Nationals

Mark Grace sentenced to jail in Arizona DUI case

Mark Grace sentenced to jail in Arizona DUI case

PHOENIX (AP) Former Arizona Diamondbacks television analyst Mark Grace has been sentenced to four months in jail under a work-release program.

The 48-year-old former first baseman with the Diamondbacks and the Chicago Cubs pleaded guilty Thursday to felony endangerment and misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol.

Grace was arrested last August in Scottsdale - his second drunken driving arrest in 15 months - and could have faced more than three years in prison. He had pleaded not guilty in October to four felony counts of aggravated DUI and was scheduled to go on trial March 19.

The Diamondbacks fired him as their analyst after the August arrest but later invited him to participate in a fantasy camp.

A Maricopa County Superior Court spokesman says the jail sentence begins Feb. 10. Grace must also serve two years of probation.

Quick Links

Former Nationals CF Denard Span mulling retirement: ‘Maybe this is it’

Former Nationals CF Denard Span mulling retirement: ‘Maybe this is it’

A former Nationals leadoff man and fan favorite has reportedly come to terms with the possibility of his baseball career reaching its conclusion.

Centerfielder Denard Span played in Washington from 2013-15, hitting .292 with 62 stolen bases and 207 runs scored as the team’s primary hitter at the top of the lineup. Following stints with the San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners over the next three seasons, Span has spent the last year and a half as a free agent.

“I haven’t announced it, officially, but maybe this is it,” Span told the Minnesota Star Tribune in a story published Saturday. “I didn’t play last year…not because of an absence of contact from teams. The offers that came my way; they didn’t seem like fair value for my services.

“I spent this past offseason getting in shape, getting ready to play in 2020, and there were two or three minor league offers. I wasn’t opposed to starting in the minors, but these didn’t seem right as far as having a chance to move up to the big club if I was doing well in Triple-A.”

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

Span, a former first-round pick, started his career with the Minnesota Twins in 2008. He played five years in Minneapolis before traded to the Nationals just after the 2012 season. Washington was in desperate need of both an everyday centerfielder and a leadoff man, and Span checked off both boxes.

As a sparkplug that ignited the Nationals’ offense, Span quickly earned the appreciation of fans in D.C. His best season came in 2014, when he led the NL with 184 hits and placed 19th in MVP voting. When the Nationals clinched a playoff berth last September, Span commented on the team’s Instagram page to say his time in D.C. was the “best 3 years of my career.”

A day after he signed a free-agent contract with the Giants over the 2015-16 offseason, the Nationals moved on by acquiring Ben Revere from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for reliever Drew Storen. Revere kick-started another round of musical chairs at the center field position in D.C. until Victor Robles took over the job full-time last season.

Span admitted to the Star Tribune that while he’d be open to returning to the majors, there likely won’t be a situation that will entice him enough to do so.

“I know that if the season ever would get started,” he said, “I still would have the ability to help a team. But 36-year-old outfielders who haven’t played in two years…not happening.

“I’m very satisfied pouring my life into our family, to [my wife] Anne, a wonderful person, and our two boys.”

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Ron Rivera: Alex Smith must be able to 'protect himself' before he can return to football

Ron Rivera: Alex Smith must be able to 'protect himself' before he can return to football

Earlier this month, ESPN released the 'Project 11' documentary, which gave viewers an inside look at all the obstacles and adversity Redskins quarterback Alex Smith has had to overcome since he suffered a life-threatening leg injury in November of 2018.

Despite undergoing 17 surgeries and nearly needing to have his leg amputated, Smith explained during the documentary that his end goal is still to play football once again. The quarterback also told the same to local media at the Redskins locker room cleanout in December. Stephania Bell, the lead reporter for the film, also said she wouldn't be surprised if Smith played again.

Ron Rivera was asked about Smith's recovery on Tuesday, and the new Redskins head coach explained one thing that has to happen in order for Smith's goal to become a reality.

"The one thing that he and I talked about, more than anything else, is he's got to be able to protect himself out on the football field before anything can happen, before we can allow him back on the field," Rivera told NBC Sports' Mike Tirico on Lunch Talk Live.

Earlier this offseason, Rivera told ESPN980 that he didn't "want to forget Alex Smith" in a potential quarterback competition come the fall. 

"Here’s a guy that’s doing everything he can to come back, and if Alex can come back and be the player that he was we have a good situation, we have competition at that position," Rivera said in January.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE REDSKINS TALK PODCAST

The head coach explained on Tuesday that he hopes by the end of training camp, he'll know whether or not Smith is able to play.

"We'll see. You just never know," Rivera said. "We'll find out hopefully sometime in late August."

Project 11 concluded with footage of Smith going through on-field workouts and throwing the football. While he certainly didn't look game-ready, the quarterback has come a long way from where he was just a few months prior, when he was spotted at Redskins practices helping the quarterbacks any way he could from the sideline.

After seeing everything that the quarterback has gone through over the past 18 months, it may be hard to imagine Smith ever playing in the NFL again. But Rivera has learned not to count the quarterback out on a potential return.

"In getting to know who he is, I don't doubt him," Rivera said. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS