Two items of note this afternoon before lineups are posted for the series opener against the Braves...
Matt Stairs was granted his unconditional release today, officially ending his playing tenure with the Nationals. The 43-year-old had been designated for assignment Wednesday to clear roster space for recently acquired outfielder Jonny Gomes.
Any other club could have plucked Stairs off waivers, or traded for him, but he passed through unclaimed, so the Nats released him. It's likely his big-league career, spanning 19 seasons and 12 franchises, has come to an end.
Meanwhile, Bryan Harper (brother of Bryce) has signed with the Nationals. The left-hander was selected in the 30th round of the June draft out of the University of South Carolina. Harper will report to Viera and pitch in the Gulf Coast League.