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Astros unveil new look for 1st season in AL

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Astros unveil new look for 1st season in AL

HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Astros are leaving their old look behind as they prepare for their move to the American League in 2013.

But the new uniform design, unveiled on Friday night, ties in some of the history of the franchise founded in 1962.

The new look coincides with Houston's move from the National League Central to the American League West for next season.

``I think it's clean and tight,'' team owner Jim Crane said. ``It's got a little history in it and it's got some of the flashback stuff. I think it really looks good. I like the colors and we're excited about it.''

Portions of the new design were leaked several different times in the past week, but Crane wasn't too upset about that on Friday.

``It was a little frustrating, but it might have helped, who knows,'' he said. ``It got a little data out there in front and got a little excitement going. All publicity is good publicity, I guess.''

The new duds were introduced at a fashion show at Minute Maid Park where several Astros players and prospects in Houston's minor league system modeled them.

``The colors are a lot of fun,'' Houston outfielder Justin Maxwell said. ``I think the fans will definitely like the new energy that the new uniforms and new league will bring this year.''

The color scheme is the same used from 1962-93. They're also using the logo from that era - an orange star with a white `H' in front of it. That logo in various color combinations will be on the hats.

All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve beamed as he showed off his new uniform.

``It's kind of old with kind of new,'' he said. ``It's a good combination and I really like it.''

There are four uniforms and three hats. Houston will wear white uniforms with orange piping at home, and gray ones with blue piping on the road. There's an orange alternate jersey with blue piping that can be worn at home or on the road.

They also incorporated popular rainbow print, which was worn in variations from 1975-1993 in the new design. The Astros have a blue batting practice jersey with rainbow print down the side that will also be worn for Sunday games.

``There's a good variety,'' general manager Jeff Luhnow said. ``The colors harken back to what we're all about, the star and the H. It's a great time to be unveiling a terrific concept.''

Players and fans seemed to like the rainbow design best.

``A lot of our fans appreciate that,'' Maxwell said. ``You always see a lot of fans breaking those old rainbow colors out.''

Carlos Correa, a shortstop who was taken with the first overall pick in this year's draft, was among the minor leaguers modeling the uniforms.

``I'm really excited about being in this new uniform, and I hope to be playing in the big leagues soon,'' he said.

Houston also shed its Junction Jack rabbit mascot and returned to a redesigned green space creature called Orbit. He was Houston's mascot from 1990-99.

About 5,000 fans attended the event, which ended with a funny skit of Orbit crash landing and NASA people bringing him into the ballpark in an SUV with dark tinted windows.

The loudest applause of the night came when he ran through the crowd high-fiving fans.

Luhnow enjoyed the event, but was already looking ahead at ways to improve this team, which is coming off its second straight 100-loss season.

``This is a great milestone for us, but we've got a lot of work to do,'' he said.

Starting pitcher Lucas Harrell thinks the uniforms could be a good way to help the team move forward and put the last two tough seasons behind it.

``It's a fresh start,'' he said. ``The slate's clean for everybody.''

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NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

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USA TODAY Sports

NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

The Hart Trophy is given to the player judged to be the most valuable to their team. With the Caps currently struggling in almost every aspect of the game, consider this: Just where would they be without Alex Ovechkin?

Washington ranks 10th in the NHL in goals per game with 3.05. Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 36. He has scored an incredible 19-percent of his team's goals. No one on the Caps is within 20 goals of the Caps' captain.

That's not a typo. Evgeny Kuznetsov ranks second on the team with 16 goals. No other team in the league has a larger separation between its top two scorers. In fact, only three teams have a difference that's in the double digits: Vancouver (11), San Jose (10) and New Jersey (10).

Ovechkin is almost singlehandedly propping up Washington as a top-ten offense. If you think about just where this offense would be without him, there's a pretty strong case to be made that Ovechkin is as valuable to his team this season as any other player in the league.

SEE THIS WEEK'S 2018 NHL AWARDS TRACKER HERE

Here are the Caps' hopefuls for awards this season:

John Carlson

In contention for: Norris

Carlson is fifth among all defensemen with 45 points, but his case goes beyond the numbers. With a blue line that has featured two rookies the majority of the season, an aging veteran in Brooks Orpik and that had to deal with an injury to Matt Niskanen, the Caps have asked a lot of Carlson this season and he has always been up to the task.

Alex Ovechkin

In contention for: Hart

Few players, if any, are as important to their team's offensive production and therefore its success than Ovechkin has been this season.

Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!

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Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.

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