Mets LHP Niese to open season on DL (The SportsXchange)

New York Mets left-hander Jonathon Niese will open the season on the disabled list, but is expected to still pitch in the team's first homestand, ESPN.com reported Thursday. The plan is for Niese, who was scheduled to start the March 31 season opener against the Washington Nationals, to pitch in the sixth game of the season on April 6 against the Cincinnati Reds. That is the first day Niese would be allowed to be activated from the disabled list. Niese received a cortisone injection in his left elbow Monday in New York to try to alleviate inflammation after undergoing an MRI.

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Cosart retires all 15 batters faced in Astros’ win (The Associated Press)

Jarred Cosart pitched five perfect innings Wednesday night, leading the Houston Astros to a 2-0 victory over the Washington Nationals. After the game, Nationals manager Matt Williams said Stephen Strasburg would make the opening-day start at the New York Mets on March 31. Cosart struck out nine, including six in a row and seven of eight. ''That's the best I've seen him as far as the sharpness of his off-speed stuff,'' Astros catcher Jason Castro said.

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Nationals, Ayala agree on minor league deal (The Associated Press)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington Nationals have agreed to terms with right-hander Luis Ayala on a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

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Diamondbacks edge Nats to finish at .500 (The SportsXchange)

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks built a team that would grind though the season, and nothing typified the approach better than a 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals in the final game Sunday.

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Tracy, Haren lead Nationals past Diamondbacks (The SportsXchange)

PHOENIX -- Dan Haren and Chad Tracy celebrated a return to Chase Field by helping the Washington Nationals drop the Arizona Diamondbacks below .500 for the first time this season.

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Nationals 2, Diamondbacks 0 (The SportsXchange)

PHOENIX -- Chad Tracy had two hits including a home run, while Dan Haren scattered four hits in seven scoreless innings to lead the Washington Nationals to a 2-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Saturday.

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Baseball-Highlights of Tuesday’s Major League Baseball games (Reuters)

(Adds late games) Sept 24 (Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Tuesday's Major League Baseball games: - - - - Cardinals 2, Nationals 0 Michael Wacha came within one out of a no-hitter, victimizing the Washington Nationals in a win that put St. Louis another step closer to the National League Central title. Wacha (4-1), the 19th overall pick in last year's draft, overpowered Washington most of the night, fanning nine and allowing one heartbreaking hit in just his ninth big league start. ...

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MLB Wrap: Pirates clinch; Machado hurt (Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia)

CHICAGO -- The Pittsburgh Pirates are going to the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, clinching at least a National League wild card Monday night when they beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 and the Washington Nationals lost to St. Louis.It will be Pittsburgh's first trip to the postseason since Barry Bonds, Jim Leyland and Co. won three straight NL East titles from 1990-92. Bonds then left for San Francisco as a free agent, and the small-budget Pirates piled up 20 consecutive losing records -- the longest streak in the four major professional sports. ...

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Nationals honor retiring manager Davey Johnson (The Associated Press)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington Nationals honored Davey Johnson on Sunday, paying tribute to the retiring 70-year-old manager who last season guided the team to its only playoff appearance.

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Why the New York Mets Are Not World Series Contenders in 2013 (Yahoo Contributor Network)

COMMENTARY | The New York Mets own a 64-81 record following a four-game sweep at the hands of the Washington Nationals. It's been clear for quite some time this season that the Amazins wouldn't be heading to the postseason.

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