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Nats' blowout loss doesn't spoil Turner's debut


Nats' blowout loss doesn't spoil Turner's debut

The major league debut of top prospect Trea Turner happened to come in a blowout defeat for the Nationals, but the 22-year-old shortstop didn't let that spoil what was a day he will always remember.

Turner received a nice ovation from the welcoming Nats crowd as he trotted out on defense to replace Ian Desmond in the top of the seventh on Friday night. Matt Williams summoned Turner once he sensed the game was getting away from the Nats, as the Brewers had just pulled away to a 6-2 lead with the bases loaded.

"Every debut is good, I would like to say," Turner said. "You can't necessarily have a bad debut, no matter how you play or what the results. It was just fun to be out there and I'm excited to go back out there tomorrow and hopefully get a chance to play and keep doing that."

The fans cheering him on as he ran from the dugout made for a special moment for Turner.

"It's hard for me not to pay attention to a lot of that. I can hear it and I see stuff out of the corners of my eyes all the time. It was awesome. That was very cool for me to experience that from the fans. The fans are awesome. They've been really, really good to me so far. It's been fun," he said.

Turner ended up with two at-bats, both that ended in groundouts. The first was to shortstop Jean Segura in the bottom of the seventh. Segura made the throw to first in a play so close the umpires took a second look on replay. The call was confirmed, as the cameras showed he was just a split-second late to the bag.

The whole replay process itself was new for Turner.

"I've never had replay in any game I've ever played. So, at first when he called me out I was like 'alright, I'm out.' And then everyone was yelling at me to stay on the base. It was a little bit different. Obviously, you wish you could have it because you'll take any hit you can get. It went the other way. We'll get after it tomorrow."

Turner also grounded out to second base in the ninth inning. He finished 0-for-2, but flashed a smooth swing and some quickness on the basepaths.

"He’s got some speed, I can see that," Bryce Harper said. "I just want to win ballgames. If he can help us then he should be up here."

Turner played in front of 29,916 on Friday night, a much bigger crowd than he was used to in the minor leagues. But despite the different atmosphere, Turner was surprised how calm he was when he first took the field.

"It was weird. I wasn't that nervous. I thought I was going to be a little bit more nervous. But at the same time I felt like I was doing some uncharacteristic things. I felt like I couldn't control my body sometimes. I guess that's the nerves. Just try to slow it down and be more comfortable tomorrow," he said.

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May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season

May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season

The start of spring training is a glimmer of hope during the cold of winter. It means warm weather, cold beers and hot dogs at the ballpark are coming your way.

It's our first chance to get a taste of how our favorite team is shaping up for the 2018 season, and for those who are not quite into just the game itself, betting odds.

CG Technology, a Las Vegas sportsbook operator, has set the 2018 odds for each MLB team.

Specifically, how are things looking for the local teams?


Washington Nationals: 91 1/2 wins

The 2018 season is looked at by many as the last World Series run for some time for the Nationals and their core group of players. Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Gio Gonzalez will become free agents after the 2018 season in addition to general manager and President of Baseball Operations, Mike Rizzo.

In 2017, the team won 97 games and went on to win the NL East, but couldn't make it past the first-round of the National League Division Series. In 2018, Vegas is giving the Nats 7/2 odds of taking the National League title. They are just behind the Chicago Cubs, who knocked them out of contention last season, at 4/1 odds.

As far as winning the World Series, Vegas is giving the guys an 8/1 chance of their first title, tied with the Cubs.

Baltimore Orioles: 77 1/2 wins

The O's finished the 2017 season with 75 wins, which could be considered somewhat of an accomplishment considering their pitching resources.

The same problem will occur in 2018 as the organization hasn't signed any new starting pitchers. Vegas is giving them 50/1 odds of taking the American League title and 100/1 odds of winning the World Series.

The lack of depth in their rotation will come back to bite them as division rival New York Yankees have 5/1 odds of winning the World Series and the Red Sox have 10/1 odds.

A below average season should be expected.

A few other standouts, good and bad, include the Miami Marlins at 500/1 odds of winning the World Series, the Kansas City Royals at 200/1 and current champions, the Houston Astros, at 6/1 odds.


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Former Nationals pitcher Esteban Loaiza arrested with more than 40 pounds of suspected cocaine


Former Nationals pitcher Esteban Loaiza arrested with more than 40 pounds of suspected cocaine

SAN DIEGO — Former All-Star pitcher Esteban Loaiza has been arrested on suspicion of trafficking drugs after packages containing a white powder believed to be cocaine were found at a home he rented in Southern California, officials said Monday.

The 46-year-old former Major League Baseball player was booked Friday on charges involving the possession, transport and sale of 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of suspected cocaine worth an estimated $500,000, according to the San Diego Sheriff's Department.

Loaiza played for numerous teams between 1995 and 2008, starting with the Pittsburgh Pirates and concluding with his second stint with the Chicago White Sox. He had a 21-9 record with the Chicago White Sox in 2003 and started in the All-Star Game that year.


He also played one season for the Washington Nationals in 2005 — the team's inaugural season in D.C. after the franchise changed from the Montreal Expos. During his one season in Washington, Loaiza finished with a 12-10 record adn a 3.77 ERA over 34 games played that year.

It was not immediately known if Loaiza had hired a lawyer and the former player could not be reached to comment. He was being held Monday for lack of $200,000 bail pending a court appearance on Wednesday.

Loaiza's agent, John Boggs, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he had no information about the arrest and that he has not spoken to Loaiza recently. He said that Loaiza had called his office early last week but Boggs was unavailable at the time.

"I am shocked and saddened by the news and had no indication he would ever be in this type of situation," Boggs said in a text to the newspaper. "I don't know how he would get himself involved in this, so it's difficult to even comment on it."

Officers stopped Loaiza for a minor traffic infraction Friday after he left the home he started renting recently in the Pacific coast community of Imperial Beach, along the U.S.-Mexico border. Authorities had the vehicle under surveillance on suspicion it was used for smuggling drugs.

When they searched the vehicle, they found a sophisticated compartment used to conceal contraband, authorities said. That led them to obtain a search warrant for Loaiza's rental home, where they found the packages of drugs, according to investigators.

The packages containing a white powder are still being tested but are believed to be cocaine, said San Diego Sheriff's Lt. Jason Vickery.

Loaiza was born in Tijuana, Mexico and was married for two years to the late Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera. She filed for divorce shortly before she died in a plane crash in 2012.

The 43-year-old Rivera was known as the "Diva de la Banda" and died as her career was peaking. She was perhaps the most successful female singer in grupero, a male-dominated Mexico regional style, sold more than 15 million records, and moved into acting and reality television.

Loaiza sued the aircraft's owners in 2014 for wrongful death but her relatives accused him of trying to profit from her death. He denied the accusations and later retracted his lawsuit.

NBC Sports Washington contributed to this report.