Orioles

Kaeding a free agent after being released from IR

Kaeding a free agent after being released from IR

SAN DIEGO (AP) That big Philip Rivers-for-Eli Manning trade the San Diego Chargers pulled off on draft day 2004 is now essentially a one-for-one deal.

Kicker Nate Kaeding, obtained with one of the three draft picks the Chargers got that day along with Rivers, was released from injured reserve Tuesday and became a free agent.

He'll collect $1.1 million in termination pay.

The two other players the Chargers obtained with picks from the Rivers-Manning trade, outside linebacker Shawne Merriman and left tackle Roman Oben, are long gone.

``You get drafted, but you're not going to last somewhere forever,'' Kaeding said. ``I think they got some decent mileage out of those draft picks.''

While Rivers remains in San Diego, the Bolts haven't come close to getting what the Giants got with Manning - two Super Bowl titles.

Kaeding was taken with a third-round pick in 2004, Merriman with a first-round pick in 2005 and Oben was acquired from Tampa Bay on June 9, 2004, in exchange for the 2005 fifth-round pick the Chargers got from the Giants.

The Chargers took Manning with the first overall pick in 2004 and then made the deal with New York less than an hour later. Three days earlier, agent Tom Condon called the Chargers to say that Archie Manning wished that the Chargers would not use the No. 1 pick on his son.

Kaeding is the most accurate kicker in NFL history, having made 180 of 207 field goal attempts in the regular season, or 87 percent.

However, he'll be mostly remembered for the ones he didn't make in the playoffs.

He missed three field goals in a 17-14 home playoff loss to the New York Jets in January 2010, San Diego's last postseason appearance. As a rookie, he was wide right on a 40-yard attempt on a wet field in overtime that would have beaten the Jets in a playoff game following the 2004 season. The Jets moved down the field and won it 20-17 on Doug Brien's 27-yarder.

Kaeding was just 8 of 15 (53.3 percent) in eight playoff games.

The furthest the Chargers have gotten in the playoffs since the Rivers-Manning trade was the AFC championship game in January 2008. They lost to the then-perfect Patriots, who in turn lost to Manning's Giants in the Super Bowl.

``It's disappointing for everybody,'' Kaeding said. ``That's why you play, is to get to the Super Bowl. That's your No. 1 objective. If not, you have no business being around. We didn't play well enough to get it done.''

Kaeding was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 22 with a groin injury. The Chargers said then he'd be released when he was healthy.

Kaeding was hurt in practice on Sept. 28, two days before a game at Kansas City. The Chargers signed kicker Nick Novak that day.

Kaeding said he felt healthy and ready to go last week.

``I took the bye week as an extra week to get extra work on rehabbing my leg and the rest of my body,'' he said. ``I came in fully expecting to play the Cleveland game, to kick Monday, Wednesday and Friday in practice and then jump on a plane and play. Obviously the team had other plans.''

The Chargers lost 7-6 to the Browns, their third straight defeat.

Kaeding made all seven field goal attempts this season. Last year, he blew out his left knee trying to make a tackle on the season's opening kickoff.

Kaeding said he's been working with former Chargers and Saints kicker John Carney and intends to stay ready for another chance to kick.

``It's mostly a waiting game,'' Kaeding said. ``It's a week-to-week league, which I learned the hard way last year with my ACL. I'm just going to stay ready, try to stay patient and on top of my game.

``I'm certainly proud of the track record I have,'' he said. ``There are no accidents in this league and it's a good measure of success. I'm confident and hopeful that I'll get another chance here down the road.''

San Diego (3-4), which has lost three straight, hosts Kansas City (1-6) on Thursday night.

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Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

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USA Today Sports

Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

TORONTO (AP) -- Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman gave up hits to the first three Baltimore batters Saturday.

The Orioles got just two more hits the rest of the afternoon.

Stroman pitched seven sharp innings for his second win in three starts and Toronto beat Baltimore 4-1 for its sixth straight victory over the struggling Orioles.

"He started working both sides of the plate with his sinker and I think that threw them off a little bit, especially late in counts," Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile said. "Overall it was just kind of vintage Stroman."

Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb picked up his major league-worst 13th loss. The Orioles dropped to 1-8 against Toronto this season.

"I absolutely hate seeing that win-loss in parentheses next to my name," Cobb said. "It's sickening."

Stroman (3-7) allowed one run and five hits. He threw a season-high 107 pitches, the first time this season he has topped 100.

Stroman is 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in five starts since returning from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss more than a month. He went 0-5 in seven starts before the injury.

"Since he's come back from the DL he's been really good," manager John Gibbons said. "I just think he's pitching like he's always pitched."

Stroman said he's focused on forgetting his early season struggles.

"I know I didn't have the first half I wanted but I've always been someone who prides myself on the second half and finishing strong," Stroman said. "That's something I'll look to continue to do this year."

Friend and teammate Devon Travis likes what he's seen from Stroman since the right-hander returned from injury.

"He's got that fire back," Travis said. "He's really under control. I think he's locking in on every single pitch."

Seunghwan Oh worked the eighth and Ryan Tepera finished for his seventh save in 12 opportunities.

Baltimore scored one run or fewer for the 27th time, the most in the majors.

The first three Orioles batters all singled, although Jonathan Schoop was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double. After Adam Jones gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead with an RBI hit to right, Mark Trumbo grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Blue Jays answered with a three-run fourth against Cobb, taking advantage of a key Orioles error.

Justin Smoak opened the inning with a walk and, following a video review, was ruled safe at second after Cobb's high throw pulled shortstop Tim Beckham off the base on at attempted force play.

"That's not it in a nutshell but I can understand why that's the focus, a play we haven't been making," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Randal Grichuk followed with an RBI double, a second run scored on Diaz's double play grounder, and Maile capped the rally with an RBI single.

Diaz had four hits Friday, including the game-winning single in the 10th. He went 2 for 3 Saturday with a pair of singles.

The Blue Jays made it 4-1 in the fifth when Teoscar Hernandez doubled, advanced on a fly ball and scored on Cobb's balk.

Cobb (2-13) lost his sixth straight decision, allowing four runs, one earned, and four hits in five innings. Showalter said Cobb was removed to avoid worsening a blister on his pitching hand.

"I was only going to have a few more pitches going into the sixth so he felt like the risk-reward was not really worth it," Cobb said.

Grichuk made the defensive play of the game, a running catch on the warning track in left center to retire Trumbo for the first out of the ninth.

GOING DOWN?

Jones and Chris Davis got stuck in an elevator at the team's downtown hotel following Friday night's defeat. Jones documented much of the saga on Instagram. The players and fellow passengers were eventually rescued by Toronto Fire Services staff. The sound system at Rogers Centre played a few bars of Aerosmith's `Love in an Elevator' before Jones batted in the fourth inning Saturday.

NO HOMERS

Toronto won without hitting a home run for just the third time in 26 games this season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: Baltimore is expected to demote a reliever when RHP Andrew Cashner (neck) is activated off the 10-day disabled list Sunday.

UP NEXT

Cashner (2-9, 4.56) last pitched July 10, when he allowed five runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings against the Yankees. Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (10-6, 4.29) is 0-3 with a 9.75 ERA in three July starts.

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What to make of the Strasburg-Scherzer shouting match in the Nationals' dugout

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USA Today Sports

What to make of the Strasburg-Scherzer shouting match in the Nationals' dugout

Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer had a heated exchange in the Nationals dugout Friday night.

It was another not-so-great moment in an otherwise unspectacular season for the Nats so far.

Things like this often appear worse than they are based on what we can see, not hear, on television. In any case, it has fans and pundits talking about a perceived off-the-field issue instead of the actual game. There's nothing "good" about this, but there are important factors that are "bad" and ones that are "not bad."

Davey Martinez, Strasburg and Scherzer already said this has been settled and wasn't a big deal in the first place, but for a manager who's already faced some scrutiny this year for how he manages his pitchers, having two of them go at it in the dugout isn't ideal.

It also doesn't present the best optics for a team that came out of the All-Star Break 5.5 games back of the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals need to build some momentum heading into the dog days of summer, and after a lackluster first half, this isn't how anybody would want to start the second half.

This was also Strasburg's first start back from a month-long stint on the disabled list. Ryan Zimmerman just rejoined the club as well. Things are shaping up to make for a solid second-half run, but all this does is detract from that.

The Nationals also just hosted the first All-Star Game in Washington since 1969. Having something like this happen in the dugout where everybody can see it takes away from some of that good publicity.

But there are also positives, or at least non-negatives, to take from this. Scherzer has always been ultracompetitive, and as the best pitcher on the staff, he needs to harness that into leadership. With Strasburg coming off a rough inning, Scherzer may have thought he needed a little tough love from a veteran. There's nothing wrong with that. Strasburg, to his credit, has never been one to focus too much on himself, so if there's anyone who can take something like this constructively, it'd be him.

This isn't Jonathan Paplebon fighting Bryce Harper for not running out a pop fly the day after the Nats were eliminated from playoff contention. These are two veteran guys who play the same position who are both competitive and want to win. It's akin to an older brother pushing his younger brother to do better. Strasburg even hinted at the family aspect after the game.

In the end, there's really nothing to see here. Frustration is part of the game. Talking it out is a part of remedying the frustration.

What really matters is tracking down the Braves and the Phillies. The Nationals can get started on that Sunday in the second game of a rain-shortened two-game series against the Braves.

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