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Nationals News: Club the Cubbies Edition

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  Although Adam Dunn was kept rather quiet last night (1/4 with two runs scored), he has been a crucial part of the Nationals' success this season. Since moving to first, he's made just one error in 23 games, where he had committed eight in 83 games as an outfielder; in the same timeframe, he's batted .333/.485/.693 with seven home runs. It hasn't just been Dunn who has contributed, other players have been stepping up too: both Ronnie Belliard and Elijah Dukes have hit grand slams within the past three games. If the rest of the lineup can continue to hit the way they have been, teams may become wary of pitching around Dunn, giving him more chances to hit and avoid being walked.

  It's official: Stephen Strasburg will play in the Arizona Fall League, along with Drew Storen, whom Rizzo has said will not be called up in September. Oh, and he'll get to wear his college number, 37.

  The Nationals signed a contract with Livan Hernandez last night, bringing the man who threw the first pitch ever as a National back to DC. He is a two-time All Star, a World Series winner and MVP with the Marlins, and a two-time league leader in complete games pitched. His resume is solid, so the Nats are hoping that he can become the veteran mentor their young pitchers need.

  Each team is allowed to send six players to the Arizona Fall League, and the Nats have already decided on five of those: the aforementioned Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen, catcher Derek Norris, shortstop Danny Espinoza and first baseman Chris Marrero. Those sound like some pretty promising names, so I hope they get in some good experience and are ready to play in the majors sooner rather than later.

  FJB thinks Bryce Harper, assuming he's the #1 pick next year, might be the easiest #1 pick to sign in quite some time.