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Tigers-Nationals postponed by rain

WASHINGTON (AP) - On a day when rain postponed the start of a much-anticipated series against the Detroit Tigers, the Washington Nationals got some good news.

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Manager Davey Johnson said left fielder Bryce Harper would not be suspended or fined by Major League Baseball for being ejected in Sunday's 6-2 win at Pittsburgh. Harper was ejected by third base umpire John Hirschbeck for disputing a checked-swing third strike.

``That's great. I'm glad I don't have to pay the $1,000. That's another $1,000 in my pocket, so that's good,'' Harper said. ``That's Major League Baseball's decision and I respect that definitely and if I was to get fined I'd respect that, too.''

Harper tried to hold up on a 2-2 pitch from Wandy Rodriguez and home plate umpire Bob Davidson pointed to Hirschbeck for help. Hirschbeck ruled that Harper had swung.

Harper stood outside the batter's box, stared at Hirschbeck for a few moments and dropped his bat. Hirschbeck then tossed Harper out of the game.

``It really turned out good,'' Johnson said. ``I wanted to give him a day off anyway and so the umpire helped me out there. He got a day off and with the day off (Monday) he's got two days off so he should be ready to go for quite a while.''

Harper now has three days off to deal with a bruise on his left side he sustained when he ran into the outfield wall attempting to make a catch April 30 in Atlanta.

``It's feeling a little bit better,'' Harper said. ``Those past four or five days we were on the road it didn't feel very good.''

With a steady rain falling late in the afternoon and a forecast calling for more, Tuesday's game was postponed and rescheduled for 4:05 p.m. Thursday.

Tuesday's scheduled starters, right-handers Anibal Sanchez (3-2, 1.82 ERA) for Detroit and Jordan Zimmermann (5-1, 1.64), will now open the series Wednesday night.

Sanchez went 8-0 with a 1.97 ERA in 19 career starts against the Nationals while with the Marlins. Zimmermann began Tuesday tied for the National League lead in wins and third in ERA.

NOTES: Detroit's RHP Doug Fister (4-0, 2.48) and RHP Dan Haren (3-3, 5.01) will now pitch Thursday's finale. . Washington RF Jayson Werth (strained right hamstring) was not in the posted lineup. He's missed the past three games. Before the postponement was announced, Johnson said he was holding Werth out one more day due to the wet field conditions. . Tiger LHP Phil Coke (left groin strain) began an injury rehab assignment Monday night with Triple-A Toledo, earning a victory after pitching a scoreless inning that included a hit, walk and strikeout. ``He's still breathing. He did all right,'' Tiger manager Jim Leyland said. ``His control evidently wasn't real good. (His) ball-strike ratio wasn't real good, but he did fine.''

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