Capitals

Tino Martinez hired as Marlins' hitting coach

Tino Martinez hired as Marlins' hitting coach

MIAMI (AP) Tino Martinez has been hired as the Miami Marlins' hitting coach and will work with new manager Mike Redmond.

Martinez, a first baseman in the majors for 16 years, has been a New York Yankees special assistant and worked an analyst for the YES Network. Martinez had a career average of .271 with 339 home runs for the Yankees, Mariners, Cardinals and Rays.

Redmond landed his first big league managerial job last week when he was hired to replace Ozzie Guillen. The Marlins this year batted .244, the worst average in franchise history, and scored the fewest runs per game since their first year in 1993.

Eduardo Perez was the Marlins' hitting coach in 2012. Perez will be Houston's bench coach next season.

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All signs point to T.J. Oshie returning to Capitals lineup vs. Red Wings, not official yet

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USA TODAY Sports

All signs point to T.J. Oshie returning to Capitals lineup vs. Red Wings, not official yet

ARLINGTON, Va. -- As the Washington Capitals took to the ice Monday at MedStar Capitals Iceplex for the first time since returning from a three-game road trip, T.J. Oshie joined them, but he did so wearing a red jersey. The color Oshie was wearing is significant not because of his fashion but because of what it means for his status.

A light blue jersey indicates a player is a non-contact participant in practice. The fact that Oshie was in his regular red means that he was full-go on Monday, and it is a good sign that he could be able to return for Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.

Oshie has missed 11 games after suffering a concussion after a takedown by Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey on Nov. 14. It was the fifth concussion of Oshie’s career.

“I feel like each time it gets more and more frustrating,” Oshie said to reporters after practice. “But I stuck with it. Some good workouts and skates with [strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish] and [Brooks Orpik] was here all week, so I had some company. I had a lot of support from the guys behind me asking me, texting me seeing how I'm doing, so those kind of things kind of get you through it. Plus, the holidays, family in town, I spent time with the girls at home and [my] wife. It was a good little break.”

When an injury keeps a player from skating, their typical progression starts goes from off-ice workouts, to on-ice workouts, to being a limited participant in practice, to a full participant and then to returning to the game lineup. Oshie had been skating with Nemish during the team’s road trip and has evidently progressed to the point that he was able to step right into practice on Monday without the need for the non-contact jersey.

Not only was Oshie a full-participant, but head coach Todd Reirden was seemingly not concerned about easing him back in. Oshie skated on the top line alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. He also took part in drills on the team’s first power-play unit.

“He's a special player in all aspects of the game, but certainly in the power play for us in that diamond spot,” Reirden said. “He does a really good job on the entries in terms of controlled entries. When we do have to dump pucks in, he's great on recoveries. His work ethic and instincts to be able to win puck battles, I just think it increases our whole intensity of the way our power play recovers pucks.”

Everything that happened on the ice Monday was a positive sign for Oshie’s recovery, but both he and Reirden said only that he was a “possibility” to play in Tuesday’s game.

“I've been hoping to play for a week,” Oshie said. “I'm hoping to play [Tuesday]. We'll see, see what the training staff says, see what the doctors say, see what the coaches say.”

Reirden added: “The plan was for him to go through practice today, and we'll see how he does later this afternoon and re-evaluate [Tuesday] morning as he continues to get closer to getting cleared to play."

Based on how Oshie progressed directly to full practice and by how much he was utilized during practice, every indication is that Oshie will be back in the lineup Tuesday at Capital One Arena.

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The Redskins' offense is a mess on its opening drive and a total disaster coming out of halftime

The Redskins' offense is a mess on its opening drive and a total disaster coming out of halftime

A game-opening drive in the NFL represents a chance to capitalize on days of practice, film study and play-scripting by moving the ball and scoring points early in that week's contest.

A game-opening drive for the 2018 Redskins represents, for the most part, a chance for fans to show up a few minutes late if needed and still not feel like they missed much of anything.

Through 13 games this season, Washington's offense has generated two touchdowns on their first possessions and punted on the other 11. Seven of those possessions have been three-and-outs, which is a very discouraging number considering a lot of the plays they're running are, in theory, what Jay Gruden and his staff feel most confident in.

Those clunky starts are a major factor in the team ranking 26th in the league in first quarter scoring at 3.7 points per game.

The group is getting worse as the year progresses, too. The initial drives in their past seven games have all ended with Tress Way kicking the ball to the opponent. The last time they first took the ball and scored points was Week 7 at home against the Cowboys.

Still have an appetite for some painful stats? Perfect, because the Redskins are awful coming out of halftime.

Their 13 possessions to begin the third quarter have resulted in one field goal, two turnovers and 10 punts. The 'Skins' offense has had 13 chances to come out of the locker room after resetting and making adjustments from the first half of action. Those 13 chances have added up to three points.

Let's repeat something: The Redskins are awful coming out of halftime. The dreadful beginnings to the second half help explain why only the Cardinals are averaging fewer third quarter points (1.8) than Washington (2.2) so far this season.

As a whole, the offense has been a struggle for the Burgundy and Gold week in and week out. And, sure, you can blame some of those struggles on the injuries that have broken down the O-line and quarterbacks.

So you can put a fraction of the abysmal first and second half opening-drive production on the injuries, too. But only a fraction.

The vast majority of the blame should be directed toward the players and coaches. Whether it's the former not executing or setting the effort back with penalties, the latter not being creative enough or attentive enough to come up with a better plan, or a horrific combination of the two, the team is stumbling far too often when it should be at its most prepared.

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