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Rockies' Jim Tracy hopes to return in 2013

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Rockies' Jim Tracy hopes to return in 2013

DENVER (AP) Jim Tracy wants a chance to put the pieces back together.

The manager of the Colorado Rockies will meet with Bill Geivett, the team's director of major league operations, Friday to discuss the direction of a club that just completed its worst season ever.

The Rockies' 98-loss debacle featured a historically awful starting rotation that won just 20 games at Coors Field, a realignment of their front office, a pitching coach that quit midseason, devastating injuries to Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki, among others, and an uncertain future for Tracy.

``Ace'' acquisition Jeremy Guthrie, who was brought in to eat up innings, went 1-5 and flirted with a 10.00 ERA at Coors Field before being traded to Kansas City for Jonathan Sanchez, who posted an 8.59 ERA at home.

Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa and Juan Nicasio, who are expected to anchor the rotation in 2013, spent most of this season on rehab. And the two prized prospects the Rockies obtained from Cleveland in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, both went 2-9 overall and 1-5 at home.

The Rockies were so desperate that they adopted a four-man rotation and a 75-pitch limit for two months and placed Geivett, the assistant general manager, in the clubhouse while GM Dan O'Dowd refocused his energies on the minor leagues.

There were a few bright spots, like youngsters Jordan Pacheco, D.J. LeMahieu, Jose Rutledge and Wilin Rosario, who logged a lot more innings behind the plate than planned because of Ramon Hernandez's injury-plagued season.

Rosario's power - 28 homers - was offset somewhat by 20 passed balls, hurting his chances of winning NL Rookie of the Year.

The loss of Helton to a hip injury and of Tulowitzki to a groin injury for most of the summer and Michael Cuddyer to a right oblique strain in August softened the Rockies' lineup and its chances of weathering all that poor pitching.

``That was the hardest part, all the injuries,'' slugger Carlos Gonzalez said. ``It's hard for any team when you lose your shortstop, your right fielder, you first baseman, your top three guys in the rotation. That's hard.''

Gonzalez said he's so eager to get this bad taste out of his mouth that ``I won't rest. Maybe a couple of weeks and then start working again, start thinking about next year, about being better as a player and make this team better.''

It'll take a lot more than the determination of their All-Star outfielder.

The Rockies will look for upgrades all over but they also hope all the innings logged by their youngsters will pay off next season.

``This is a better place to learn. There is no better,'' Pacheco said. ``The game is quicker and comes at you fast. I think we've all taken our bumps and bruises this year and know what to expect next year.''

The rebuilding of the Rockies, whether or not Tracy is in charge - he's under contract for next season at $1.4 million - will most likely begin with changes to the coaching staff and then the front office will focus on fixing the pitching problems, then a porous defense and a lack of run production.

``It's going to be an interesting offseason,'' Tulowitzki said. ``Obviously, what we had in this locker room did not work. With that being said, in professional sports there are usually changes. ... And there should be moves made after a year like this.''

Tracy is hoping he'll still be in charge after this weekend so he can get a chance to turn things around next year.

``There's been a lot that's taken place here this year, yet ... we don't lose baseball games from a lack of effort or intensity,'' Tracy said. ``The growth that has taken place in relation to several of the younger players on this team, offense is not a problem here. And it won't be next year. It won't be a problem if there's nothing added; that's how good these young players are.''

The pitching, now that's another story.

The Rockies have to retool their rotation and hope Pomeranz and White become the workhorses they envisioned when they parted with Jimenez, who tamed Coors Field like no one has since.

``There's been a lot of guys who have become special pitchers who were 2-9 after five months of service time at the major league level,'' Tracy said. ``You go to the Atlanta Braves staff with (Steve) Avery and (Tom) Glavine. Go back and look how they did their first five months and it became a year after year after year type thing.''

Veteran position players such as Cuddyer and Dexter Fowler could be trade bait as the Rockies seek more starting pitching so they can avoid another free-fall in 2013.

``You don't get an opportunity to play baseball in the month of October if you screw it up in April, May, June,'' Tracy said. ``And that's what we did.''

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Follow AP Sports Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter:http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

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Associated Press

After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

The Redskins are very thin at running back right now. 

Today at practice the Redskins had three running backs on the field. Rob Kelley and Kapri Bibbs are fully healthy while Chris Thompson is limited as he recovers from a broken leg he suffered last November. 

Injuries have hit the depth at running back. The most recent casualty was Martez Carter, who was waived with an injury designation. 

The move was surprising since Carter had some good runs against the Jets during their preseason game on Thursday and he did not appear to be injured during the game. 

Coach Jay Gruden did not offer any more details as to what the injury to Carter was, only that he is no longer with the team. 

Also sidelined with lower leg injuries are Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall. According to media reports, Perine will be out one week and Marshall for two to four. Gruden would not confirm the timelines, saying only that they are undergoing treatment and the timetable for their returns in unknown. 

The Redskins will bring in some running backs to try out on Sunday. They will need at least one and probably two in order to get through the upcoming preseason game against the Broncos on Friday. 

In other personnel moves, the Redskins waived linebacker Jeff Knox and defensive end Jalen Wilkerson and signed offensive tackle Kendall Calhoun, defensive back Darius Hillary, and wide receiver Allenzae Staggers. 

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

 

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Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

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NBC Sports Washington/USATSI

Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

After lifting the Stanley Cup just over two months ago, something else very exciting has happened in Alex Ovechkin's life.

Saturday morning, Nastya and Alex Ovechkin welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Sergei, after Ovechkin's late brother. 

Ovi spent this week practicing at the Florida Panthers' facilities with other NHL players living in the surrounding area.

After the Cup's visit to Moscow, Nastya and Alex settled down at their apartment in Miami, staying put and preparing for the birth. 

The couple were married two years ago but didn't hold an official ceremony until July of last year. The celebration was as lavish as you'd expect.

She revealed her pregnancy shortly after the Cup victory, and has kept us up to date on life this summer via Instagram. A few weeks ago, the Ovechkins graced HELLO! Russia magazine, showing off Nastya's baby bump among their glamour shots.

💛 @aleksandrovechkinofficial #hello #hellorussia @hello__ru

A post shared by Nastasiya Ovechkina (@nastyashubskaya) on

Congratulations to Ovi and Nastya, and all our best wishes for health and happiness!

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