Nationals

Cavs' Varejao done for season with blood clot

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Cavs' Varejao done for season with blood clot

CLEVELAND (AP) Anderson Varejao's season rapidly spiraled from a probable All-Star appearance to over.

The Cavaliers' hustling center, who led the NBA in rebounding before he went down last month with what appeared to be nothing more than a bruised knee, remained hospitalized Monday with a blood clot in his lower right lung, a health scare that will force him to miss the rest of this season.

Varejao, who underwent surgery on a torn leg muscle on Jan. 10, has been at The Cleveland Clinic since last Thursday. The Cavs said he will likely remain in the hospital for several more days as he receives treatment. Varejao is expected to make a full recovery, but he will remain on blood thinning medications for at least three months, the team said Monday.

The loss of the 6-foot-11 Varejao is a crushing blow to the young Cavs, who are just 10-32.

``Losing him already was bad enough for us,'' star point guard Kyrie Irving said. ``The news got worse today. We wish him the best. We're all going to be there for him morale-wise, just try to be there for him as best as we can as teammates. That's all we can do right now.''

Despite Varejao being admitted to the hospital four days ago, the Cavs did not reveal he was still there until shortly before Monday's workout at their training facility.

Varejao was having an All-Star-caliber season before he injured his leg on Dec. 18 against Toronto. Team doctors initially diagnosed the injury as a bruise and expected Varejao to make a quick recovery. However, tests revealed an uncommon split in his quadriceps muscle which required an operation. Varejao was expected to be out eight weeks before he developed the blood clot following the surgery.

General manager Chris Grant said the team is ``fairly confident'' the clot was not a reaction from surgery.

This is the third straight season Varejao has missed extended time with injuries. The Brazilian sat out 41 games last season with a broken wrist, and he was sidelined for 51 games in 2011 after tearing a tendon in his ankle while running after practice.

``We're just feeling bad for Andy,'' Cavs coach Byron Scott said following practice. ``I think the world of Andy, especially with the way he plays. My heart just goes out to him. He's had some bad luck in the last three years. I'm sure it's devastating to him. I feel real bad for him.''

Varejao was averaging 14.4 rebounds and 14.1 points in 25 games before he got hurt. There wasn't a center in the Eastern Conference playing better than the fun-loving 30-year-old, who has developed into much more than a competent reserve - when he's healthy.

If he had been able to keep playing, there's little doubt Varejao, acquired by Cleveland in 2004 in a trade with Orlando, would have been named an All-Star reserve this week.

Grant pointed out that Varejao's injuries have been unrelated.

``They've all really been freak things,'' he said. ``He's frustrated. We're frustrated for him and with him. We would love to have him out there, particularly the type of year he was having. He's really come into his own as a leader on the court, so it's difficult. But at the same time we believe in him as a guy, we know what he can do. He's played in a lot of big games for us, into the Finals. We'll continue to support him.''

Cleveland, which has one of the league's youngest rosters, just completed a 1-4 road trip. The Cavs will host Boston on Tuesday and play 10 of their next 12 games at home.

Varejao's injury has allowed Scott to give extra playing time to second-year forward Tristan Thompson and rookie Tyler Zeller. The Cavs, though, have been plagued by wild inconsistency, especially down the stretch in games they've let slip away.

``We've made strides in the right direction, but we just have to be more consistent game-to-game,'' said Irving, who is averaging 23.1 points, 5.7 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. ``I say it all the time, we've proven we can play with the best in the league, we just have to put two halves together. We're still figuring that out.''

They'll have to do it without Varejao, their never-stopping big man who has managed to stay positive despite his latest medical setback.

``His spirits are up,'' said Grant. ``He's frustrated. He wants to play; he wants to be with his teammates on the court. But he's such a good guy. Every time you see him he's still got that big smile.''

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Juan Soto isn't a HR hitter, the Mets broadcast said. Then he immediately went upper deck

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Juan Soto isn't a HR hitter, the Mets broadcast said. Then he immediately went upper deck

Juan Soto did something Tuesday night at Citi Field that made the whole broadcaster's jinx theory come to life. 

During Soto's 2nd inning at-bat, former MLB first baseman, five-time All-Star, 1979 co-NL MVP, two-time World Series champion, and current Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez went out on a limb to describe the 20-year-old phenom. 

He is not a home run hitter even though he had nice power here last year.

So, in a rather timely fashion, the lefty launched a moonshot, 410-foot solo home run to right field for Washington's first run of the game. 

In fairness, Hernandez was just trying to explain that Soto isn't a home run hitter because of the type of swing he demonstrates, one that typically produces more line drives than long-balls. 

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Beats by Scherz: Why Scherzer chose Dr. Dre song as his walk-up music

Beats by Scherz: Why Scherzer chose Dr. Dre song as his walk-up music

NEW YORK – A few constants remain during this wayward Nationals season. One is Max Scherzer.

Scherzer comes into Tuesday leading the National League in innings pitched and strikeouts. He's second in strikeouts per nine innings and third in strikeout-to-walk ratio. Scherzer's 3.72 ERA is well above his average of 2.71 since arriving in Washington in 2015. However, his FIP (fielding-independent pitching) is a league-leading 2.45, showing he has been victimized by bad defense more than bad pitching.

He hopped on a pop-up edition of The Racing Presidents podcast Tuesday in New York. Sitting in the visitors dugout a day ahead of another matchup with 2018 Cy Young Award Jacob deGrom, Scherzer touched on lighter topics, like his selection of Dr. Dre's "Still Dre" as his walkup song, and addressed who is responsible for the Nationals being seven games under .500 the last year-plus.

We're all responsible," Scherzer said. "When you wear a hat and jersey that says Nationals on it, we're all in the same position. It's frustrating to not have a winning record. It's frustrating not to be winning as a team. [Since] I've been here, we've won a couple division titles and you know that feeling of what it's like to win. You know you have the core group of players who have won here in the past that can win here again. It's just a matter of figuring out what the right chemistry is and going out there and getting it done."

Scherzer is in his 12th major-league season. He's made at least 30 starts for 10 consecutive seasons. One of the reasons for his lack of injuries and durability is not because he goes through extensive recuperation during the offseason. Instead, Scherzer keeps pushing both his arm and body. 

"I try to find a way to continue to do more, to take more on my body even as I age," Scherzer said.

And, about that walkup song, which is part-protest, part-comeback song? He was out to dinner with reliever Aaron Barrett when it popped on and Barrett suggested it as this year's entrance music.

So, click below to listen to everything Scherzer had to say in our exclusive interview. Also, don't forget to download, rate and subscribe to The Racing Presidents podcast. We're with you after every game and with marquee interviews and insight you can't find elsewhere.

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