Nationals

Griffen back with Vikings, grieving mother's death

Griffen back with Vikings, grieving mother's death

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) Minnesota defensive end Everson Griffen is planning to travel with the Vikings to Washington and play in Sunday's game following the unexpected death of his mother, saying that is what she would have wanted.

``She loved to watch me play, and that's why I'm back here to show her that I'm doing this for her,'' Griffen said. ``Not just for her but for me too, that I'm growing into a man and just working hard.''

Griffen returned to practice on Friday after missing the day before. He learned on Wednesday of the death of his mother, Sabrina Scott, who'd been in town visiting him.

``Just shocking. My mom was 100 percent healthy. We'll find out soon what the cause was,'' Griffen said, declining to go into more detail.

The third-year player from USC, who is tied for the Vikings lead with three sacks, said he's trying to stay strong for his brother, father and stepfather. The maturity she tried to teach him has suddenly become more important than ever for Griffen, a native of Avondale, Ariz., who with his fiancee is expecting his first child in January.

``It's not about me no more. It's about my family,'' Griffen said, describing his mother as ``just a wonderful lady'' with an outgoing, engaging personality.

``I'm just happy to have a mom like that and one day we'll meet again. She's in a better place right now, and I know the Lord has her,'' Griffen said.

Several of his teammates visited him on Wednesday evening after he got the bad news.

``That's the only reason I'm here because I feel safe here,'' he said, adding: ``It kind of helps me ease the pain a little bit, but it's still a tremendous and deep burning inside.''

As irrelevant as injuries are in light of loved-one lost, the Vikings were happy about the improvement during the week shown by wide receiver Jerome Simpson and running back Adrian Peterson. Simpson was a limited participant in Friday's practice. The lower-back problem that's caused weakness and numbness in his lower leg has subsided, but ``not quite'' to the point where he's full strength, coach Leslie Frazier said. Simpson's status for Sunday's game was to be determined later.

Simpson was listed as questionable to play the Redskins on the injury report. Peterson, who sprained his left ankle in last week's game, is probable. Frazier said he has looked ``much better'' in practice. Linebacker Marvin Mitchell was listed as doubtful after a flare-up of his calf strain. Safety Mistral Raymond, who suffered a bone bruise in his right ankle, started running on the side but was limping noticeably. He'll be out for at least two more weeks.

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Managers in Nationals-Orioles series embrace shared history as they face off for the first time

Managers in Nationals-Orioles series embrace shared history as they face off for the first time

Brandon Hyde and Davey Martinez have spent countless days on the same fields, but Tuesday night was the first time they found themselves managing against one another.

Before heading to the nation’s capital to manage the Washington Nationals, Martinez coached under Joe Maddon with the Chicago Cubs from 2015-17. Brandon Hyde was also in Chicago during those years, coaching first base and then succeeding Martinez as Maddon’s bench coach prior to his hire in Baltimore last offseason.

While both figures are competitive enough to not need any added motivation against the opposing team, it’s still a fun moment for the two longtime friends to appreciate.

“Oh, he’s awesome,” Martinez told reporters in the visitor’s dugout before Tuesday’s game when asked about his relationship with Hyde. “I know him and his family very well, almost like family of mine. When we got in town we had dinner together, so it was kind of fun.”

Martinez went on to emphasize he knows Hyde will be playing to win, too.

“Obviously we both know he’s very competitive,” Martinez continued. “He knows that we want to win and he wants to win, so put everything aside. We’re going to compete.”

Despite the difference in records and team expectations in 2019, Hyde was pretty clear about his desire to take down his former colleague.

“Obviously me and Dave are very close friends and I wish him all the success in the world,” Hyde echoed during his own pregame availability. “But obviously I hope we beat them these next couple games.”

Martinez is not the only National to have a relationship with Hyde.

“Davey’s over there, Henry Blanco’s very close friend of mine, Joe Dillon the hitting coach I played with in high school, so I have some close relationships on that staff,” Hyde said.

Martinez knows the Nats can’t let their guard down against weaker opponents, Orioles included. As he put it, the Nationals “gotta come out and play baseball like we always do.”

And yet, even though each manager is putting his best foot forward to try to win the game, same as every other night of the season, it’s hard to ignore the unique relationship between the two.

For most, it’s just another night of baseball. But as Brandon Hyde put it most simply, “this will be a little bit different managing against Davey on the other side.”

Orioles-Nationals has yet to fully develop into a true rivalry, but perhaps a few more games that feel just “a little bit different” will help one blossom going forward.

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Max Scherzer feeling 'a lot better' but next start date is still up in the air

Max Scherzer feeling 'a lot better' but next start date is still up in the air

BALTIMORE -- Some pitching clarity was acquired Tuesday.

Erick Fedde will make a spot start Wednesday in the second, and final, game between the Orioles and Nationals. That bumps Stephen Strasburg to Thursday. Max Scherzer's next start remains a question.

The Nationals decided Strasburg would pitch Thursday once they put Scherzer (mid-back strain) on the 10-day injured list July 13. Moving Strasburg a day allows Washington to dispatch its best arms against first-place Atlanta during a four-game series instead of burning one against Baltimore, the worst team in the major leagues.

Scherzer threw Tuesday in the outfield and "said he felt a lot better," according to Davey Martinez. Next is a check Wednesday morning, then further work. Martinez wants Scherzer to throw a bullpen session before making a start. That could happen Thursday in Atlanta. If Scherzer throws a bullpen session then, he could pitch as early as Saturday, when he is first eligible to come off the injured list. 

Scherzer could also pitch Sunday in Atlanta. The Nationals can easily manipulate the situation once they have Scherzer throw a bullpen session. Patrick Corbin will pitch Friday -- receiving an extra day of rest himself -- then Anibal Sanchez would be on turn Saturday after an extra day of rest. 

If Scherzer is ready to go this weekend, the Nationals could have lucked into a position where they pitch all four of their best pitchers on extra rest against first-place Atlanta.

"It's hard to tell with Max," Martinez said. "Max always feels he's ready to pitch. I just want to see him progress."

One of the issues last weekend in Philadelphia was Scherzer's back problem did not improve from Friday to Saturday, prompting the team to eventually decide an injured list stint was best.

In the interim, Austin Voth, who pitched Tuesday, and Fedde receive cameo appearances. Martinez said in Philadelphia the fifth starter spot is "open" between Voth, Fedde and, more distantly, Joe Ross. 

"[Tuesday] I'm just worried about Austin Voth going out there and competing and keeping us in the ballgame," Martinez said. "Worry about [Wednesday on Wednesday]. Both of those guys are part of our future right now. We hope that they both pitch well."

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