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updated: 10/5/2017 7:15 PM

Hometown Vegas on minds of Bryant, Harper

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  • Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper, left, laughs with Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant, right, at Nationals Park, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, in Washington. Game 1 of the National League division series is on Friday.

    Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper, left, laughs with Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant, right, at Nationals Park, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, in Washington. Game 1 of the National League division series is on Friday.

 
 

WASHINGTON -- Two of the most sought-after players Thursday at Nationals Park were the Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant and Washington's Bryce Harper.

Both hail from Las Vegas, and both were touched by this week's mass shooting in their city.

"It's been tough," Bryant said before the Cubs worked out in preparation for Game 1 of the National League division series. "With Bryce over there, too, we've kind of been talking. We play baseball for a living, but there's really more important things to it. We're definitely doing what we can to help. This off-season, I know I'll be doing all I can.

"I was born and raised in Vegas. And there's actually people who live outside the city; it's not just downtown on the Strip. It's been really touching to see the community come together like that."

Harper was surrounded at his locker by media from Chicago and Washington.

"It's been pretty surreal," he said of the Las Vegas situation. "Just talking to friends, talking to family that were definitely at the concert, and seeing things that have happened and transpired from that, it just goes to show how strong our community is in Vegas and how much of a small-knit community it can be.

"It's definitely an unbelievable thing that happened. And you never want that to happen to anybody across the world and or anything like that, and for it to happen in your hometown, it definitely hits home."

Roster decision coming:

The Cubs are expected to announce their 25-man NLDS roster by 9 a.m. Central Friday. Manager Joe Maddon was not tipping his hand. He was asked about veteran pitcher John Lackey but gave no indication.

Maddon did say right-hander Jake Arrieta "is feeling fine." Arrieta, who has been battling a hamstring injury, is the scheduled starter for Game 4, if the game is necessary.

Lackey could make the roster as a long reliever or as insurance in case Arrieta can't pitch.

Nationals ace Max Scherzer's status is still uncertain. He "tweaked" his hamstring this past weekend, and Washington manager Dusty Baker said the only decision he has made is that Stephen Strasburg will star Game 1.

He says he's OK:

Nationals star Bryce Harper said he is good to go for the NLDS. Harper suffered a bone bruise in his left knee and a strained left calf Aug. 12, when he hit first base awkwardly while running. His first game back was Sept. 26.

He went 1-for-14 for the rest of the month and 2-for-4 in the Oct. 1 game. Harper hit 29 home runs during the regular season.

"I feel fine, just healthy," he said. "That's my biggest thing, that I'm healthy. I felt healthy right when I came back. It took a little more time than I wanted, of course. I got out there as quickly as I could. I tried to stay as calm as I could and rest and let it heal.

"As we wrapped up the division, it gave us a little more time to rest."

Hello, Edwin Jackson:

Former Cubs starter Edwin Jackson found a home with the Nationals in the middle of the season and went 5-6 with a 5.07 ERA in 13 games.

The Cubs signed Jackson to a four-year, $52 million contract in 2013, and he was released during the 2015 season after going 16-37 with a 5.37 ERA.

Through it all, Jackson remained positive and was a good clubhouse presence.

"That was definitely part of being a professional," he said. "No one ever said anyone's career would be successful at all times, especially after signing a big contract. It was unfortunate that I didn't pitch like I wanted to. It definitely wasn't from attitude or from confidence. It was just things weren't going my way.

"I've read the comments. I've had people come up and ask me how I feel about Theo (Cubs president Epstein) saying that things were a mistake. It is what it is. You have to have an answer for when things don't go your way. That was his answer. That's the game. I don't get worried things I can't control."

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