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Nationals, Suns renew agreement

September 18, 2008

The Washington Nationals and the Hagerstown Suns have agreed to a player development contract that will keep the Suns as the Class-A affiliate of the Nationals through 2010, according to a press release on the Suns' Web site.

The previous contract came into effect prior to the 2007 season, and both sides were pleased to extend the relationship for another two seasons.

"We have enjoyed our relationship with Hagerstown over the past two seasons," said Bobby Williams, the Washington Nationals' Director of Player Development. "Geograph-ically, it is a natural fit for both of us."

Prior to 2007, the Suns were an affiliate of the New York Mets for two seasons. Before that, the Suns were affiliated with the San Francisco Giants.

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"With the Mets, and the Giants before them, there wasn't the same feeling around the team," said Ryan Mock, the Suns' Director of Media Relations. "Now with a local affiliate like the Nationals, there is greater interest in the team's performance and it seems to create a more tangible sense of pride within the Suns' fan base."

While the Suns' record on the field the last two seasons has been below .500, the Nationals have sent an impressive collection of talent to Hagerstown. The Suns have had four first-round picks play at Municipal Stadium, and earlier this year two Major Leaguers - Austin Kearns and Pokey Reese - spent time on rehab stints in Hagerstown.

"We have some interesting and talented young players coming up from our short-season teams and we are confident that we can give Hagerstown a competitive ballclub next year," said Williams.

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