Nationals

Timbers wrap up busy week of roster moves

Timbers wrap up busy week of roster moves

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) The Portland Timbers made a flurry of moves this week as the team prepares for next season under new head coach Caleb Porter.

Heading into its third Major League Soccer season, Portland signed goalkeeper Jake Gleeson, defender Ryan Kawulok and midfielder Rodney Wallace to new contracts. Additionally, the team exercised contract options on eight players from last season's roster, and declined the option for defender Steven Smith.

The moves came in advance of the league's re-entry draft. As expected, Portland passed on its pick in the first stage on Friday, and will have the third pick for the second stage next Friday.

Earlier this week, the Timbers acquired defender Michael Harrington from Sporting KC and midfielder Will Johnson from Real Salt Lake in other moves.

Portland is re-tooling its roster after finishing up the season 8-16-10, ranked second-to-last in Major League Soccer's Western Conference and falling far short of the team's goal to reach the playoffs.

Porter is expected to join the team later this month and his formal introduction should come after the holidays. He has been actively involved in the team's roster moves while he wraps up his tenure at Akron.

The Zips, winner of eight straight Mid-American Conference regular season titles, finished this season 18-1-3 and went to the third round of the NCAA tournament before falling to Creighton on penalty kicks. Porter finishes his career at Akron 123-18-17. He led the Zips to the school's first team national championship in any sport in 2010.

Porter replaces John Spencer, who was fired July 9 and replaced for the remainder of the season with general manager Gavin Wilkinson.

On Thursday, the team announced it had picked up the contract options on goalkeeper Joe Bendik, defenders Futty Danso and Chris Taylor, midfielders Eric Alexander, Kalif Alhassan and Sal Zizzo, and forwards Bright Dike and Brent Richards.

Players still under contract for the 2013 season include captain Jack Jewsbury, goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts; defenders David Horst, Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Hanyer Mosquera; midfielders Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe and Franck Songo'o; and forwards Kris Boyd and Sebastian Rincon.

Earlier this week the Timbers acquired the MLS Homegrown rights to defender Bryan Gallego from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for defender Kosuke Kimura and a 2013 draft pick.

Portland also sent defender Eric Brunner to Houston in exchange for allocation money.

The Timbers exchanged allocation money for Harrington, who spent six seasons in Kansas City and has 149 career matches, as well as Johnson, a Canadian who played five seasons in Salt Lake City and was an All-Star in 2009.

The team also declined options on midfielder Lovel Palmer and defender Steve Purdy.

The Timbers announced the team had sold out its season ticket allotment for 2013. The Timbers added 500 more season tickets for the coming season, but still have a waiting list of over 6,500 fans.

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Nationals sign Jake Boone, who could be MLB's first fourth-generation player

Nationals sign Jake Boone, who could be MLB's first fourth-generation player

The first fourth-generation MLB player could make his career in Washington after Jake Boone—the son, nephew, grandson and great-grandson of former players—signed with the Nationals on Saturday as an undrafted free agent.

Boone’s father, Bret, played in the majors from 1992 to 2005. His uncle, Aaron, played from 1997 to 2009 and currently manages the New York Yankees. Bret and Aaron’s father Bob and grandfather Ray played for 18 and 12 years, respectively. Ray started the family dynasty in 1948, when he made his MLB debut as a shortstop for the Cleveland Indians.

Jake, a shortstop himself, was originally selected by the Nationals in the 38th round of the 2017 MLB Draft. He instead elected to honor his commitment to Princeton, where he played a total of 72 games and hit .250 with one home run and 24 RBIs. Bob, who is 72 years old, is a vice president of player development for the Nationals and senior advisor to GM Mike Rizzo.

With the 2020 MLB Draft being shortened to five rounds as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Jake didn’t have the chance to find out if he improved his draft stock enough to earn a higher selection. But after the rules were amended to allow for an increased number of undrafted signees, he will have the opportunity to follow in his family’s footsteps and get a Boone back on a major-league roster for the first time since Aaron retired in 2009.

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Tom Haberstroh believes Wizards' Rui Hachimura should be NBA All-Rookie First Team

Tom Haberstroh believes Wizards' Rui Hachimura should be NBA All-Rookie First Team

Rui Hachimura has had an impressive rookie season, even if there were some struggles along the way. But, was his first NBA campaign impressive enough to land an NBA All-Rookie First Team nod?

According to NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh, the answer is a clear yes.

“He does, in my book he’s first-team all-rookie," Haberstroh said Sunday on NBC Sports Washington's Wizards Pregame Live.

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Haberstroh understands that Hachimura may not get the same attention as other big-name rookies such as Zion Williamson or Ja Morant, but that shouldn't take away from his body of work. Though there were some tough showings at points during the campaign, which is to be expected, Hachimura established himself as a solid scorer. 

Yet, what is more impressive to Haberstroh than the 13.4 points per game as a rookie is how Hachimura kept that scoring total despite Washington's situation. The forward was thrown right into the middle of a young roster and asked to create shots. The analyst also noted that Hachimura started playing the sport of basketball at a much later age than other rookies and he's still competing at the same level.

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Hachimura also didn't have the luxury of John Wall, a point guard who could've helped him find more shot opportunities. For times throughout the season, he was asked to be one of "the guys" in Washington, which is no easy task for a rookie. When looking at what he did and who he did it with, Haberstroh thinks the All-Rookie honor makes sense. 

“The minutes that he played, the consistency from a scoring standpoint and the fact that he didn’t have a true playmaker to work with, John Wall out for the season," Haberstroh said. “It’s really been an impressive year for Rui Hachimura and I think he’s done a very, very good job considering the environment that seemed like guys were dropping left and right.”

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