Orioles

Even with aching toe, Garcon makes Redskins better

Even with aching toe, Garcon makes Redskins better

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) From head to toe, three things are immediately noticeable when Washington Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon takes the field.

- His mouthpiece looks like vampire fangs. Nothing special, he says. Just something the team dentist designed for him a few years back when he was with the Indianapolis Colts.

- He appears to be the only NFL player whose jersey has a cedilla, the curvy thing that dangles from the letter ``c.'' His parents are from Haiti, accounting for his French name. He speaks Creole and understands French, although he says the French class he took in college didn't help much at all.

- He's makes the Redskins offense a lot better, even though he's playing with a toe that hurts. And hurts. And hurts. And has been hurting for some 2 1/2 months.

``I think I'm going to make it through the whole season,'' Garcon said this week. ``Hopefully nothing crazy happens. But I've been dealing with the pain for so long now, it's only getting numb to it or getting used to it.''

When Garcon caught the first touchdown pass of Robert Griffin III's career - 88 yards in the season-opening win over the New Orleans Saints - little did anyone know that the moment would yield as much frustration as excitement. Garcon tore a ligament in the second toe on his right foot while sprinting to the end zone, and the intervening weeks have been flush with thoughts of how to play through pain, how best to avoid surgery and whether he should even try to play again this season.

``It is frustrating because it's just a toe,'' Garcon said. ``But it plays a big part. I need my toes to push off.''

Garcon returned for Weeks 4 and 5, but he clearly wasn't physically ready and served more as a decoy than anything else, catching four passes for 44 yards. It looked like more of the same when he returned for again this month against the Philadelphia Eagles, catching three passes for a tepid 5 yards.

Coach Mike Shanahan wasn't certain whether Garcon would be able to play again four days later against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving because of the possible effect of the stadium's artificial surface on his toe.

``No matter what, I have to go out there and play,'' Garcon said. ``If it's grass, turf, AstroTurf, concrete - I've got to be out there no matter what. It's going to be a pain throughout the year.''

Against the Cowboys, Garcon looked again like the player signed to a $42.5 million, five-year contract to fill the team's need for a No. 1 receiver. He had five catches for 93 yards, including a 59-yard acrobatic catch-and-run score that gave nary a hint of anything wrong with his foot.

``He just brings a different attitude to the receiving corps,'' Griffin said. ``He's our guy. Having him out there is definitely a plus. ... He was in his own world. That's how he is when he's out there. He plays in the zone and I think it helps the other receivers to have him out there.''

The Redskins (5-6) hope Garcon can play another key role in Monday night's NFC East showdown against the New York Giants (7-4), but the fickle foot means offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will have to be flexible with the game plan.

``You never know because he's not 100 percent healthy,'' Kyle Shanahan said. ``But when he does feel good, he's a big-time player. And when he's not fully going, I still think (having) him out there help us. ... It makes me a little less decisive in what we're going to open up with and stuff we're going to do, but it's definitely a problem I don't mind having.''

Still to be decided is how and when the toe will heal. Garcon has never had surgery, and he's adamant that he'll opt for it only as a last resort.

``It's slowly going away,'' Garcon said. ``The surgery is not something I want to do. But if a few doctors say I need it, then I'll probably do it. But if I don't need it, I'm not getting it.''

Notes: LB London Fletcher (sprained left ankle) and LT Trent Williams (left thigh bruise) again did not practice. ... Griffin was chosen as the NFL's offensive rookie of the month for November. He also won the honor for the month of September.

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Machado homers as Orioles beat Rangers 6-5

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USA TODAY Sports

Machado homers as Orioles beat Rangers 6-5

For well over six seasons, Manny Machado's value to the Baltimore Orioles has been solely his ability to hit and play the field.

All that has changed, now that the Orioles are looking to receive a huge return for their All-Star shortstop in a blockbuster trade.

Machado homered before being removed on a wet day, Adam Jones hit a three-run double and Baltimore rallied past the Texas Rangers 6-5 Sunday.

Machado was taken out of the game in the fifth inning by manager Buck Showalter after a 26-minute rain delay. The move was designed to get their star player off a sloppy field, because the last-place Orioles are entertaining offers for Machado before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"Obviously there's a different situation going on with Manny. You all know that," Showalter said. "That had a lot to do with it."

Plain and simple, the Orioles can't afford to have Machado get hurt. Now, more than ever.

"A month ago he wouldn't have come out of the game," Showalter acknowledged. "We know that. You know it."

After being replaced by Jace Peterson, Machado sat in the dugout, wearing a sweatshirt and joking with his teammates.

"I don't know why (Showalter) did it or not," Machado said. "He just told me, `I'm going to take you out. You had a good first half and go represent us well in the All-Star Game.'"

Machado is Baltimore's lone representative for Tuesday's showcase. He has spent his entire career in Baltimore, but his contract expires after this season and the Orioles don't appear interested in locking him up with a long-term deal.

"I'm going to the All-Star Game as an Oriole and as a shortstop. It's just always a blessing," Machado said. "I thank God. I thank my family for always supporting me, my teammates, the fans, the organization. I mean it's just been very incredible."

In a matchup between two teams staggering into the break, Texas got a first-inning grand slam from rookie Ronald Guzman but quickly gave the lead away in losing for the seventh time in nine games.

Machado ignited the comeback with his 24th homer, and Jones' bases-clearing double in the third off Mike Minor (6-6) put Baltimore ahead to stay.

"I'll be fine," said Minor, who yielded five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. "I'll reflect a little bit and then get back to it."

The game ended when Texas pinch-runner Carlos Tocci was thrown out at the plate on a double by Elvis Andrus. Running from first base, Tocci was tagged out by catcher Caleb Joseph following throws by right fielder Mark Trumbo and second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

"Textbook," Showalter said.

Texas manager Jeff Bannister called it a "situation where they had to throw it on line to throw Tocci out. They executed well."

Tanner Scott (1-1), the first of four Baltimore relievers, earned his first big league win.

Zach Britton, another Oriole supposedly on the trading block, worked the ninth for his fourth save, the second in two days.

Texas broke on top when Miguel Castro issued three straight walks and Guzman sent a one-out drive over the right-field wall for his first career grand slam.

It was 4-1 in the third when Joseph hit an RBI double and Jones doubled down the left-field line following a walk to Machado.

Shin-Soo Choo homered in the seventh to get the Rangers to 6-5.

STREAKY

Choo opened the game with a walk, extending to 51 his single-season club record streak of games reaching base via a hit, walk or HBP. ... Texas' Delino DeShields went 0 for 3, stretching his hitless drought to 28 at-bats. ... Jones snapped a 1-for-16 skid with his third-inning double.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: RF Nomar Mazara was given the day off after hurting his hand Saturday night in the outfield.

Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman (back) was set to make his final rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Norfolk. ... INF Steve Wilkerson (oblique) and OF Craig Gentry (rib fracture) likely won't come off the DL before August, Showalter said. ... RHP Andrew Cashner (neck strain) will be activated from the DL on Saturday or Sunday to face Toronto, Showalter said.

UP NEXT

Rangers: The rotation after the All-Star break, beginning Friday against visiting Cleveland: Martin Perez, Bartolo Colon, Cole Hamels, Yovani Gallardo and Minor.

Orioles: After the All-Star break, Dylan Bundy will start at Toronto on Friday night.

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Murphy's big hit helps Nats beat Mets 6-1

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Murphy's big hit helps Nats beat Mets 6-1

Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner each hit a two-run single in Washington's five-run seventh inning, helping the Nationals beat the New York Mets 6-1 on Sunday.

Matt Adams added two hits and scored a run as Washington salvaged a split of its four-game set against New York. A preseason favorite to win the NL East and contend for a World Series championship, the disappointing Nationals hit the All-Star break with a 48-48 record, good for third in the division.

Jeremy Hellickson (4-1) pitched six crisp innings in his second straight win. The veteran right-hander allowed one run and two hits, struck out six and walked two.

Jose Reyes drove in Michael Conforto with a fielder's choice in the second, tying it at 1, but Washington grabbed control in the seventh.

Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon opened the inning with walks against Anthony Swarzak (0-2). Tim Peterson then came in and surrendered singles to Adams and Murphy, who came off the bench to hit for Michael A. Taylor.

Jerry Blevins replaced Peterson with two out and runners on second and third. But he hit Wilmer Difo and Adam Eaton before Turner's single gave Washington a 6-1 lead.

New York wasted a solid start by Corey Oswalt, who allowed two hits in five innings. The Mets got off to a fast start this year, but hit the break last in the division with a 39-55 record, a percentage point behind fourth-place Miami.

WAITING

A steady drizzle delayed the start by 47 minutes.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) pitched 5 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Class A Potomac. He allowed three runs, struck out seven and walked one. Strasburg has been on the disabled list since June 10.

Mets: Yoenis Cespedes is scheduled to play five simulated innings in left field at the team's facility in Florida on Monday. Mets manager Mickey Callaway said the 32-year-old outfielder, who has been sidelined by a right hip flexor and strained quadriceps, could return as the designated hitter next weekend against the Yankees If he is able to play on consecutive days.

MAKING MOVES

The Nationals recalled right-hander Trevor Gott from Triple-A Syracuse. Right-hander Austin Voth, who took the loss in his big league debut Saturday, was sent back to Syracuse.

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