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Wire Taps: Nationals sign Jackson Rutledge; Bryce Harper’s second return postponed; Davey Martinez goes to 7-man bullpen

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while we wait to see if they actually play baseball tonight in the rain-soaked nation’s capital...

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Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

There was no baseball yesterday. The Nats can make up two games on the Phillies today. We have no further comment.

Here’s the news from Nationals Park:

A seven-man bullpen and deeper bench could change how Dave Martinez manages the Nationals (WaPo)
The Nationals, if they had followed this season's precedent, would have replaced Kyle Barraclough with a reliever when he went down on the injured list. Instead, they brought up Adrián Sanchez. That means that they're willing to put some trust in Tanner Rainey and eventually Trevor Rosenthal — which means they've essentially returned to their preseason plan.

Remember when Bryce Harper was slumping last season? He’s back, slumping again. (WaPo)
Harper is hitting .247 in Philly. He's swinging and missing constantly, including at pitches in the zone. Is it possible that his best actually isn't yet to come; it's also possible he'll turn it all on come the All-Star Break. Also, he may have been lying to Barry Svrluga for all of last year, so there's another element to confuse.

Nats' series opener vs. Phillies postponed after long wait (MASN)
The rain delay only lasted from 6:40 PM to 9:58 PM, which by Nationals standards, is probably decent.

First-rounder Jackson Rutledge agrees to terms with Nats (MASN)
Rutledge played out the agonizing waiting game that most first-rounders have to deal with: all the press of an early draft pick, and then hoping for a deal to come through.

Kurt Suzuki fine, Victor Robles batting ninth, Anthony Rendon still fifth in voting (MASN)
Suzuki got hit in the neck with a pitch in high school, after which he immediately passed out. When it happened to him on Sunday afternoon, he had one request: get me to the clubhouse couch before I pass out in front of a stadium.

Jackson Rutledge signs with Nationals (
Rutledge likely set the record for a JuCo pitcher's signing bonus with $3.45 million.

Nationals introduce first-round draft pick Jackson Rutledge (WaPo)
“When things are going well, I really feel in control of the game,” Rutledge said. “I feel like I put the game at my own pace. The hitters feel uncomfortable because of that.”

The 30: The Nationals and Braves gain ground, transcendent team defense in the NL West and bonus fantasy baseball schadenfreude (The Athletic)
The Nats cracked the top 20! The Nats cracked the top 20!

Nationals-Phillies postponed on Monday night (NBCSW)
Bryce Harper didn't leave the dugout on Monday, and the rain kept coming down. In other bad news, the Nats will need an extra starter to play seven games in six days.

Nationals introduce first round pick Jackson Rutledge, who is ready to work (NBCSW)
Rutledge is taller than any player on the Nats' active roster, hits triple digits, and will likely not crack the majors for a long, long time.

Rainout postpones Harper's latest return to Washington (AP News)
“Over the last couple of days, he’s looked as good as he’s looked,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “I actually think he started off really well, then he struggled for a while and now he’s been on a slow trajectory to get to the right spot. He’s been a little bit more upright. He’s a little more relaxed. (Sunday) was a super-relaxed look at the plate. I think he’s right where he needs to be.”

Nationals All-Star ballot update (
Howie Kendrick isn't on the ballot, but has hit .333/.383/.602 this season with 12 homers, and every single National thinks he has a serious case for the ASG.