton Kershaw was activated from the injured list to make his season debut.

Puig’s day started off in Puigian style. He was characteristically late to his pre-game press conference. When he actually addressed the media, Puig expressed how happy he is with his new situation and his new teammates, especially Joey Votto.

In his first at-bat against his former team, Puig drove a slider Kershaw out to center field for a two-run home run. You can’t draw it up any better than that.

The dinger, of course, would not have been complete without a celebratory bat toss.

Puig hit his first homer of the year on Sunday against the Cardinals. He entered the night with a .502 OPS on the season. Perhaps he’s starting to heat up.

The Nationals have inquired about Kris Bryant

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The Washington Nationals, fresh off signing Stephen Strasburg to a $245 million deal, are now turning their attention to their third base hole. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that they have made inquiries to the Chicago Cubs about trading for Kris Bryant.

Emphasis on the word “inquiry” because it’d be premature for the Cubs to trade Bryant at the moment, even if they are reported to be considering the possibility.

Bryant and the Cubs are awaiting word from an arbitrator about Bryant’s years-old service time grievance. If Bryant wins, he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season. If the Cubs win they control him for two more years. The team may or may not choose to trade him in either case as they are reportedly trying to cut payroll, but the price for him will vary pretty significantly depending on whether or not the acquiring club will receive one or two years of control over the former MVP.

For Washington, this would be a means of replacing free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon. Or, perhaps, the inquiries are a means of creating a tad more leverage for the Nats as they talk to Rendon’s agent about re-signing him.

Which, in the past, the Nats said they could not do if they also re-signed Strasburg, though I suspect that’s just posturing too. They may not want to spend big money to keep their World Series core together, but they can afford it. They’re going to see, I suspect, an eight-figure uptick in revenue by virtue of being the defending World Series champs. They are poised to receive a significant payout as a result of recent rulings in their own multi-year dispute with the Orioles and the MASN network. They are, of course, owned by billionaire real estate moguls. All of that taken together means that, if they choose to, they can bring back Rendon. Assuming he chooses to come back too.

But, if that doesn’t happen, they appear to be giving themselves options at the hot corner.