Wizards

Montero ready for challenge of full-time catching

Montero ready for challenge of full-time catching

SEATTLE (AP) Under the heading of ``catchers'' on the Seattle Mariners' 40-man roster, there is just one name.

That is the challenge being placed before Jesus Montero. Ultimately, he won't have to do it all by himself, but there is no question that Seattle is heading into spring training with the idea that Montero will be its primary catcher. Throw in that Montero is just 23 and headed into his second full season in the majors and the task becomes even more significant.

If there is a major position player concern for the Mariners as they head into spring training in about two weeks, it's their depth behind the plate, where Montero is currently the only sure thing Seattle has. There are a handful of spring training invitees who very well could make the final roster out of spring, and some additional roster moves general manger Jack Zduriencik could make.

But for now, Montero is preparing himself to be Seattle's everyday catcher. Is it a risk to rely so heavily on the youngster? Maybe, especially since he caught only 56 games last season for Seattle. But Montero has a pretty strong understanding of what is going to be asked of him.

``I'm preparing myself to catch every day if I can catch every day,'' Montero said during the Mariners' annual fan gathering last weekend. ``Everybody knows that sometimes I get tired, everybody gets tired. I'm going to try to be behind home plate every single time.''

Whether Montero can become an everyday catcher was one of the primary questions when Seattle traded for him before the start of the 2012 season. Because of the catching rotation he was involved in during his rookie season, there wasn't much resolved about Montero's future as a full-time catcher.

But with the departures of Miguel Olivo (free agent) and John Jaso (trade), the position is now Montero's alone. There is help on the way in the minors with last year's first-round pick Mike Zunino and prospect John Hicks, but neither one is likely to make the Mariners roster out of spring.

``It's more on the mental than the physical side of things. I don't have any doubt he can handle it from a talent perspective, that he can handle the role fundamentally,'' Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. ``But being so young and inexperienced, the mental grind . we ask a great deal of our catchers here. And then the physical grind that goes along with it, that's pretty real. But he knows he's coming here to catch. It'll ultimately be my decision in regard to how much he does catch, but we're going to ask him to catch as much as we feel he can to go out there and perform the way he's capable of performing.''

Montero is coming off a rookie season that ebbed and flowed like most first seasons do. At times he was the Mariners' best hitter and at others he looked young and frustrated at the plate. He finished the year hitting .260 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs.

Part of the situation heading into this season is that Seattle needs Montero to be its primary catcher to keep his bat in the lineup and help figure out a logjam of new acquisitions who all could fill the designated hitter spot - Montero's primary role in his rookie season. The Mariners traded for Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse, and signed Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez, all of whom could likely see playing time at a variety of positions this season. But to maximize the potential of a lineup that's been offensively the worst in baseball the last three years, they need Montero catching and not taking up the designated hitter spot.

Montero was significantly better as a hitter in his rookie season when he was catching. In the 56 games he caught, Montero hit .310 with a slugging percentage of nearly .500, 10 home runs and 32 RBIs. His power numbers dipped significantly as a DH, despite getting nearly 100 more at-bats. Montero hit just five homers as a DH, struck out 60 times and had a slugging percentage of just .310.

``Being in the big leagues, it's not easy, but I know that now. Now I know how it's going to be this year,'' Montero said.

Montero was also given the challenge in the offseason of trimming his frame, cutting down on his body fat and becoming a better runner. At first glance last weekend, Montero appeared to have slimmed down and said, ``I learned to run.'' Just to make sure Montero understood what Seattle was asking, he was brought in last week to be looked over by team personnel to make sure he took his offseason program seriously.

``Last year, you know I'm slow, but (I think) I can run a little better and I gain a little more speed,'' Montero said. ``That's what I did, was run.''

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Bradley Beal's girlfriend Kamiah Adams announces the couple's engagement

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Instagram/@KamiahAdams

Bradley Beal's girlfriend Kamiah Adams announces the couple's engagement

The Wizards didn't play on Sunday, but Bradley Beal by far had his best day of the new year.

The 26-year-old proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Kamiah Adams, on Sunday, and Adams showed off her ring in a lengthy Instagram post.

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When we had first began dating, you helped me conquer a fear of Ferris wheels& heights... you took me to the top of the Ferris wheel in Vegas, and asked me to be your girlfriend. 4 years later, you helped me conquer the fear of opening up, being vulnerable, and not only loving someone unconditionally, but allowing myself to be loved unconditionally as well, and asked me to spend the rest of my life with you. I love you so so much. No one else id rather spend my life with. Thank you for helping me evolve into the woman I’ve become, and for constantly challenging me to become better each and everyday. I did then, I do now, and I will FOREVER. YES YES YES!!!!!!!!!!! 💍🥰 🥺🥺😩😍

A post shared by Kamiah Adams (@kamiahadams) on

"When we had first began dating, you helped me conquer a fear of Ferris wheels & heights... you took me to the top of the Ferris wheel in Vegas, and asked me to be your girlfriend," Adams wrote. "4 years later, you helped me conquer the fear of opening up, being vulnerable, and not only loving someone unconditionally, but allowing myself to be loved unconditionally as well, and asked me to spend the rest of my life with you. I love you so so much. No one else id rather spend my life with. Thank you for helping me evolve into the woman I’ve become, and for constantly challenging me to become better each and everyday. I did then, I do now, and I will FOREVER. YES YES YES!!!!!!!!!!!"

The couple has two kids together, both of which are boys. Their first son, Bradley Jr., was born in July of 2018, and their second son, Braylon, was born this past August.

Congrats to Brad and Kamiah!

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Scott Turner won the Redskins offensive coordinator job over Kevin O'Connell, per source

Scott Turner won the Redskins offensive coordinator job over Kevin O'Connell, per source

There has been plenty of speculation as to why new Redskins head coach Ron Rivera decided to hire Scott Turner as offensive coordinator, and now a source tells NBC Sports Washington the answer is simple. 

Turner won the job competition. 

Many expected 2019 Redskins offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell to maintain his position when the team hired Rivera as their new head coach earlier this month. That didn't happen. 

As Rivera moved quickly to assemble his coaching staff, the biggest question seemed to be running the offense and working with second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Rivera interviewed O'Connell and Turner for the job, and asked to interview former Giants head coach Pat Shurmur. 

Shurmur declined the interview, and at that point, a source explained that Rivera then made his decision to go with Turner over O'Connell. 

So why Turner? 

Both candidates got their first experience calling plays last year after an in-season firing to the head coach. The results weren't great for either coach, but Turner's game plans involved more play action passing than O'Connell. 

Turner's resume working with Cam Newton and Teddy Bridgewater mattered, as did the plan Turner presented for working with Haskins. 

It's important to note that Rivera had years of experience working with Turner, as well as his father Norv Turner. That mattered too, and one source explained Rivera "believed" in Turner. 

While O'Connell landed in a strong spot as offensive coordinator for the Rams, he won't be calling plays. Coaches don't like giving up control, particularly offensive coaches giving up play calling. For O'Connell, maybe that will change in LA, but it will take time. 

Some Redskins fans have a bad habit of assuming the worst. That maybe Turner got the job because O'Connell passed on it. That's not the case, per multiple sources.

Ron Rivera wanted his guy, and that's why Turner got the job. 

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