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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Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby, but only on one condition

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USA Today Sports

Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby, but only on one condition

It’s happening.

When the 2018 All-Star Weekend comes to Washington, D.C. in the middle of July, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper will compete in the 2018 Home Run Derby, but only on one condition: He has to be a member of the 2018 National League All-Star Team.

Though Harper is having a down year, only hitting .213 thus far, he leads the NL in home runs with 19.

In the June 18 update of All-Star game voting, Harper sat second among all outfielders with just north of 1,000,000 votes.

That means he’s not only going to make the All-Star team, but he’ll likely start in the outfield.

Harper, a five-time All-Star, competed in the Home Run Derby once before. He was the runner-up to Yoenis Cespedes in 2013, losing by just long ball, 9-8.

The 2018 Home Run Derby will take place on July 16 at Nationals Park.

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Your guide to this year's Capitals Development Camp

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Your guide to this year's Capitals Development Camp

While this year’s Capitals roster brought home the ultimate prize – the Stanley Cup – it’s no secret that the team won’t be able to stay together as it is.

Despite the NHL salary cap rising from $75 million to about $79.5 million, the team will have less than $20 million to re-sign 19 active NHL and AHL affiliate players.

Challenging seems like an understatement when considering that key players like John Carlson, Jay Beagle, and Devante Smith-Pelly are due for some significant raises from their previous contracts. 

Similarly, the organization has to maintain depth, keeping its core roster strong while still offering smaller two-way contracts to their minor-league players in Hershey. 

With this in mind, this summer’s development camp seems especially crucial. For die-hard fans and new arrivals alike, all eyes are on how management will keep the team’s momentum next season.

Here’s what you need to know about attending Capitals Development Camp –shortened as dev camp – including who to watch and what events are most worthwhile.

What should I expect for Capitals development camp?

Development camp is fairly self-explanatory.

For one week every summer, as offseason contract negotiations take place, prospective players, minor-league players, and junior league players gather for a week for assessment, scrimmaging, fitness testing, practice, and publicity events. However, it's important to realize that the roster will not be finalized until the last minute, and depends on who the Capitals select or trade for in the 2018 NHL draft this Friday and Saturday.

Practices are free and open to the public at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, with coaching and managerial staff assessing players. Fan Fest will take place on Saturday, June 30 featuring the final camp scrimmage.

The Alumni Summer Classic game is scheduled for Tuesday, June 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Kettler. The event is also free and open to the public.

Who should I be looking out for?

Former Hershey Bears on entry-level contracts like Jakub Vrana and Madison Bowey provided essential depth to the Capitals through this historic season. Several of their colleagues may be next in line.

Defensemen 
Following last years’ development camp, Connor Hobbs, Lucas Johansen, and Jonas Siegenthaler joined the Hershey Bears, showing promise on the team’s blue line. 

Hobbs, 21, spent two seasons with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League before coming to the Bears this past season. In November 2017, Hobbs suffered a wrist fracture, missing 32 games of the Bears’ 76-game season. Despite the injury, Hobbs put up a total of 16 points in 44 games.

Assuming he stays healthy, he only stands to get better. Like Siegenthaler, we’ll likely see him in the preseason lineup.

Johansen, 20, also came to the Bears from the WHL – Kelowna, to be exact. The 2016 first-round pick put up a respectable 27 points over 74 games this season. Though this may seem like a significant drop from his previous season’s 41 points in the WHL, the decrease is fairly typical when transitioning from junior to professional hockey.

Siegenthaler, 21, has the most impressive resume of any Capitals defensive prospect. Siegenthaler struggled to produce with the Bears this season, but did finish the full season in Hershey after spending 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons with Switzerland’s ZSC Lions and joining the Bears for their spring playoff push. He’s also made appearances on the international stage at the U20 World Junior tournament, adding his name to Switzerland’s national team roster this season.

It will be interesting to see if he could push for a spot with the NHL club.

Forwards
On the offensive side, Brian Pinho, 23, seems to be poised for a change. Coming off a four-year career with the Providence College Friars, Pinho captained the team to the NCAA quarterfinals this season.

It’s uncommon, yet not unsmart, to finish out a college degree before joining the NHL. Pinho will likely join the Bears next season.

Garrett Pilon, 20, was traded from the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers to the Everett Silvertips. The star child of Everett’s historic playoff run, he proved his indispensability as a scorer who works well under pressure, racking up a whopping 80 points in his final junior league season.

With contracts up in the air for several of the Capitals’ bottom-six forwards and favorable testimonies from management, Pilon might be the strongest chance to crack the lineup.

Goaltending
The Caps’ depth and future in goal looks a bit wonky, with general manager Brian MacLellan strongly hinting at shopping backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer to teams who may be able to use him as a starter. Braden Holtby isn’t going anywhere, but you need more than one goalie for an entire NHL season, plus playoffs.

What to do? We’ll have to see how this year’s draft shakes out on June 22 and 23. But for now, keep an eye on Ilya Samsonov. The 21-year-old posted a 0.926 save percentage across 26 games with the KHL’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk this season. Even if he moves up to Hershey next season, it’ll be interesting to watch his development.

What else should I know?

If this dev camp is your first time at Kettler, get excited!

Note that for all practices except scrimmages, forwards will be dressed in red or white practice jerseys and defensemen in blue.

Since most players are new and/or under watch by management and coaching, all players will have names and numbers on the backs of their jerseys to make them easier to identify.

Keep in mind that whoever the Caps chose – or trade for – with their six picks in Friday and Saturday’s draft will also affect the dev camp roster. It often isn’t finalized until the last minute. Dev camp provides the first and best chance to get up close and personal with the Caps' newly drafted players. The uncertainty of who you'll get to see can be a drawback, but regardless, attending can give a great glimpse into where the Caps may be headed next season.

Between the Alumni Game, practices, and final weekend scrimmages, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to get your offseason hockey fix or take a step back from the Capitals’ salary cap woes. The final schedule for the week is likely to be released Sunday.

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