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Phillies confirm trade for INF Michael Young

Phillies confirm trade for INF Michael Young

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Michael Young's leadership skills were as attractive to the Philadelphia Phillies as his hitting ability.

The Phillies acquired the seven-time All-Star infielder from the Texas Rangers for two relief pitchers, filling a void at third base. The deal was announced Sunday, a day after Young agreed to waive his no-trade clause.

``Michael brings a lot to our team, not just on the field, but off it as well,'' Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. ``He has been one of the premiere hitters in the American League for a decade and is someone who has a tremendous presence in the clubhouse. We couldn't be happier that he has accepted the assignment to come to the Phillies.''

Young is known for being an unselfish player and a true professional - two qualities Philadelphia's front office values in a player.

``He has all the elements we're looking for,'' Amaro said. ``First of all, the makeup is extraordinary. He's the ultimate team player. He knows how to play baseball. He's a winning baseball player. He's had the opportunity to be in big games in the playoffs and he just fits real well.''

The Rangers get right-hander Josh Lindblom and minor league righty Lisalverto Bonilla. The Rangers also will pay a significant portion of Young's salary for 2013. Young is due to earn $16 million. Reports said the Phillies will pay him about $6 million.

``If there was crying in baseball, I guess I would cry,'' Rangers manager Ron Washington said of losing Young. ``This is a very, very tough situation. He's always been my go-to guy in the six years I've been here, and he's not only done a lot in that respect for me, but leadership that he brought to the clubhouse and the leadership that he brought on the field, and the leadership that he had in the community is something that we sorely will miss.''

Young batted .277 with eight homers and 67 RBIs in 2012, a down year for him. He hit .288 with runners in scoring position and .333 against left-handed pitchers. He made 40 starts at first base, 25 at third base, 14 at second base and four at shortstop.

``I think that's just part of the process of being a Major League player,'' Amaro said. ``You don't have a great year every year. He's had some years where he hit .280 and others where he hit .330. But at the same time, even when his numbers aren't extraordinary, and they were still pretty darn good last year, maybe better than anybody we had on our club, but the fact of the matter is he's a professional hitter. He's a guy who we know will strive to be the best player he can be. And even when he's not having productive hits, I know he's the kind of guy who makes productive outs. So there's a lot of pluses to this guy.''

From 2003-11, Young hit at least .300 seven times and averaged 17 homers and 90 RBIs. A former AL Gold Glove winner at shortstop, Young hasn't played third base regularly since 2010. Seven Phillies started at third base last year, including often-injured former All-Star Placido Polanco.

Young was originally selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the fifth round of the 1997 amateur draft. He was traded to the Rangers on July 19, 2000 for pitcher Esteban Loaiza. Young has a .301 average with 177 home runs and 984 RBIs in 1,823 major league games - all with Texas. He is the club leader in games, at-bats (7,399), runs (1,085), hits (2,230), doubles (415), triples (55) and total bases (3,286). Young has a .248 average with 3, homers, 10 doubles and 19 RBIs in 34 postseason games.

Young began his career at second base with the Rangers. He moved to shortstop to accommodate Alfonso Soriano, who was acquired in the trade that sent Alex Rodriguez to the New York Yankees. Young won his only Gold Glove at shortstop in 2008 and then moved to third base to make room for Elvis Andrus in 2009. He played two seasons at third before moving to designated hitter and a utility role after Adrian Beltre arrived in Texas.

The emergence of rookie infielder Jurickson Profar meant even less opportunity for Young to play to in the field this season. Profar, who turns 20 in February, is the Rangers' top prospect played second base and shortstop in nine games down the stretch last season and had a hit in his only at-bat in an AL wild-card loss to Baltimore.

``Both on and off the field, this guy is one of the most accomplished players in the history of the franchise and been part of the last few years where they were basically the best teams in the history of the franchise,'' Rangers GM Jon Daniels said. ``As we looked at it, given the makeup of our roster, some of our internal options, we felt this was the right way to go.''

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AP Sports Writers Stephen Hawkins in Arlington, Texas, contributed to this report.

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Second-half eruption leads Wizards to pivotal Game 4 win over Raptors

Second-half eruption leads Wizards to pivotal Game 4 win over Raptors

The Washington Wizards beat the Toronto Raptors 106-98 in Game 4 of their first round playoff series on Sunday night.

Here's analysis of what went down...

Brand New Series: After going down 0-2, most may have written the Wizards off knowing the near-insurmountable odds of coming back not only from that deficit but as an eight-seed going up against the best team in the Eastern Conference. It would have been understandable to doubt these Wizards who have for so much of this season allowed teams to bully them to an uncharacteristic degree.

With another win in Game 4, however, the Wizards have recalibrated this series.. Not only did the Wizards even things up, they ensured at least one more home game where they have now won eight straight in the postseason.

Controversial Foul Out: The Wizards were dealt a tough blow with 4:58 left as Bradley Beal picked up his sixth foul and was bounced from the game. 

Not only was Beal dominating with a team-high 31 points, but the sixth foul was very questionable. He made contact with DeMar DeRozan inadvertently and it is tough to see how he could have avoided it.

Here is the play:

That should simply not be called in that moment. It was a crucial development and both Beal and head coach Scott Brooks were understandably furious. If the Wizards had lost, that would have been a major reason why. There is no excuse for referees to impact a game like that.

Sluggish Start: Outside of John Wall (27 points, 14 assists, six rebounds) and Beal, who had 12 points and 11 points in the first half, the rest of the Wizards' team was slow-moving early on. The team shot just 34 percent in the first half, 16-for-47, and 1-for-7 from three. They even missed their free throws, going 7-for-13 in the first two quarters.

The Raptors did a good job putting pressure on the, but only Wall and Beal were able to break through. Otto Porter, who finished with 12 points and six rebounds, had one point in the first half. Markieff Morris (six points, five rebounds) had four points at the break.

Even Mike Scott, who has had a huge series, went scoreless in the first half. That was partly due to him getting in early foul trouble.

The Raptors were particularly good at stopping the Wizards in transition. Despite committing 11 turnovers in the first half, they won the fastbreak point advantage 17-4. That was a big point of emphasis coming out of Game 3 according to head coach Dwane Casey and his players followed the lead.

Big Third Quarter: The Wizards' offense was not held down for long as they came out of the gate on fire in the second half. Beal and Porter led the charge.

Porter erupted for 10 points in the frame. Beal got hot from three and scored 12. The only thing that stopped Beal was foul trouble, as he picked up his fourth personal with just under five minutes left in the quarter and later left with six.

The third quarter shooting numbers overall were impressive. The Wizards shot 15-for-23 (65.2%) from the field and 5-for-6 (83.3%) from three. That'll do.

The Wizards outscored the Raptors 40-29 in the third. It was their biggest postseason quarter since last year's Game 4 against the Celtics. That was when they went on an absured 26-0 run.

Hella Free Throws: Many people blamed the refs for the Wizards' loss in Game 1, though the numbers didn't back up that claim. If Wizards fans wanted to gripe about Game 4, they had a better case for a while in this one.

It was kind of ridiculous, especially early on. The Raptors shot 30 free throws in the game compared to 31 for the Wizards, so it evened out.  But Toronto shot 16 free throws in the first quarter alone and 12 of them were attempted by DeRozan. He is one of the best in the business at drawing fouls, but that a bit extreme.

DeRozan, in fact, finished the first quarter with nine points and all of them were at the free throw line. He was 0-for-5 from field goal range. 

When DeRozan is getting to the line, he can control games and early on that was the case in this one. He set a new playoff career high with 18 attempts and made 14 of them.

The refs called the game much tighter than they did previously in this series. Perhaps that was a response to the chippiness in Game 3.

Up Next: The series moves on to Toronto for Game 5 on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington with pregame coverage beginning with Wizards HangTime at 6 p.m.

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John Wall puts 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas on a poster

John Wall puts 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas on a poster

WASHINGTON -- Things were not looking good for the Washington Wizards to start Game 4. Honestly, there were some flashes back to the team’s performance in the first two games of the series against the Toronto Raptors.

That all quickly changed when John Wall did what he does best: drive to the basket.

Not only did Wall drive to the basket, he went and put Raptors' center Jonas Valanciunas on a poster.

Valanciunas is a 7-foot Lithuanian.

We get it John, it’s your city and we’re all your residents.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

GORTAT DITCHES MOHAWK, TEAMMATES APPROVE

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WILD GAME 3

WIZARDS DOMINATED GAME 3 BECAUSE EVERYONE ATE... LITERALLY