Redskins

Reds replace injured ace Cueto on playoff roster

Reds replace injured ace Cueto on playoff roster

CINCINNATI (AP) The Reds dropped injured ace Johnny Cueto from their division series roster Wednesday, replacing him with right-hander Mike Leake a few hours before Game 4 against the San Francisco Giants.

Major League Baseball granted permission for the move at 11:30 a.m., less than five hours before the first pitch.

Cueto pulled muscles in his side during the first inning of the series opener Saturday night. The Reds had been hoping their 19-game winner would improve enough to be able to pitch again, but the injury was still bothering him.

Cincinnati was reluctant to make the move with Cueto because it also leaves him ineligible to pitch in the NL championship series, should Cincinnati make it that far. The Reds lead the best-of-five series 2-1.

``It's tough taking your potential Cy Young guy out of your rotation,'' general manager Walt Jocketty said.

Jocketty said the Reds filed the paperwork for the roster switch shortly before 10 a.m. on Wednesday and got MLB's permission at 11:30. Leake, their No. 5 starter, had been told that the move was possible, so he should be ready to start.

The Giants went with left-hander Barry Zito, who has been at his best late in the season. San Francisco had won the last 11 games he started.

The Reds' medical staff determined that Cueto's injury could bother him into the start of the NLCS, which was a major factor in the decision to remove him from the roster.

``It was a very, very tough decision to make, but our medical staff felt at best, Johnny would be able to pitch maybe one game in the next series if we get there, if he were available for that series,'' Jocketty said.

The Reds' other option was to keep Cueto on the roster and start Mat Latos on only three days of rest, putting the pitching staff in flux. Latos will pitch Game 5 if needed.

``It's quite a blow but at the same time, you hope Leake steps up and pitches well,'' manager Dusty Baker said.

Cueto pulled up after throwing a pitch in the first inning of Cincinnati's 5-2 win in San Francisco on Saturday night. The injury was initially diagnosed as muscle spasms in the back, but a strain in his right side was later detected.

That's an especially troubling injury for Cueto, who turns his back to the batter before each delivery, putting a lot of stress on his side.

``It's kind of a quandary as far as the injury goes,'' pitching coach Bryan Price said.

The Reds were concerned that if they sent him back to the mound before the injury was fully healed, he could cause worse damage.

``It's more of a muscle strain in the side that was very mild, but with his torque and the way he pitches and his twisting motion, we didn't want to take the risk of injuring him,'' Jocketty said.

The major setback comes at the end of a record-setting season for the Reds' rotation. None of the five starters got hurt, a franchise first.

Leake had to be pushed back a day during a series against Cleveland in June, when a stomach virus went through the team. Otherwise, the rotation had impeccable health.

``A lot of it, I think, is just good fortune and good luck,'' Price said.

Leake went 8-9 with a 4.58 ERA, making him the obvious choice to be left off the playoff roster. When Cueto got hurt Saturday, the Reds told Leake to start preparing to replace him if needed. He left the ballpark on Tuesday night knowing he might start Game 4.

``He knew there was a good chance,'' Baker said. ``He's known for possibly a couple of days, not that he would be pitching but that he was preparing to pitch. He was studying the charts. He was looking at the game. He was in the video room.''

Leake faced the Giants once this season, throwing the first complete game of his career for a 5-1 victory at AT&T Park on June 19. He also homered off Matt Cain in that game.

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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter:http://twitter.com/apjoekay

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster competition, Brown vs. Pryor

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster competition, Brown vs. Pryor

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, June 23, 33 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins  and NBC Sports Washington.

Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense—NFL coaches and others like to tell you that competition determines who wins roster spots in the league. And that may be true to an extent. But many roster spots are predetermined by a player’s contract situation and/or draft status. It is unlikely that an undrafted player like Fish Smithson will win a roster spot over Troy Apke even if the former outperforms the latter in every way during training camp. Apke was a fourth-round pick and they aren’t going to give up on him in favor of an undrafted player. It would cost $3.2 million in dead cap to cut Stacy McGee and only $150,000 to move on from Ziggy Hood so McGee will win a “competition” that is even remotely close. (Offensive projection here)

Redskins will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor at training camp—While this is something that could add a little spice to the Jets’ visit to Richmond, don’t look for much of anything to happen. Zach Brown might give a little extra shove to Pryor here and there but he’s not going to do anything that will draw blood or even cause a deep bruise. If nothing else, a big hit on Pryor would invite retaliation by the Jets on Josh Doctson or Paul Richardson. And that might lead to more retaliation and you end up with a brawl like the Redskins and Texans had a couple of years ago.

Trent Williams very much of approves of Smith and Guice—Williams is going into his ninth NFL season and he has yet to be on the winning side of a playoff game. He thinks that Alex Smith and Derrius Guice can help change that. 

The curious case of Alex Smith and the NFL Top 100 list—I normally greet this list with a big yawn and this year was no exception. But I do find the omission of Smith, who led the NFL in passer rating and was third in adjusted net yards per attempt, odd. In an update to this post, the NFL released the names of the top 10 players and Smith is not on it. He shouldn’t be, but he should be somewhere on the 100, perhaps in the middle of the pack. The only Redskins player to appear on the list was Trent Williams at No. 57.

The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger—It’s likely that nine players who are 25 or younger will line up as starters for the Redskins this year. I don’t have a rundown of how that compares to the rest of the league but it’s notable that in the last two years six of them have replaced players who were either approaching age 30 or over it. I’ll engage in some speculation here and say that five of the young players—Daron Payne, Derrius Guice, Preston Smith, Jonathan Allen, and Montae Nicholson—are good enough to potentially make a Pro Bowl at some point in their careers. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Former Redskins defensive tackle Dave Butz was born on this date in 1950. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 33
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 47
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 70

The Redskins last played a game 174 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 78 days. 

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

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