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Seattle's Sherman continues to wait on appeal

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Seattle's Sherman continues to wait on appeal

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Richard Sherman hung around the Seattle Seahawks locker room on Wednesday getting ready for practice as though it was any other week during the regular season.

But it wasn't typical. Not with the looming decision about his appeal of a four-game suspension where no one seems to know a timetable for a decision that could have a significant impact on just how deep the hottest team in the NFC can go in the playoffs.

``It's not weird at all. Either the truth is going to come out or it's not,'' Sherman said. ``That's pretty much all that it comes down to.''

It's an uneasy situation for the Seahawks. They don't want to go blindly into the season finale against St. Louis with the firm belief their star cornerback - who was surprisingly left off the NFC Pro Bowl roster - would be available.

Sherman practiced Wednesday, which could be his final practice until very late in the postseason or early in the 2013 season. Seattle coach Pete Carroll planned to rotate additional players in at Sherman's spot in case the awaited decision on his appeal for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances is upheld this week.

``We don't know what's going to happen, so we're not going to go blindly into it. We're going to get our guys in the rotation a little differently,'' Carroll said. ``It won't change much though. He's going to get some work today, and the other guys will get work as well, but we have it in our minds that we have to be preparing for that.''

Sherman missed two practices last week while he traveled to make his appeal. News first broke of the failed tests by Sherman and teammate Brandon Browner after Seattle's 24-21 loss to Miami on Nov. 25.

Sherman's appeal was based on errors in the chain of custody of his sample and that there were mistakes made by the tester. He's been outspoken in believing the NFL is not following proper procedures as laid out in the collective bargaining agreement.

Sherman reiterated those thoughts Wednesday and expressed a desire to pursue his case further in court, even though it wouldn't help him get back on the field this season if the suspension is upheld.

``I can't get back playing regardless. I can just sue the league, and that's probably what I'm going to do if they suspend me,'' Sherman said.

If Sherman's suspension is upheld he will go out with one of the finest games of his career. The emerging star grabbed his seventh interception of the season, was credited with four passes defensed, and returned a blocked field goal 90 yards for a touchdown in the Seahawks' 42-13 rout of San Francisco on Sunday night.

According to STATS, LLC, Sherman is tied with Pittsburgh's Keenan Lewis for the NFL lead with 23 passes defensed. He is tied for second in interceptions, and his burn rate - amount of catches allowed versus times targeted - of 46.2 percent is the seventh-lowest in the league for cornerbacks targeted at least 60 times.

Those numbers make his Pro Bowl omission puzzling. But players who test positive for PED violations aren't eligible to be on the Pro Bowl roster. Even before the Pro Bowl rosters were announced, Sherman didn't seem to care about getting a trip to Hawaii.

``It don't mean nothing,'' Sherman said. ``I bet you I'll be on the first-team All-Pro. That means more to me.''

Seattle still has one more week before Browner returns from his suspension, and its secondary depth could be severely tested this week if Sherman's suspension is upheld. Walter Thurmond, the first to step in for Browner, has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury and didn't practice Wednesday. Veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant went through a full practice Wednesday for the first time since before Week 13, but has mostly played covering slot receivers in passing situations this season and not on the outside.

If Sherman's suspension is upheld and Thurmond isn't healthy, the Seahawks could be starting rookie sixth-round pick Jeremy Lane and second-year Byron Maxwell against the Rams.

Lane has played well the past two weeks starting in place of Thurmond. Both Buffalo and San Francisco went after Lane on their first offensive plays and both times the rookie was right there in coverage.

``He's just not scared to mix it up with anybody. He doesn't care,'' Sherman said of Lane. ``You're not just about to challenge him and expect him to back down. He's not going to back down from anybody. That's kind of what you get from Jeremy Lane.''

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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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