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Washington Nationals: Mid-Day Rumors, Links And Tweets - Stephen Strasburg's Debut, Livan Hernandez's Return.

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• Mr. National Himself Returns...on a minor league deal...

MLB.com's Bill Ladson just sent out a Twitter message announcing that the Washington Nationals have agreed on a minor league deal that will bring Mr. National Himself, Livan Hernandez, the 35-year-old, soft-tossing, two-time Nationals' right-hander back into the fold. In a late January article entitled, "Livan interested in returning to Nats", the free agent pitcher expressed frustration to MLB.com's Mr. Ladson, explaining that he and his agent had spoken to the DC GM Mike Rizzo during the early December Winter Meetings, but had never heard back from the Nationals' general manager. Earlier this week, the MLB.com writer had reported that Washington made contract offers to both Chan Ho Park and Braden Looper, though neither accepted the Nationals' overtures. Hernandez, coming off a (9-12) '09 campaign which saw him pitch for the New York Mets and Nationals once NY released the veteran hurler, posted a combined 5.44 ERA (76 ERA+, 4.44 FIP) in 31 starts and 183.2 IP over which he allowed 67 walks (3.3 BB/9) and struck out 102 (5.0 K/9) while posting a 1.56 WHIP...Several reports now confirm that it's a minor league deal, and Hernandez will be in camp by Friday.

(UPDATE: SI.com's Jon Heyman's latest Livan-related Tweet says Livan's deal with DC is for $900,000 "plus many incentives.")

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• Livan's Legacy...

• Strasburg's Spring Debut Set.

• Riggleman and McLaren.

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• Livan's Legacy...

Speaking of Livan Hernandez, the first time he left the nation's capital it was in an August '06 trade with the D-Backs that brought LHP Matt Chico and RHP Garrett Mock to DC. Both pitchers got a quick mention in FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal's article on someone named "Stephen Strasburg" yesterday entitled, "Nationals morale up, respect to follow", wherein Mr. Rosenthal wrote about the Nats' possible back end of the rotation options:

"[DC GM Mike] Rizzo sounds particularly excited about righty Garrett Mock — 'he looks outstanding' — and lefty Matt Chico, who is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery." 

Mock and Chico are just two of the pitchers battling for what could be two or three rotation spots depending upon how lefty Scott Olsen recovers from shoulder surgery. 

• Strasburg's Spring Debut Set.

There were several reports which announced the same news, but here's MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling's Tweet announcing when and where '09 No.1 overall pick, pitcher Stephen Strasburg will make his Spring Training debut on the mound: Stephen Strasburg's #Nats debut will come March 9 against the #Tigers at Space Coast Stadium. Get your tickets now.

• Riggleman and McLaren.

A little afternoon reading material...In case you thought it was odd that Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman would bring John McLaren, who Riggleman had replaced as manager as serving as his bench coach in Seattle, as his own bench coach once he got the full-time gig in DC, Seattle Times' baseball writer Larry Stone talks to the two former Mariners' skippers to set the record straight on their long friendship and future plans in an article entitled, "Jim Riggleman, John McLaren together again with new challenge."

More news when it's available...