Nationals

Auburn guard chasing NCAA mark for consecutive 3s

Auburn guard chasing NCAA mark for consecutive 3s

Jordan Price isn't worried about jinxing himself during his can't-miss stretch of 3-pointers.

The Auburn freshman will happily talk about those 11 straight makes over the past three games that are approaching an NCAA record. He didn't let superstition deter him from a mid-streak wardrobe change before Tuesday night's Tennessee Tech game.

``A couple of teammates, they're just playing around with me before the game asking me why would I wear a different pair of shoes from the first two games,'' Price said. ``I'm not really superstitious like that. I just try to get out there and ball.

``A couple of them have been messing with me about it, but nothing big. They just want me to just be the best I can be and keep shooting.''

If he keeps making them Saturday night when Winthrop visits, Price has a chance at the NCAA record of 15 consecutive made 3-pointers set by Northwestern's Todd Leslie in 1990.

The 6-foot-5 guard has already matched the Southeastern Conference mark held by Vanderbilt's Kevin Anglin for 20 years. The Tigers (5-5) are 3-0 during his streak.

Price, who mostly comes off the bench, hit all four 3-point attempts against both Furman and Grambling State and made three in a 61-second span during the first half of the Tennessee Tech game.

Auburn coach Tony Barbee said Price's success at perimeter shooting isn't a surprise to him.

``He has been shooting the ball unbelievable,'' Barbee said. ``As a scorer whenever you get on a roll like that, you get in that zone, and he is in one of those zones right now. He has been working hard in practice, and it has been paying off in the games.''

Price did make one big mistake in the last game. He followed his final 3 by drawing a technical foul for taunting, and Barbee promptly benched him.

``That was just a freshman mistake,'' Price said. ``I kind of got a little too excited and I started talking a little bit. I know not to do that. That's not me.''

He has made 19 of 34 3-pointers this season, a 56 percent clip that would lead the SEC if he had made enough to be eligible. Price came into this streak averaging just 5.3 points a game but has scored 40 points combined in the past three while averaging about 17 minutes.

He has done almost all his work behind the 3-point line, attempting only four shots from closer to the basket during the current streak.

Price said his previous longest stretch of made 3s during games was five or six, and he has hit about a dozen in a row during practice.

``I really don't believe that I am a 3-point shooter,'' said Price, who hit 45 percent of his 3-point attempts as a senior at Southwest DeKalb High School in Georgia. ``I can shoot. It's just a blessing that I haven't missed. I've been settling for the 3 because I'm open. I can hit the mid-range shot and get to the basket. If they just tell me to keep shooting, that's what I'm going to do.''

Price's 11-for-11 stretch began after one of his worst games. He missed all three 3-point attempts and scored two points in a loss to DePaul. Price said he started meeting with the coaches before and after each practice. The extra work is paying off so far.

He insists he won't let it affect him on the court when the streak ends.

``I'm not worried about that,'' Price said. ``I'm just going to keep shooting and try to find my teammates.''

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42-year-old reliever Fernando Rodney will get a chance to prove he still has it for the Nationals

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42-year-old reliever Fernando Rodney will get a chance to prove he still has it for the Nationals

The Nationals are filling their open 40- and 25-man roster spot with veteran reliever Fernando Rodney on Tuesday, a source confirmed. 

Rodney, 42, is joining the Nationals bullpen after nine appearances for Triple-A Fresno which produced a 4.50 ERA and 2.125 WHIP. He was released earlier this season by Oakland after a rough start led to a 9.42 ERA. He will become the oldest active pitcher in baseball once added to the roster Tuesday.

This is a desperate swing by Washington to find help for a bullpen which entered Monday 29th in bullpen ERA. When Rodney was at this best -- something Nationals manager Dave Martinez saw in Tampa Bay -- he threw an almost unhittable changeup. It remains an effective pitch, if he can control it or his fastball. Command of both often give him trouble. However, the unpredictable nature of his pitching -- for better or worse -- is something that provides an odd duality. It can make him both ultra-effective or a ticking bomb. It almost always assures laborious outings.

Washington will be the 11th major-league team to employ Rodney in his 17 years of professional baseball. Being a three-time All-Star and former closer defines his on-field reputation. Randomly barking in the bullpen, shooting an imaginary arrow following a save or operating with a tilted cap exemplify the rest of Rodney's makeup. He once carried a "lucky plantain" at the World Baseball Classic. When pitching for Seattle in 2014, Rodney explained his bow-and-arrow gimmick like this: 

“The arrow? I don’t know,” Rodney said. “Just do something after the last out. Out 27. You know the game is over. I shoot the moon. I shoot the arrow, just let them know game over.

“That’s my game. Every time I go pitch, I do my arrow. That’s what the fans are waiting for. Rodney shoot the moon.”

He won't be on the mound to end a game in 2019 unless it is in mop-up duty. 

Multiple relief choices existed in Fresno for the Nationals. Few were good. Dakota Bacus has been the most effective Grizzlies pitcher this season. Yet, he remains in the minors. Veteran relievers George Kontos and Michael Blazek are also on the Grizzlies' roster.

Washington releasing Trevor Rosenthal on Sunday morning opened a 40-man roster spot. The Nationals sent Erick Fedde to Triple-A Fresno after the game Sunday to open a 25-man roster spot. Rodney fills those slots. Austin Voth remains in the rotation.

The Washington Post first reported Rodney's movement.

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Adley Rutschman finally signed his contract with the Orioles and it could be a record-setter

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Adley Rutschman finally signed his contract with the Orioles and it could be a record-setter

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Baltimore Orioles have signed the top overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft, catcher Adley Rutschman of Oregon State.

The 21-year-old Rutschman, a switch-hitter, batted .411 with 17 home runs as a junior for the Beavers this year. He won the Golden Spikes Award, which recognizes the top amateur baseball player in the United States.

His reported record-breaking $8.1 million signing bonus would top a previous high set by Gerrit Cole ($8 million) when the Pittsburgh Pirates selected him No. 1 in 2011. 

Baltimore had not had the first draft pick since 1989, when it selected pitcher Ben McDonald out of LSU.

The Orioles announced the signing on Monday. The deadline to sign draft picks is July 12.

The team plans to introduce him to the crowd at Camden Yards on Tuesday during a game against the San Diego Padres.

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