Nationals

Cabrera's MVP a big hit back home in Venezuela

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Cabrera's MVP a big hit back home in Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) When the AL MVP award went to Miguel Cabrera on Thursday, it was a big hit back home.

Jose Torres, one of Cabrera's uncles in Venezuela, said he celebrated by setting off fireworks in the working-class neighborhood where the Detroit Tigers' slugger grew up in the city of Maracay.

``When the neighbors heard the fireworks, they came out of their house to celebrate with us,'' Torres told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Cabrera, baseball's first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, also became the first Venezuelan player to be chosen MVP in the major leagues.

Torres said he had fully expected his nephew to win, ``but baseball can bring surprises, so while waiting we were a little nervous.''

He said Cabrera's mother gave him the news after her son called her from Miami. Torres, who still coaches kids on the field where Cabrera once practiced, said: ``It was so exciting. We're very happy.''

At a baseball game in Caracas on Thursday night, a crowd of about 15,000 applauded enthusiastically and blew horns after Cabrera's selection was announced over the loudspeakers.

``It's very great joy for Miguel, for Venezuela,'' said Luisa Tunez, one of the fans at the game, which pitted top rivals Leones against Navegantes in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League.

Tunez recalled Cabrera's struggles with alcohol, saying the award shows he's been able to overcome such troubles. She and other Venezuelans often refer to him affectionately as ``Cabrerita,'' or little Cabrera.

``Cabrerita showed that when we focus on something positive, we're capable of lifting ourselves up and winning,'' Tunez said.

In a message on his Twitter account, Cabrera said: ``This MVP was for the fans in Detroit and Venezuela. Support from God, my family, and teammates made it possible.''

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman nearing minor league rehab assignment

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman nearing minor league rehab assignment

Over the last few weeks, the Nationals have finally started to get healthy. Slowly but surely, they’ve added stars like Juan Soto, Trea Turner, and Anthony Rendon back to their everyday lineup, and the wins have followed.

If everything goes according to plan, they could be close to adding yet another potential impact bat. This time, it’s Ryan Zimmerman.

The first baseman, who has been on the Injured List since April 28 while dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, could begin his rehab assignment as soon as this weekend, according to his manager.

Zimmerman is getting closer to full health but is still experiencing discomfort while running. During batting practice Thursday, Zimmerman resumed baseball activities, and the plan is for him to run the bases before his minor-league assignment.

"If you're going to be out there playing, you've got to be able at least score on a normal base hit if you're on second, go first to third,” Zimmerman said Thursday. “You might not have to be 100 percent on all that, but you have to do normal, everyday activities, or you're not really helping the team.”

The priority in the minors will be playing nine full innings.

"I think the biggest thing with the rehab games is just getting on your feet for nine innings so the first time you're out there for nine innings isn't here, and you can play some games and make sure it doesn't act up,” the longtime National told reporters. “Because once you're activated and once you're between those white lines, it's game on. It's more I think for Davey [Martinez]. You don't want to put him in a bad spot. If he is managing without knowing if I have restrictions or without knowing what's going to happen, that puts him in a bad spot. That's not what you want to do."

Davey Martinez has rarely had his full complement of players in 2019. Zimmerman himself has already missed 47 games.

Of course, once he returns, the Nationals will have more decisions to make. Not only do the Nationals need to find a roster spot for Zimmerman (Gerardo Parra is a candidate to be the odd man out, despite some flashes in his time in Washington), but they also need to figure out the playing time.

Matt Adams has hit with a lot of power this season, and without the DH in the National League, is limited to first base, same as Zimmerman. Howie Kendrick has been the Nationals’ second-best hitter in 2019 and is one of the best surprises in baseball, but is also limited defensively. Kendrick has more versatility, but with Brian Dozier’s recent surge (and superior defense), the Nats will likely want to keep him there. And, of course, Rendon and Turner are entrenched on the left side of the infield.

It’s something Martinez will have to figure out, he’s already begun speaking with players about what the arrangement will look like.

For right now, it’s a problem for another day, but if Zimmerman’s rehab goes well that won’t be the case much longer.

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2019 NBA Draft: Lakers take De'Andre Hunter with No. 4, will reportedly trade him to Hawks

2019 NBA Draft: Lakers take De'Andre Hunter with No. 4, will reportedly trade him to Hawks

De'Andre Hunter is a Los Angeles Laker...for now.

The Virginia star and reigning ACC Defensive of the Year was selected by the Lakers with the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft Thursday night. However, the Lakers will send that pick to the Pelicans in the agreed-to trade for Anthony Davis, New Orleans in turn reportedly trading it to the Hawks. Thus, Hunter likely ends up in Atlanta. 

If the trade goes through, Hunter will join a talented young Hawks core which already includes Trae Young and John Collins. He would bring a championship pedigree to the team, having just won an NCAA title with UVA this past season.

"Coming off a national championship, there's no better way to try to go into the NBA," Hunter told NBC Sports Washington during an interview for the I Am The Prospect series

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