Orioles

Astros sign RHP Jose Veras to 1-year deal

Astros sign RHP Jose Veras to 1-year deal

HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Astros signed veteran right-handed reliever Jose Veras to a one-year contract Friday.

The 32-year-old Veras was 5-4 in 72 relief appearances for Milwaukee in 2012 with a 3.63 ERA with 79 strikeouts and 61 hits in 67 innings.

Veras has 151 appearances over the last two seasons, tied for second overall. Over the last three seasons, Veras has posted a 3.73 ERA in 199 appearances with 212 strikeouts and 147 hits allowed in 186 innings pitched.

Veras has a 19-17 record in 327 career major league appearances over parts of seven seasons with the Yankees, Indians, Marlins, Pirates and Brewers.

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Mike Elias expects big things from Adley Rutschman in 2020 and beyond

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Mike Elias expects big things from Adley Rutschman in 2020 and beyond

As excited as Orioles fans are for the future of the franchise, and as desperate as they are for any glimpses of that future in the form of their top prospects, it doesn’t guarantee they’ll see Adley Rutschman in the big leagues any time soon.

The number one overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Rutschman is one of the most highly-touted prospects to enter the draft in years, and as an experienced college catcher, is the prototype of a fast-moving player through the farm system.

According to the man tasked with ultimately making those types of timeline-based decisions, Rutschman will play the biggest role in determining how quickly he advances.

“Well it’s his first full season in pro ball, so it’s hard to put too much expectation on that,” General Manager Mike Elias cautioned to NBC Sports Washington when asked about the hype surrounding his first-ever draft pick. “It’s about starting in A-ball, or High-A, or wherever we decide to start him, and having success. And once he has success, we’ll get him moving.”

Elias told reporters at the Winter Meetings that Rustchman would have a chance to play with the big league club at Spring Training next season, but that will be more about the learning experience and less about a true opportunity to break camp with the team.

It’s hard to imagine a player like Rutschman not having success. He showed flashes of his talent across three lower levels of the Orioles’ minor league system after signing last summer, ultimately landing with the Delmarva Shorebirds.

The skills necessary for success, both on and off the field, were readily apparent to Elias and the Orioles front office throughout the draft process.

They say timing is everything, and Elias considers the Orioles very lucky to have earned the top pick in a year with a player like Rutschman.

“I think we were very fortunate that we had the number one pick in a year when Adley Rutschman was in the draft,” he said while praising the future face of the franchise. “He fits the type of player that we’re looking for perfectly, being an impact hitter but also a really good defensive catcher and team leader type. So it’s a perfect guy to sort of kick off this whole era of our rebuild, and I think it’s going to be fun seeing what he does in our minor league affiliates this year.”

Of course, Rutschman isn’t the only young player fans will be keying in on this season. Austin Hays is one of the more exciting young players in the organization, and he will enter Spring Training as the favorite for the everyday job in centerfield. If the gifted outfielder can stay healthy, he will be given every opportunity to solidify himself as the centerfielder of the future.

“He’s what we call in the scouting parlance ‘tooled out’,” Elias described when asked about Hays’ highlight-reel plays late in the 2019 season. “I mean he can run, he can really throw, he’s got power, all the physical capabilities. And he’s shown that when he’s healthy he can hit at the Major League level too.”

Of course, injuries have been the one thing that can stop Hays early in his promising career. 

“Health has been the issue for him,” Elias continued. “He’s had two injury-plagued seasons in a row, but when he came up at the end of last season he was playing with energy, he was healthy. So that’s all we want to see for him, but I think he’s an impact centerfielder and a huge part of our next good team.”

The next good Orioles team is still a few years away, but the pieces are starting to come into place. Not every top prospect will pan out -- there’s no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to minor league players -- but the Orioles are stocking the organization with talented, hard-working players.

Looking ahead to another long season in 2020, Orioles fans will have to look beyond the win-loss column to find signs of hope. If things go according to Mike Elias’ plan, Rustchman and Hays should provide plenty of moments worth getting excited.

Rutschman’s time is coming. For Hays, the future is now. For both, the eyes of Baltimore are upon them as the franchise enters the next era of Orioles baseball.

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Oshie, Carlson lead 1st place Caps to victory over 2nd place Bruins

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Oshie, Carlson lead 1st place Caps to victory over 2nd place Bruins

 

WASHINGTON -- There was plenty of hype surrounding Wednesday's matchup between the Capitals and Boston Bruins and it delivered as Washington escaped with the narrow 3-2 win. The win is the Caps' 16th win in 17 games against Boston. Here is how Washington won.

An offside challenge

Patrice Bergeron thought he had put the Bruins up 2-0 in the first period with a power play goal. Todd Reirden challenged the goal as offside, just the second time he has done so all season. A review of the goal showed that Jake DeBrusk had his back skate off the ice as the puck as David Pasrtnark entered the zone, thus drawing the play offside. Reirden had not challenged for offside once until Dec. 6. He has now done it twice in less than a week and won both challenges.

T.J. Oshie

It's not hard to figure out who the player of the game was. Boston nearly scored twice in the first period but held a one-goal lead through the first 20 minutes. Then Oshie took over with two goals in the second period to give Washington back control of the game.

As the Caps entered into the offensive zone on the power play, right defenseman Brandon Carlo came over to the left to cover a pass to Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom retreated to the boards drawing Carlo completely over to the left side. As the puck tipped back to the blue line, it was kept in the zone by John Carlson who passed to a wide-open Oshie who was all alone in front of the net thanks to Carlo being drawn out of position. Oshie went backhand to forehand and chipped the puck over Jaroslav Halak. Just about everyone thought it was a goal, but the referee immediately waved it off. Oshie followed up his shot and hit in the rebound for the actual goal.
Oshie's second goal was more of the highlight real variety as Evgeny Kuznetsov fed him in the neutral zone. Oshie went outside-in on Connor Clifton, then split Clifton and Charlie McAvoy to go in on net. He drew the hook from McAvoy but was still able to backhand the shot bar down to give Washington its first lead of the game.

Carlson plays the hero

Who else?

Torey Krug tied the game at 2 less than three minutes into the third period. Then it was Carlson to the rescue.
When there is a defenseman whose numbers are rivaling those of Bobby Orr, opposing teams can't lose track of him in their own defensive zone. As Backstrom carried the puck into the offensive zone, all eyes were on him. He wheeled around the net and every head of the four Bruins players who were back were watching him. None were watching Carlson coming up to the faceoff circle to set up for the shot. Backstrom saw him though.

Backstrom teed up Carlson for the one-timer which of course he fired past Halak because that's just the kind of season Carlson is having this year. He would finish the game with a goal and an assist.

The penalty kill

The offside challenge erased Boston's lone power play goal of the night. The Bruins entered the game with the sixth-ranked power play in the NHL but finished the game 0-for-5 with the man advantage.

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