Nationals

Penn State says Sandusky settlements appear close

Penn State says Sandusky settlements appear close

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) Penn State's negotiator for civil claims involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky said Friday the school has been in talks with 28 people and settlement discussions with some claimants could soon produce results.

The number of claimants is 18 more than were involved in Sandusky's criminal case this summer, when eight young men testified they were assaulted by Sandusky. Prosecutors were not able to identify two victims.

Ken Feinberg told The Associated Press that the talks have gone well and he is hopeful they will yield settlements in the coming weeks.

No one has pulled out of the negotiations, and he said a realistic timetable for settlements is ``the near future. I think the process will be successful, yes I do.''

Harrisburg attorney Ben Andreozzi, who represents multiple claimants in the talks, said there was ``still some ground that needs to be made up.''

``I wouldn't say I'm quite as optimistic as he is,'' Andreozzi said. ``I do think it's been a positive process and both parties are acting in good faith so far. I would say I'm cautiously optimistic.''

Lawyer Joel Feller, who represents several other claimants, said the discussions he's had so far have been ``productive.''

``We are getting close to the point to determine whether the cases can or cannot be settled,'' Feller said.

Feinberg said the 28 claims are being handled on an accelerated basis now that the holidays are over.

``This is not a group settlement,'' he said. ``We're looking at each individual claim.''

Based on other cases, some of the factors that can go into putting a value on a child sexual abuse claim are the age of the victim, the length of time the child was abused, the types of acts involved, where they took place and evidence it has affected them.

Sandusky's November 2011 arrest immediately touched off a massive scandal that cost Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno his job, as well as the university president. Former school President Graham Spanier and two other top administrators currently face charges they covered up allegations involving Sandusky to protect the university's reputation. They maintain their innocence.

Penn State announced in September it was bringing in Feinberg, who helped resolve claims from the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Virginia Tech massacre.

The university said after Sandusky's guilty verdict in June on 45 counts that it wanted to ``privately, expeditiously and fairly'' settle with victims of the former assistant football coach. In some cases, the victims have filed lawsuits.

Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence. Sandusky maintains he is innocent and is pursuing appeals. Most recently, he was in court for argument on post-sentencing motions, including a claim his lawyers lacked sufficient time to prepare for trial, and a ruling from the trial judge is pending.

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Nationals win despite having to turn to little-known pitcher for pivotal start

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Nationals win despite having to turn to little-known pitcher for pivotal start

WASHINGTON -- If any bump was coming from a return home or Mike Rizzo’s public pregame words or simply being out of New York, it was not apparent Friday.

Three errors committed in the first four innings. The first reliever into the game, Joe Ross, allowed three earned runs before recording a second out. Starter Kyle McGowin barely made it through the fourth inning of an eventual and desperately needed 12-10 win.

The rally kept the Nationals from creeping toward of new level of dubiousness in this muck-filled season. They pushed 2 ½ games in front of the Marlins for the National League’s worst record. Juan Soto hit a three-run homer in the eighth. Matt Adams followed with a solo homer. Sean Doolittle had trouble, but closed the game. Those efforts kept this from being another story about the bullpen (five more runs allowed Friday).

So, here’s a different question to ponder (there are a million or none, depending on point of view) after Friday night: How did the Nationals end up with 27-year-old McGowin starting a surprisingly pivotal game?

The nuts-and-bolts version is because of injuries. Both Anibal Sanchez -- who threw a simulation game Friday -- and Jeremy Hellickson are on the injured list. The deeper answer comes from looking at the recent erosion of pitchers in Washington’s minor-league system.

McGowin made his second career start Friday because there is no one else. No hot minor-league prospect, no early-round pick who has been up and down and received another shot, no veteran stashed in the minor leagues for such situations.

Looming behind all of this is the 2016 trade of three pitching prospects to acquire Adam Eaton. Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning were all sent to Chicago for Eaton’s advanced-stats and cost-friendly contract. The departure of three starting pitchers in one shot reverberated Friday when the Nationals were forced to use McGowin in a spot start as the seventh starter of the season.

This is more a volume than quality issue. Neither Lopez or Giolito were effective in limited chances at the major-league level with Washington before being traded. Once in Chicago, Giolito became arguably the worst pitcher in baseball in 2018. No one allowed more earned runs or walks that season. Lopez had a quality season, finishing with 3.1 WAR.

The two have reversed outcomes in 2019. Giolito has rediscovered his velocity. After throwing 100 mph in the 2015 Futures Game, his velocity caved. Giolito was down to 92-93 mph with the Nationals and, initially, Chicago. Thursday, he hit 97 mph in the ninth inning of a shutout against Houston. The outing drove his ERA down to 2.77.

Lopez is struggling. His 5.14 ERA is venturing toward Giolito’s status of a year ago. His walk total -- always the concern -- is up, as are his homers allowed.

But what Giolito and Lopez have, at age 24 and 25, respectively, is potential. Giolito, who often fussed with his mechanics in Washington, has discovered a delivery to expedite his fastball and an approach to boost the effectiveness of his changeup. Lopez’s 2018 showed he can be a solid back-end rotation member. They were expected to follow behind Erick Fedde and Joe Ross in establishing a future rotation. But, those two are in Chicago, Ross is in the bullpen, where he gave up three runs Friday, and Fedde just returned to the rotation after being moved to the bullpen.

So, it was McGowin on the mound Friday. Four innings, six hits, five runs, one walk, two strikeouts, two home runs allowed. Why? No better choice is available.

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Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and Nationals grant boys wish to be a player for a day

Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and Nationals grant boys wish to be a player for a day

The Nationals welcomed 10-year-old cancer patient Parker Staples as the newest addition to their team on Friday, in conjunction with the Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic Foundation.

While battling lymphoma, Staples learned he would receive a wish and didn’t hesitate about what he wanted to choose. After being sidelined for two years during treatment, Parker couldn’t wait to celebrate his remission by becoming part of his favorite baseball team. 

Staples was introduced to his new teammates and got signed autographs from Matt Adams, Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon, and Yan Gomes. He also got to spend time hitting and playing catch with his new teammates, as well as being interviewed as the newest member of the team. It gets even better than that, Staples threw the ceremonial first pitch at Nationals Park leading up to the Marlins-Nationals game Staples 

"My favorite moment was throwing the first pitch. It was really cool," Staples said.

"Probably the biggest day of my life."

The Nationals are hosted the Miami Marlins in the series opener Friday.

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