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Braves trade Hanson to Angels for Walden

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Braves trade Hanson to Angels for Walden

ATLANTA (AP) The Braves traded Tommy Hanson to the Los Angeles Angels for former closer Jordan Walden on Friday, clearing a spot in the Atlanta rotation for Julio Teheran, Randal Delgado or another young starter.

Hanson has seen a decrease in his velocity as he battled rotator cuff tendinitis in 2011 and a lower back strain in 2012. Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said the 26-year-old was a consistent winner in four seasons with the Braves and had no arm troubles this year.

``It's a good risk on a pitcher we really believe in,'' Dipoto said.

Hanson was 13-10 this year, setting a career high in wins, but his ERA climbed for the third straight season to a career-worst 4.48. The right-hander was 45-32 with the Braves.

Asked whether he was hoping for a bounce-back season from Hanson, Dipoto said his scouts saw Hanson performing on a level consistent with his career.

``I don't know that we're necessarily looking for a bounce back,'' Dipoto said. ``He won 13 games. I don't think it would be fair to qualify it as a disappointing season. ... His velocity remained consistent from month to month. Our scouting reports remained consistent with what we've always thought of Tommy. He's done it for four years at the big league level, and we think he'll continue to do it.''

Hanson missed the last two months of the 2011 season with the right shoulder injury. Dr. James Andrews found a small tear in Hanson's rotator cuff. Hanson said Andrews offered reassurance by saying ``three of four pitchers had what I had.''

Hanson said Friday the injury affected his offseason work before the 2012 season but said he has changed his workout plan this fall.

``I think toward the end, I didn't feel I was as strong as I need to be,'' Hanson said of this season. ``I think as the years have gone along I've learned how to have a better understanding of how to stay healthy and be strong. I think it was a little bit of a learning experience last year and I'm looking to improve.''

Hanson was 10-5 with a 3.71 ERA before the All-Star break and 3-5 with a 5.69 ERA in the second half. He was on the disabled list from July 31 to Aug. 17 with a lower back strain.

Hanson, who was born in Tulsa, Okla., said his family moved to Southern California when he was 2 and he was a longtime Angels fan.

Hanson said he was going to get a haircut as he prepared to attend Braves closer Craig Kimbrel's wedding on Saturday when he was informed of the trade. He said he quickly moved past his immediate shock and is ``extremely excited'' to be joining the team he cheered for growing up.

``Where I grew up there's a ton of Angels fans,'' Hanson said. ``I grew up going to Angels games. ... Immediately I was shocked and now I'm just excited. I wish spring training was tomorrow.''

Walden had 32 saves in 2011, then lost his closer's role to Ernesto Frieri and was 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA and one save this year. He became superfluous when the Angels agreed this week to a $3.5 million, one-year contract with Ryan Madson.

Walden gives Atlanta another power arm for its bullpen. His fastball has been closed at close to 100 mph, and he had 48 strikeouts in 39 innings this year.

``We've been focused on adding a power arm to our bullpen all offseason,'' Braves general manager Frank Wren said. ``We felt if we added one power arm we would have a bullpen that would stack up with the best bullpens in our league. Jordan Walden has closing experience and the kind of arm that will stack up well in a seventh- and eighth-inning role for us.''

Atlanta's rotation returns Tim Hudson, Kris Medlen, Paul Maholm and Mike Minor. Brandon Beachy, who had right elbow ligament-replacement surgery in June, could be back during the second half of the season.

Wren said there will be room for a young starter to emerge for the start of the season.

``We feel like we have a lot of guys that are lining up close to helping us,'' Wren said.

Hanson was expected to earn about $4 million, possibly clearing more payroll room for another offseason move. The Braves are expected to move Martin Prado from left field to third base as a replacement for Chipper Jones, who has retired.

``We're still looking for left fielder-leadoff guy, but I don't know if that is connected with this deal,'' Wren said. ``We just felt with the way our rotation lined up next year, it would be a good fit to add a guy like Jordan Walden.''

The Braves on Friday declined to tender 2013 contract offer to two former prominent members of their staff, right-handed pitchers Jair Jurrjens and Peter Moylan.

Jurrjens was 3-4 with a 6.89 ERA in only 11 games this season. He made his last appearance with Atlanta on July 31. Moylan, a former top setup man, appeared in only eight games.

Atlanta also claimed right-hander David Carpenter off waivers from Boston. The Angels claimed outfielder Scott Cousins off waivers from Seattle.

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Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Following the Redskins' Week 2 preseason win over the Jets on Thursday, Jay Gruden said both Byron Marshall and Samaje Perine were "OK" after the two running backs each left the game with injuries. Marshall's was labeled a lower-leg issue, while Perine's injury was called a twisted ankle.

Timetables for their recoveries were then reported on Friday, and while the two members of the backfield escaped anything too severe, they will each be sidelined for decent chunks of time.

Perine will miss a week, according to Mike Garafolo. Marshall, meanwhile, is looking at a longer two-to-four week recovery, per Tom Pelissero. Those pieces of news hurt them in more ways than one.

Derrius Guice's torn ACL in Week 1 of the team's exhibition schedule meant that Marshall and Perine both had a big-time opportunity to step up and earn a spot on Washington's 53-man roster, spots that were harder to envision for them when Guice was healthy.

Overall, the two were slated to compete with Kapri Bibbs for what will likely be two spaces on the depth chart behind the absolutely safe Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley. Now, though, they'll be forced to sit until they're healed up, giving Bibbs more chances in practice and the two remaining August contests to earn Jay Gruden's trust.

Against New York, Bibbs struggled on the ground but led the offense with seven grabs, including a 29-yard gain off a screen play. That performance absolutely brought him closer in the race with Marshall, who scored vs. the Patriots a week earlier. Next, he'll need to prove he can run effectively between the tackles vs. the Broncos in Week 3, which will put some heat on Perine as well.

The 'Skins have 15 days left until they have to finalize their regular season roster. As things stand now amongst the running backs, Bibbs presently has a real shot at stealing a job from the two shelved RBs. But with the way this race has unfolded thus far, that can all change in a split second. 

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Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

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Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

Despite being a brand new franchise with a new roster and new facilities, the Capital City Go-Go will carry into their inaugural season a level of continuity. Both their general manager and head coach are familiar with what they are getting into and the people they will be working with.

GM Pops Mensah-Bonsu is no stranger to the D.C. community and the Wizards franchise. He made a name for himself starring at George Washington University, spent time with the Wizards as a player in their 2013 training camp and remained a frequent visitor to Wizards games as a scout for the Spurs in recent years.

"To be back in the community and the first general manager of the G-League team is special," Mensah-Bonsu said. "This is D.C.’s team. I want them to embrace us."

Head coach Jarell Christian played college ball in Virginia and goes back several years with Wizards coach Scott Brooks. Christian joined the Oklahoma City's G-League staff when Brooks was in his final year as head coach of the Thunder.

Christian began his coaching journey with an eye trained on how Brooks goes about his job.

"My introduction to pro basketball was under Coach Brooks and his philosophies. A lot of that stuff, I believe in wholeheartedly. That’s my foundation," Christian said. "I got a chance to know him through training camp and throughout that season. He and I developed a bond and a relationship that stood the test of time. To this day, we still talk often. It’s just another chance for me to reconnect with him and to continue to grow our relationship."

The Go-Go intend to make what they do as similar to the Wizards as possible. When guys like Devin Robinson, one of their two-way players, is called up he can step right in without a learning curve of the playbook or how they practice.

Having Christian in place will help that process in particular.

"There won’t be any issue or any slippage with guys going up and down to know what’s in store for them," Christian said. "A lot of the stuff that the Wizards will do, we will implement with the Go-Go. Just some offensive and defensive concepts. Some of the playcalls and the terminology will be the same."

"Whatever you see the Wizards doing, you will probably see the Capital City Go-Go doing, too," Mensah-Bonsu said.

The symmetry between the G-League and the NBA teams will also be helped by the fact they will share the same practice facility. Their proximity will come with many advantages from the Go-Go perspective.

"I think it’s going to help motivate these guys. We’re going to be practicing in the same place that the Wizards do and the Mystics do," Mensah-Bonsu said. "I think if these guys can see Dwight Howard and John Wall and Bradley Beal walking around every day, it will help motivate them to get to that next level."

"The exposure our players get with the Wizards [front office], the Wizards personnel, being able to watch them practice daily, watching their practice habits and what their routines may be, is really big," Christian said.

That element will also apply beyond the players. Christian, who is just 32 years old, will get to watch how an NBA coaching staff operates on a daily basis.

Christian has yet to take a tour of the new building in Ward 8, but he has seen blueprints. Among the amenities the Go-Go will enjoy that other G-League teams do not usually have is a dedicated dining area.

Many G-League teams do not go to that length.

"A lot of organizations do not provide food for their players on a daily basis, but we will. That’s the No. 1 thing in my opinion that’s gonna set us apart from our competitors," he said.

The Go-Go won't take the floor for their first game until November, but it seems like a good foundation is starting to take place.

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