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Nats place Belisle on DL, call up lefty; Revere to start rehab games

Nats place Belisle on DL, call up lefty; Revere to start rehab games

With Matt Belisle landing on the 15-day disabled list with a right calf strain, the Nationals have called up lefty reliever Sammy Solis to take his place in the bullpen.

Belisle, 35, exited Tuesday night's game against the Phillies after throwing just three pitches in the eighth inning. He re-aggravated an injury from this offseason by stepping off the mound to move towards a groundball hit to first base. 

The Nats still don't know the full extent of his strain and how long he will be out.

"It was bad enough to put him on the DL because he couldn't cover first base," manager Dusty Baker said. " It's good that we didn't let him throw anymore and that we stopped it when we did."

Solis, 27, joins the Nats for the first time this season. The former second round pick debuted on April 30 of last year and held a 3.38 ERA in 18 total appearances.

Solis had allowed just one earned run in nine innings of work at Triple-A Syracuse this season.

"Fastball location was the biggest thing," Solis said. "That’s one thing I lost last year, a lot of up in the zone. This year I’ve really been focused on getting it down. That’s what (Mike Maddux) and [Baker] stressed when I got optioned in spring training: 'You’ve got the stuff, you’ve just got to fine-tune it a little bit.' So I’ve been working on that in Syracuse.”

A converted starter, Solis is ready to fill whatever bullpen role the Nats ask of him.

"I think the whole thing has come around now where I think I’m a reliever now. I kind of identify as one instead of a starter," he said.

That could mean multiple innings, especially in the short-term with Yusmeiro Petit having thrown 77 pitches in Sunday's win. Solis believes he is well-suited for long relief.

"We’ve been doing it in Syracuse. It’s so cold up there that the starters haven’t really made it past five, six at the most. So we’ve been covering a lot of innings. So every outing I’ve had, save one, has been two innings. So, two or three if you need it," he said.

Solis, naturally, is just happy to be back in the majors. And this time it feels a little different.

"I’m not shaking in my boots anymore. I’m a little more comfortable now, and hopefully ready to contribute,” he said.

Revere ready for a rehab assignment

Ben Revere is close to taking a major step in his road back from a right oblique strain, as the outfielder is prepared to begin a rehab assignment with the Syracuse Chiefs. Baker said he hopes to have him for their series at the Chicago Cubs, which takes place May 5-8 at Wrigley Field.

Revere is expected to play just five innings for at least two games before working his way up to seven and then nine. There may be some off-days spread out in between those games, as well.

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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.