Orioles

Rivers says roles won't change without Rondo

Rivers says roles won't change without Rondo

WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce showed up for his pre-practice meeting with reporters carrying a basketball, which he bounced from time to time while answering questions.

Get used to it: Pierce will have the ball in his hands a lot more from now on.

Two days after learning that Rajon Rondo has a torn knee ligament that will keep him out the rest of the season, the Celtics returned to practice for the first time to work on an extended future without the All-Star point guard. Pierce is the most likely player to handle the ball at key points in the game, but coach Doc Rivers says everyone will have to work to replace Rondo.

``It's just basketball,'' he said. ``There's no point guard. It's just basketball by committee. I don't want a guy thinking now he's Rondo.''

Rondo was averaging 13.7 points, 11.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game, with triple-doubles in back-to-back games when he was scratched from Sunday's game against the defending NBA-champion Miami Heat. He was sent to the hospital to check on what the team believed was a hyperextended right knee.

The actual diagnosis: A torn anterior cruciate ligament that required surgery and a recovery period of up to a year.

``Everybody was in a fog almost,'' center Kevin Garnett said at the team's workout facility. ``I think it's kind of settling in and I think everybody is trying to put their arms around the concept that he's actually hurt, hurt to the point where he can't play. That's what had everybody in a fog, even him.

``He came in this morning and seeing him in there was kind of unreal. The fact that it is real, everybody is going to consolidate and pick up the pieces and try to carry this thing.''

Rondo was injured in a double-overtime loss to Atlanta on Friday night, a game in which the Celtics blew a 27-point lead. Despite playing without their floor leader on Sunday - players didn't know the extent of the injury until after the game - they beat the Heat in Boston in double overtime to improve to 21-23 and hold onto a 2 1/2-game lead over Philadelphia for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

They are back at the TD Garden on Wednesday night against the Sacramento Kings. Rivers said he isn't sure who will bring the ball up the court - it will probably change from game to game depending on what the opponent is doing - but once the offense is set up he will expect everyone to be involved.

That's the way the Celtics played against Miami on Sunday.

Now they need to do it the rest of the season.

``It's a no-point-guard system,'' Rivers said, noting that his second unit has been playing that way all season. ``Now the entire team needs to do it. We have a lot of guards. We just don't have a lot of point guards.''

Rivers said Courtney Lee, who has been averaging 7.2 points and 1.4 assists in 22 minutes, will start for now. Leandro Barbosa, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green and Jason Terry will also have the ball more without Rondo on the floor.

``I don't know if that's a role I'm going to have,'' said Barbosa, who backed up Steve Nash in Phoenix and is averaging 4.7 points and 1.2 rebounds in 11 minutes in his first season with the Celtics. ``I'm not Rajon Rondo; I'm Leandro Barbosa. What I'm going to do is different for the team.

``I will do my best, but I'm not a point guard; I'm a shooting guard. I will do my best, but I'm not a Rajon Rondo.''

There is also the possibility that general manager Danny Ainge would sign a player; former Celtic Keyon Dooling, who's working for the team in community relations, has been mentioned as a possibility. The Celtics, who were already languishing below .500, could also trade one of their stars and begin rebuilding.

``Danny has not brought up anything,'' Rivers said.

Rivers said he won't worry about Pierce being asked to do too much.

``I don't think Miami worries about running too much through LeBron (James),'' he said. ``I don't think the Lakers worry about running too much through Kobe (Bryant).''

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Machado homers as Orioles beat Rangers 6-5

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Machado homers as Orioles beat Rangers 6-5

For well over six seasons, Manny Machado's value to the Baltimore Orioles has been solely his ability to hit and play the field.

All that has changed, now that the Orioles are looking to receive a huge return for their All-Star shortstop in a blockbuster trade.

Machado homered before being removed on a wet day, Adam Jones hit a three-run double and Baltimore rallied past the Texas Rangers 6-5 Sunday.

Machado was taken out of the game in the fifth inning by manager Buck Showalter after a 26-minute rain delay. The move was designed to get their star player off a sloppy field, because the last-place Orioles are entertaining offers for Machado before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"Obviously there's a different situation going on with Manny. You all know that," Showalter said. "That had a lot to do with it."

Plain and simple, the Orioles can't afford to have Machado get hurt. Now, more than ever.

"A month ago he wouldn't have come out of the game," Showalter acknowledged. "We know that. You know it."

After being replaced by Jace Peterson, Machado sat in the dugout, wearing a sweatshirt and joking with his teammates.

"I don't know why (Showalter) did it or not," Machado said. "He just told me, `I'm going to take you out. You had a good first half and go represent us well in the All-Star Game.'"

Machado is Baltimore's lone representative for Tuesday's showcase. He has spent his entire career in Baltimore, but his contract expires after this season and the Orioles don't appear interested in locking him up with a long-term deal.

"I'm going to the All-Star Game as an Oriole and as a shortstop. It's just always a blessing," Machado said. "I thank God. I thank my family for always supporting me, my teammates, the fans, the organization. I mean it's just been very incredible."

In a matchup between two teams staggering into the break, Texas got a first-inning grand slam from rookie Ronald Guzman but quickly gave the lead away in losing for the seventh time in nine games.

Machado ignited the comeback with his 24th homer, and Jones' bases-clearing double in the third off Mike Minor (6-6) put Baltimore ahead to stay.

"I'll be fine," said Minor, who yielded five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. "I'll reflect a little bit and then get back to it."

The game ended when Texas pinch-runner Carlos Tocci was thrown out at the plate on a double by Elvis Andrus. Running from first base, Tocci was tagged out by catcher Caleb Joseph following throws by right fielder Mark Trumbo and second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

"Textbook," Showalter said.

Texas manager Jeff Bannister called it a "situation where they had to throw it on line to throw Tocci out. They executed well."

Tanner Scott (1-1), the first of four Baltimore relievers, earned his first big league win.

Zach Britton, another Oriole supposedly on the trading block, worked the ninth for his fourth save, the second in two days.

Texas broke on top when Miguel Castro issued three straight walks and Guzman sent a one-out drive over the right-field wall for his first career grand slam.

It was 4-1 in the third when Joseph hit an RBI double and Jones doubled down the left-field line following a walk to Machado.

Shin-Soo Choo homered in the seventh to get the Rangers to 6-5.

STREAKY

Choo opened the game with a walk, extending to 51 his single-season club record streak of games reaching base via a hit, walk or HBP. ... Texas' Delino DeShields went 0 for 3, stretching his hitless drought to 28 at-bats. ... Jones snapped a 1-for-16 skid with his third-inning double.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: RF Nomar Mazara was given the day off after hurting his hand Saturday night in the outfield.

Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman (back) was set to make his final rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Norfolk. ... INF Steve Wilkerson (oblique) and OF Craig Gentry (rib fracture) likely won't come off the DL before August, Showalter said. ... RHP Andrew Cashner (neck strain) will be activated from the DL on Saturday or Sunday to face Toronto, Showalter said.

UP NEXT

Rangers: The rotation after the All-Star break, beginning Friday against visiting Cleveland: Martin Perez, Bartolo Colon, Cole Hamels, Yovani Gallardo and Minor.

Orioles: After the All-Star break, Dylan Bundy will start at Toronto on Friday night.

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Murphy's big hit helps Nats beat Mets 6-1

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Murphy's big hit helps Nats beat Mets 6-1

Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner each hit a two-run single in Washington's five-run seventh inning, helping the Nationals beat the New York Mets 6-1 on Sunday.

Matt Adams added two hits and scored a run as Washington salvaged a split of its four-game set against New York. A preseason favorite to win the NL East and contend for a World Series championship, the disappointing Nationals hit the All-Star break with a 48-48 record, good for third in the division.

Jeremy Hellickson (4-1) pitched six crisp innings in his second straight win. The veteran right-hander allowed one run and two hits, struck out six and walked two.

Jose Reyes drove in Michael Conforto with a fielder's choice in the second, tying it at 1, but Washington grabbed control in the seventh.

Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon opened the inning with walks against Anthony Swarzak (0-2). Tim Peterson then came in and surrendered singles to Adams and Murphy, who came off the bench to hit for Michael A. Taylor.

Jerry Blevins replaced Peterson with two out and runners on second and third. But he hit Wilmer Difo and Adam Eaton before Turner's single gave Washington a 6-1 lead.

New York wasted a solid start by Corey Oswalt, who allowed two hits in five innings. The Mets got off to a fast start this year, but hit the break last in the division with a 39-55 record, a percentage point behind fourth-place Miami.

WAITING

A steady drizzle delayed the start by 47 minutes.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) pitched 5 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Class A Potomac. He allowed three runs, struck out seven and walked one. Strasburg has been on the disabled list since June 10.

Mets: Yoenis Cespedes is scheduled to play five simulated innings in left field at the team's facility in Florida on Monday. Mets manager Mickey Callaway said the 32-year-old outfielder, who has been sidelined by a right hip flexor and strained quadriceps, could return as the designated hitter next weekend against the Yankees If he is able to play on consecutive days.

MAKING MOVES

The Nationals recalled right-hander Trevor Gott from Triple-A Syracuse. Right-hander Austin Voth, who took the loss in his big league debut Saturday, was sent back to Syracuse.

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