Nationals

Griffin leads streaking Clippers past Bulls 94-89

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Griffin leads streaking Clippers past Bulls 94-89

CHICAGO (AP) Blake Griffin had 22 points and 10 rebounds to help the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Chicago Bulls 94-89 on Tuesday night for their seventh straight victory, the team's longest winning streak in two decades.

Marco Belinelli hit a 3-pointer with less than a minute left to cut Chicago's deficit to 89-87, but Chris Paul answered with a floater in the lane, then iced it with three free throws down the stretch as Los Angeles snapped the Bulls' season-high three-game winning streak.

Paul finished with 18 points and four assists, below the 20 and 10 he averaged in his first dozen games against Chicago, but it was enough for the Clippers to sweep the season series for the first time since 2009-10.

Carlos Boozer scored 24 points and pulled down 13 rebounds for the Bulls, who had won five of six overall.

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42-year-old reliever Fernando Rodney will get a chance to prove he still has it for the Nationals

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42-year-old reliever Fernando Rodney will get a chance to prove he still has it for the Nationals

The Nationals are filling their open 40- and 25-man roster spot with veteran reliever Fernando Rodney on Tuesday, a source confirmed. 

Rodney, 42, is joining the Nationals bullpen after nine appearances for Triple-A Fresno which produced a 4.50 ERA and 2.125 WHIP. He was released earlier this season by Oakland after a rough start led to a 9.42 ERA. He will become the oldest active pitcher in baseball once added to the roster Tuesday.

This is a desperate swing by Washington to find help for a bullpen which entered Monday 29th in bullpen ERA. When Rodney was at this best -- something Nationals manager Dave Martinez saw in Tampa Bay -- he threw an almost unhittable changeup. It remains an effective pitch, if he can control it or his fastball. Command of both often give him trouble. However, the unpredictable nature of his pitching -- for better or worse -- is something that provides an odd duality. It can make him both ultra-effective or a ticking bomb. It almost always assures laborious outings.

Washington will be the 11th major-league team to employ Rodney in his 17 years of professional baseball. Being a three-time All-Star and former closer defines his on-field reputation. Randomly barking in the bullpen, shooting an imaginary arrow following a save or operating with a tilted cap exemplify the rest of Rodney's makeup. He once carried a "lucky plantain" at the World Baseball Classic. When pitching for Seattle in 2014, Rodney explained his bow-and-arrow gimmick like this: 

“The arrow? I don’t know,” Rodney said. “Just do something after the last out. Out 27. You know the game is over. I shoot the moon. I shoot the arrow, just let them know game over.

“That’s my game. Every time I go pitch, I do my arrow. That’s what the fans are waiting for. Rodney shoot the moon.”

He won't be on the mound to end a game in 2019 unless it is in mop-up duty. 

Multiple relief choices existed in Fresno for the Nationals. Few were good. Dakota Bacus has been the most effective Grizzlies pitcher this season. Yet, he remains in the minors. Veteran relievers George Kontos and Michael Blazek are also on the Grizzlies' roster.

Washington releasing Trevor Rosenthal on Sunday morning opened a 40-man roster spot. The Nationals sent Erick Fedde to Triple-A Fresno after the game Sunday to open a 25-man roster spot. Rodney fills those slots. Austin Voth remains in the rotation.

The Washington Post first reported Rodney's movement.

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Adley Rutschman finally signed his contract with the Orioles and it could be a record-setter

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Adley Rutschman finally signed his contract with the Orioles and it could be a record-setter

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Baltimore Orioles have signed the top overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft, catcher Adley Rutschman of Oregon State.

The 21-year-old Rutschman, a switch-hitter, batted .411 with 17 home runs as a junior for the Beavers this year. He won the Golden Spikes Award, which recognizes the top amateur baseball player in the United States.

His reported record-breaking $8.1 million signing bonus would top a previous high set by Gerrit Cole ($8 million) when the Pittsburgh Pirates selected him No. 1 in 2011. 

Baltimore had not had the first draft pick since 1989, when it selected pitcher Ben McDonald out of LSU.

The Orioles announced the signing on Monday. The deadline to sign draft picks is July 12.

The team plans to introduce him to the crowd at Camden Yards on Tuesday during a game against the San Diego Padres.

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