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“I’ve actually had him go back and look at at-bats a lot,” LaRoche said. “Even when I’m on a different team because he can pick apart an at-bat like no other… and he’s seen me enough where I may not even ask him, he’ll just shoot me a text that says ‘Hey, you’re pulling off,’ or ‘Get back to seeing the ball, hit it the way it’s pitched, be more aggressive.’

“It’s a pretty cool relationship. I can’t say enough about everything he taught me.”

The Nationals are seven games up on the Braves, perhaps forcing Jones‘ final playoff drive to be one for a wild card spot. Even with all this series represented, none of the Nationals‘ players took issue with honoring one of their divisional rivals in the heat of a pennant race.

“He deserves that,” said rookie Bryce Harper who got to know Jones at this year’s All-Star Game. “I think everybody thinks he deserves that.”

Said Jones to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “I’ve got a lot of friends over in that clubhouse. We have a lot of respect for each other on both sides. When we’re out there between the lines, it’s a war every time. I think that’s why both teams respect each other so much.”