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Wire Taps: Benches clear in Pittsburgh; Matt Wieters returns from DL; Stephen Strasburg rehabs today

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of the second of three with the Pirates.

Washington Nationals v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Nationals are 0-2 in the last two days against two cellar dwellers. It is not the way this stretch of games was supposed to go.

Here’s what’s popping in Pittsburgh:

Benches clear after Eaton-Cervelli argument (MLB)
Adam Eaton disagreed with the second called strike against him in the sixth inning, and told the umpire how he felt. Then Francisco Cervelli got involved, and then benches cleared. And then nothing happened.

Bryce Harper hits 22nd home run (MLB)
Harper has gone 5-for-25 in the month of July, but has a .444 OBP.

With Wieters back from DL, Severino optioned to Syracuse (MASN)
Pedro Severino stepped in and did well, but he and Spencer Kieboom were essentially doing the same on offense, and the difference behind the plate was sizable enough that the Nats decided that Pedro Severino needed still more seasoning.

As rotation struggles, Stephen Strasburg to begin rehab (MASN)
Strasburg starts today for Potomac after throwing 60 pitches in a sim game. He can't get back soon enough after Jefry Rodriguez struggled mightily against the Pirates, especially given the fact that Nationals starters have only thrown 21 innings in the last five days.

The dysfunction of the baseball culture in Latin America (Yahoo!)
There are kids on steroids, corrupt scouts and parents convicted of abusing children, all on top of a whole lot of corruption.

Marty’s musings: dog days edition (BTBS)
"Runs scored by the Marlins on Thursday, including having a 9-0 lead over the struggling Nationals. The Nats offense exploded however, and DC won the game 14-12. The Nats are barely over .500, and are still chasing the Phillies and Braves in the NL East."