Nationals

Orioles open second half with loss to Tigers

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Orioles open second half with loss to Tigers

Saturday will be an important day for Jason Hammel. At 1 p.m., the Orioles right-hander will undergo an MRI on his right knee, the one thats bothered him through much of the season.For two months, Hammel has soldiered on. Hes gotten his starts moved a day or two, but never missing a turn. In the last month, it seemed to get better and was rarely asked about it.On Friday night, the knee knocked him out of a game for the first time.After he went to a 2-2 count on Brennan Boesch in the fourth inning, Hammel showed discomfort, and manager Buck Showalter quickly removed him.Hammels injury overshadowed the Orioles 7-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers before 35,566 at Oriole Park.The Orioles (45-41) have lost 10 of 14, and even though Nick Markakis returned after a six-week absence, their offense didnt.After getting shut out in their last two games before the four-day break, the Orioles had just six hitshalf of them in the last two innings when trailed by six runs.I was driving toward the plate and it didnt feel good. Something felt really bad. Its the same area as the injury was before. Its kind of just day-to-day, Hammel said in comments provided through a club spokesman.Hammel, usually one of the most willing interviews of all Orioles, couldnt speak directly to the press after the game because he was receiving treatment on the knee.It was something that just happened on that pitch, Hammel said. I mean, the normal things Ive been dealing with since the actual original injury happened; it hasnt changed. Nothing felt like a pop or anything like that.Showalter knew instinctively that something was wrong. He wouldnt let Hammel talk him into staying.I wasnt going to allow that, Showalter said.When Hammel left, he was trailing 2-1, and even though he gave up two runs on four first-inning singles, he wasnt throwing badly in his catchers opinion.On the pitch, I didnt see anything, but on the reaction afterwards, I knew that something didnt feel good, Wieters said.The pitch didnt look any different. It was almost a strike, but afterwards you could tell it was bothering him a little bit.Adam Jones is the only Oriole whos played every game, and hes watched Nolan Reimold, Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis lost for extended periods of time.Theres always a sense of alarm, Jones said. Im a centerfielder. Im not a doctor.Doug Fister (4-8), who was recently voted as baseballs most underrated pitcher in a recent poll of players by Sports Illustrated, mowed the Orioles down.Nick Markakis played for the first time since May 29. He missed more than six weeks after he fractured the hamate bone in his right hand. With the top of the order a non-factor for much of the season, Showalter installed Markakis as the leadoff man for the first time in his career.He was 1-for-4 and had an RBI double.Chris Davis played his first game in left field, and was hitless in four at-bats. Davis was happy to see Markakis back, but felt badly to see Hammel leave early.I think weve had our share of that this year, Davis said. Getting Nicky back and having him healthy and being out in right field and then to see Hammel have to leave the game, it is definitely frustrating.After Markakis doubled to score Wilson Betemit with two outs in the third, Fister retired 12 straight until Wieters singled in the seventh with two gone.By then, the Tigers (45-42), winners of six straight, had a 7-1 lead.Hammel (8-6) gave up the run to Detroit in the first, and in the fourth, Luis Ayala allowed back-to-back doubles by Alex Avila and Ryan Raburn.In the fifth, Ayala allowed a breathtaking home run by Miguel Cabrera, his 19th. It landed high off the batters eye in center and was estimated at 454 feet, the fifth longest in Oriole Park history.Dana Eveland relieved Ayala and gave up a three-run home to Jhonny Peralta, his sixth, and Detroit led 7-1.Hammel has lost four straight.In seven innings, Fister allowed a run and three hits, striking out eight.The Orioles scored a run in the ninth on a walk by Adam Jones and a double by Wieters.
NOTES:-J.J. Hardy was hitless in four at-bats and is in an 0-for-23 quagmire.-Wei-Yin Chen (7-5, 3.93) pitches against Max Scherzer (7-5, 4.98) on Saturday. Game time is 4:15 p.m. -The ceremony to unveil Jim Palmers statue begins at 2:15 p.m. Gates open at 2 p.m.

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman nearing minor league rehab assignment

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman nearing minor league rehab assignment

Over the last few weeks, the Nationals have finally started to get healthy. Slowly but surely, they’ve added stars like Juan Soto, Trea Turner, and Anthony Rendon back to their everyday lineup, and the wins have followed.

If everything goes according to plan, they could be close to adding yet another potential impact bat. This time, it’s Ryan Zimmerman.

The first baseman, who has been on the Injured List since April 28 while dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, could begin his rehab assignment as soon as this weekend, according to his manager.

Zimmerman is getting closer to full health but is still experiencing discomfort while running. During batting practice Thursday, Zimmerman resumed baseball activities, and the plan is for him to run the bases before his minor-league assignment.

"If you're going to be out there playing, you've got to be able at least score on a normal base hit if you're on second, go first to third,” Zimmerman said Thursday. “You might not have to be 100 percent on all that, but you have to do normal, everyday activities, or you're not really helping the team.”

The priority in the minors will be playing nine full innings.

"I think the biggest thing with the rehab games is just getting on your feet for nine innings so the first time you're out there for nine innings isn't here, and you can play some games and make sure it doesn't act up,” the longtime National told reporters. “Because once you're activated and once you're between those white lines, it's game on. It's more I think for Davey [Martinez]. You don't want to put him in a bad spot. If he is managing without knowing if I have restrictions or without knowing what's going to happen, that puts him in a bad spot. That's not what you want to do."

Davey Martinez has rarely had his full complement of players in 2019. Zimmerman himself has already missed 47 games.

Of course, once he returns, the Nationals will have more decisions to make. Not only do the Nationals need to find a roster spot for Zimmerman (Gerardo Parra is a candidate to be the odd man out, despite some flashes in his time in Washington), but they also need to figure out the playing time.

Matt Adams has hit with a lot of power this season, and without the DH in the National League, is limited to first base, same as Zimmerman. Howie Kendrick has been the Nationals’ second-best hitter in 2019 and is one of the best surprises in baseball, but is also limited defensively. Kendrick has more versatility, but with Brian Dozier’s recent surge (and superior defense), the Nats will likely want to keep him there. And, of course, Rendon and Turner are entrenched on the left side of the infield.

It’s something Martinez will have to figure out, he’s already begun speaking with players about what the arrangement will look like.

For right now, it’s a problem for another day, but if Zimmerman’s rehab goes well that won’t be the case much longer.

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2019 NBA Draft: Lakers take De'Andre Hunter with No. 4, will reportedly trade him to Hawks

2019 NBA Draft: Lakers take De'Andre Hunter with No. 4, will reportedly trade him to Hawks

De'Andre Hunter is a Los Angeles Laker...for now.

The Virginia star and reigning ACC Defensive of the Year was selected by the Lakers with the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft Thursday night. However, the Lakers will send that pick to the Pelicans in the agreed-to trade for Anthony Davis, New Orleans in turn reportedly trading it to the Hawks. Thus, Hunter likely ends up in Atlanta. 

If the trade goes through, Hunter will join a talented young Hawks core which already includes Trae Young and John Collins. He would bring a championship pedigree to the team, having just won an NCAA title with UVA this past season.

"Coming off a national championship, there's no better way to try to go into the NBA," Hunter told NBC Sports Washington during an interview for the I Am The Prospect series

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