Capitals

Johnson optioned to Norfolk after debut

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Johnson optioned to Norfolk after debut

Steve Johnson's second stint with the Orioles was even shorter than his first. This time, he actually pitched in a game.Johnson, son of former Orioles pitcher and current broadcaster Dave Johnson, was recalled from Norfolk for the second time in 13 daysSunday morning.After he pitched the eighth and ninth innings,allowing a ninth-inning home run toDetroit's Miguel Cabrera, Johnson was optioned back to Norfolk.On July 2, Johnson flew cross-country to Seattle, and after two gameswas returned to the Tides without having pitched.In the eighth inning, Johnson the first Baltimore-bred player to debut for the Orioles since Damon Buford in 1993, received a warm ovation. He walked the first two Detroit hitters he faced, and retired the last three."Just walking off the field in the eighth inning, getting the strikeout and getting out of that jam, having the fans get behind me, that was a pretty special moment. That is something I'll take with me," Johnson said."When they said I was going in the game, my heart started pounding. It was nice to be out there and have the fans get behind me that inning."In the ninth, he gave up the long home run to Cabrera."I love the fact that Stevie is ours in more ways than one. You can imagine the emotion that he and his family had seeing him come to fruition out there and have some success doing it," manager Buck Showalter said.After the Orioles used seven relief pitchers on Saturday, Johnson was around as the long man. He got the word late Saturday night that he was going to be recalled again, drove home to Baltimore and arrived around 4 a.m.He slept for four hours, then reported to Oriole Park Ill be here as long as they need me, Johnson said. Johnson is 3-6 with a 3.11 ERA in 15 games for the Tides.His parents were in charge of securing tickets for his first home game.Hopefully they dont need me, but Im here if they need me, Johnson said.It will definitely be good being home for the first time.The Johnsons are the sixth father-son duo to play for the Orioles. Don and Damon Buford, Bob and Terry Kennedy, Dave and Derrick May, John O'Donoghue Sr. and Jr. and Tim Raines Sr. and Jr. were the others.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

The Capitals are the Eastern Conference Champions!

After dispatching Tampa Bay in Game 7, the Caps claimed the conference crown for just the second time in franchise history. But they're not done yet. Now it's on to Vegas to face the Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps' win over the Lightning and look ahead to the matchup with the Knights.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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