Wizards

Jason Bay hoping for a fresh start in Seattle

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Jason Bay hoping for a fresh start in Seattle

SEATTLE (AP) Jason Bay took a glance at the Seattle Mariners' 40-man roster and suddenly realized how unique he will be.

He's one of only two players on that current roster who was born in the 1970s.

``I don't feel like I'm that old, but I guess I am around here,'' the 34-year-old Bay said Monday.

While he may not exactly fit the Mariners' model of relying on young prospects to rebuild the franchise, Bay could fill a significant need for Seattle in the 2013 season. He was introduced on Monday after his one-year contract with the Mariners was finalized over the weekend.

Bay said he hopes a fresh start with the Mariners can put three seasons of struggles - mostly due to injuries - with the New York Mets in the past.

``Where ever I ended up was going to be a fresh start and the chance to do it here in my backyard, so to speak, will be nice,'' said Bay, who grew up in British Columbia and played college ball at Gonzaga. ``That's all I was looking for. It didn't work out for whatever reason and it was kind of a mutual split. I want to start fresh and wipe the slate clean and that's what I get to do here.''

After signing a $66 million, four-year deal before the 2010 season, the three-time All-Star hit .234 in three injury-plagued seasons with 26 homers and 124 RBIs, including a .165 average with eight homers and 20 RBIs this year. Sidelined by concussions and rib injuries, he played just 288 games for the Mets.

Bay's contract with the Mets was terminated last month. Bay was owed $16 million for next season and a $3 million buyout of a 2014 option, plus the final $2 million installment of his $8.5 million signing bonus was payable by next June. The agreement to terminate his deal allowed the Mets to spread out the payments.

It also made Bay a low-risk, potential high-reward deal for whoever he signed with. An All-Star in 2005, 2006 and 2009, Bay signed with the Mets after hitting .267 in his final season for Boston with career bests of 36 homers and 119 RBIs.

``I got banged up a little bit. Not an excuse, just the reality and that didn't help. I don't think that was the No. 1 reason,'' Bay said. ``I just think I couldn't really get on track. I couldn't just move forward. I was always stuck in one gear and I couldn't get going.''

Because of his injury history, the Mariners went to great lengths once an agreement was reached. Bay was examined by two team doctors and a neurosurgeon to make sure he was fully recovered from the concussion problems that lingered during his time with the Mets.

Bay said he's been fully engaged in his offseason workout program for the last six weeks.

``I've gotten great reports on his winter program, what he's doing right now being very prepared for the season,'' Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said. ``It just feels like the right thing to do.''

Bay said he'll take whatever role he can earn with Seattle, even if that means being in a platoon in the outfield. Manager Eric Wedge said if Bay can revert to the form he had in Boston and Pittsburgh, he could be exactly the right-handed bat the Mariners lineup needs.

While Seattle's lineup is heavy on youth and left-handed hitters, Jesus Montero and his .260 average was the only Seattle right-handed hitter who played more than half the season to hit above .230.

``He brings a lot that we just don't have here,'' Wedge said.

Seattle doesn't expect this to be the end of its search for offense. The Mariners have been linked to discussions with Josh Hamilton and Nick Swisher, among other free agent options. As usual, Zduriencik remained tight-lipped about where things stand.

``We're going through a lot of dialogue,'' he said. ``We have a lot of discussions going with different angles and we'll see where it all ends up at. Right now people are weighing their options and trying to figure out what's best for the client and player, and we're trying to be fairly aggressive.''

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Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

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Associated Press

Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

Bradley Beal may have had a slow start in the three-point contest on Saturday night, but in Sunday's All-Star Game he worked quickly to make the most of his relatively small window of playing time.

Beal checked in for the first time with 5:45 left in the first quarter and less than 25 seconds later had his first points on a two-handed dunk assisted by LeBron James.

In his All-Star debut, Beal helped lead Team LeBron to a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen as the league utilizied a new format for the annual showcase.

RELATED: BEAL BOUNCED EARLY IN THREE-POINT CONTEST

Beal finished with 14 points and a steal in a productive night. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and an impressive 4-for-8 from long range. 

Beal also tried to get a travelling call from the refs on Karl-Anthony Towns. Yeah, that's not likely to happen in an All-Star Game:

Beal more than held his own and only played 16 minutes, which was good considering he has logged the fifth-most minutes of any player so far this season. A realistic best-case scenario was a strong showing and a short night and that's exactly what he got.

Not only does Beal play a lot of minutes, the Wizards need him now more than ever with John Wall's injury. He needs whatever rest he can get during this All-Star break.

Speaking of Wall, he was in the house despite being in the middle of his rehab from left knee surgery. Per usual, Wall was shining bright:

RELATED: BEST WIZARDS/BULLETS MOMENTS ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

The All-Star Game wasn't all about Beal, of course. Here are some other things that stood out...

*The new format and increased financial incentive were intended to make the game more competitive and that's what happened late in the fourth quarter. Usually, that's how these things go where the players will start trying at the end. But this time it seemed to be up a few levels and it was fun to watch. 

Both teams scored in the 140s, so it wasn't exactly a defensive battle. No matter what the league does, the players will only try so hard for so long. The main goal of everyone's is to not get injured in a game that ultimately doesn't count for anything. Still, this was different and appears to have been a success.

*While everyone was focusing on the reunion of LeBron and Kyrie Irving the best beef was Joel Embiid vs. Russell Westbrook. Those two have traded waves to taunt each other at the end of wins in head-to-head matchups and it was clear on Sunday they still don't like each other. Westbrook tried to dunk all over Embiid in the first half, only to get blocked at the rim.

Westbrook's determination to dunk on Embiid was out of the ordinary for an All-Star Game. It was obvious what was on his mind:

*Irving's handles are simply ridiculous. Check out this fake behind-the-back move he pulled with Giannis Antetkounmpo guarding him. Yes, it didn't fool the defender but it was impressive nonetheless:

*LeBron is 33 years old, yet he was still running up and down the court faster than anyone and leaping above the rim to thrown down alley-oop after alley-oop. It is truly amazing and everyone should enjoy watching him while they can, regardless of whether they like the guy or not.

This was one of his dunks:

LeBron took home MVP with a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal.

*The pregame show was quite bad. It was anchored by comedians Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle and, though they had some funny jokes, it lasted nearly 30 minutes. The whole thing was pretty much universally panned on social media. Fergie's national anthem was also roasted by the masses.

*The halftime show was much better. It began with N.E.R.D taking it back to their older days with 'Lapdance,' went to Migos performing 'Stir Fry' and swung back to N.E.R.D. who did their latest hit 'Lemon.' 

RELATED: LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

Whoever put together the NBA All-Star Game player introductions has some 'splainin to do. 

The NBA introduced a kinda-full Staples Center to their 2018 All-Stars about an hour ago, and boy was it weird. There were a lot of dancers in different themed costumes. Kevin Hart was screaming. Rob Riggle was screaming. Ludacris showed up? Hey! Did you know that the Barenaked Ladies are still a band? The NBA would like you to know they're still around.  The whole thing was like when you're at an art museum and you're told that abstract piece in the corner is actually really meaningful but you gotta be honest, you don't get it. 

Anyways, the internet hated it. Here are some highlights from the internet hating it:

The lesson here is that you never need Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle. One will do.