Jul 6, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Rafael Soriano (29) pitches during the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park. Washington Nationals defeated Chicago Cubs 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

District Daily: Bryce Harper Sits, Rafael Soriano's Hyperbaric Chamber

The Nationals opened up their series against the Rockies strong, as Ian Desmond had a big game on Monday night in Colorado. But what else is going on in Natties Land? Keep reading to find out.

Harper heating up, but gets day off from Nats’ lineup

(Nick Kosmider, MLB.com)

DENVER — Just as he was beginning to heat up, Bryce Harper took a seat.

The Nationals outfielder was held out of manager Matt Williams‘ lineup for a day of rest on Monday, when first-place Washington began a three-game series with the Rockies.

Harper made a small adjustment to his stance coming out of the All-Star break, and the result was a 5-for-10 performance with a home run and a double in the first series against the Brewers. Harper saw his batting average jump 19 points — up to .263 — during that three-game stretch. Read full article here.

LaRoche picks up first multi-hit game of July

(Nick Kosmider, MLB.com)

DENVER — Jayson Werth delivered the game-winning hit in the Nationals’ 5-4 win over the Brewers on Sunday, but it might have been an inconspicuous second-inning single that brought the biggest sigh of relief.

That early hit by Adam LaRoche broke an 0-for-16 slump for the Nationals’ first baseman. He added another single in the fifth for his first multi-hit game since June 28.

It’s been a difficult July for LaRoche. Even after Sunday’s two-hit outing, he is batting .140 (7-for-50) in the month with no home runs and four RBIs. Read full article here.

Rafael Soriano, Washington Nationals closer, uses hyperbaric chamber to reach rarefied air

(James Wagner, the Washington Post)

After 13 seasons and more than 9,800 pitches in the major leagues, Washington Nationals closer Rafael Soriano has earned the right to be one of the last players to get to the stadium. But long before he reaches Nationals Park before a home game, Soriano has been preparing his body for another day of work.

In the basement of his rented house in Chevy Chase, Soriano begins a typical day of a night game with a workout, followed by a massage. He then zips himself into a cylinder called a hyperbaric chamber, pulls on a breathing mask and spends the next 90 minutes or so resting in an oxygen-rich environment.

At about 71 / 2 feet by 4 feet, the chamber is not for the claustrophobic. Once the air pumps are activated via a remote control, the urethane chamber inflates and stiffens like a rock. The Food and Drug Administration has approved hyperbaric chambers for certain medical uses, including treating decompression sickness among deep sea divers. While opinions differ on their efficacy for athletic recovery, Soriano is a believer. Read full article here.

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Tags: Adam LaRoche Bryce Harper Ian Desmond Matt Williams Rafael Soriano Washington Nationals

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