Baker leaves Nationals after family death; Speier to manage

WASHINGTON (AP) Manager Dusty Baker won't be with the Washington Nationals when they close their three-game series against the New York Mets on Wednesday because of a death in the family.

Bench coach Chris Speier will manage the team in Baker's absence.

The Nationals say Baker is expected to rejoin the team on Friday night for its series opener with the Atlanta Braves.

On Tuesday, the Mets pulled within nine games of Washington in the NL East and remained a half-game ahead of St. Louis in the NL wild-card race.