Nationals

Vandy's Matthews returning for senior season

Vandy's Matthews returning for senior season

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) By the time Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews graduates, he'll have a chance to rewrite the record books at his school and in the Southeastern Conference.

But what he really wants is a SEC championship for the Commodores.

By returning for his senior season instead of leaving early for the NFL draft, Matthews believes Vanderbilt can win its first league title.

``I know for a fact I have the guys around me that can take this school to an SEC championship next year,'' Matthews said Sunday. ``That is the main reason why I'm staying, and I'm going to devote all my time to making sure Vanderbilt is on the podium in Georgia by season's end next year.''

Joined by his parents Roderick and Brenda as well as Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, Matthews announced his decision to stay just six days after the Commodores (9-4) wrapped up their first nine-win season since 1915 with a 38-24 victory over North Carolina State in the Music City Bowl.

``I felt like I could have (been) drafted really high and really helped out an NFL team, but we'll just wait another year to do that,'' Matthews said.

He led the SEC this season with a school-record 1,323 receiving yards, the fifth-highest total in league history. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder had 94 catches, the second-most in school and SEC history.

Matthews, a distant cousin of Jerry Rice, also has 10 career games with 100 receiving yards or more, including a school-record seven this season.

In three years, the all-SEC selection has 150 receptions for 2,282 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Matthews needs 812 yards to capture the SEC's all-time receiving record. With another monster season, he could surpass former Vanderbilt standout and current Chicago Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett for most career receptions (236) in league history.

``This is the biggest recruit that we're signing this year, getting this guy to come back,'' Franklin said. ``I don't think there is any question that Jordan was ready to make this move (to the NFL) physically and mentally. He made a really mature decision. ... He wants to continue his opportunity, refine his craft, have an opportunity to earn his degree and then take his talents to the next level.''

Matthews plans to graduate next December, so he can begin training immediately for the 2014 NFL draft. According to Franklin, Matthews will take out an insurance policy in case of injury. Matthews said the chance of a season-ending or career-threatening injury, like the one that occurred to South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, didn't weigh heavily on his mind.

``You can get hit by a bus walking outside,'' Matthews said. ``You don't worry about that stuff, man.''

Nor is he concerned with his production decreasing because of a new quarterback.

Jordan Rodgers will be gone, leaving either rising senior Austyn Carta-Samuels or redshirt freshman Patton Robinette to take over.

``Relationships are built. They don't just happen,'' Matthews said. ``We are going to be throwing every single day to the point we get the relationship together the same way me and Jordan had it. So I don't think we're going to miss a beat at all.''

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Nationals place Stephen Strasburg on the injured list

Nationals place Stephen Strasburg on the injured list

The Nationals placed Stephen Strasburg on the 10-day injured list Saturday because of carpal tunnel neuritis of the right hand. Ryne Harper will take his place on the active roster.

Strasburg was pulled from his Friday start in Baltimore after recording just two outs in the first inning. He was consistently shaking and flexing his right hand after throwing pitches. Sixteen pitches into his start, Davey Martinez and trainer Paul Lessard went to the mound to talk to Strasburg.

“I told Paul, we’re going to go out, I told him then and there, ‘I don’t want you to continue right now,’” Martinez said Friday. “I talked to him after he came out. I appreciated him trying to gut it out. But I don’t want this to become a bigger issue, you know? Something else goes wrong...He’s going to get re-evaluated here [Saturday]. We’ll know more [Saturday]. But, he’s a big part of our future. I don’t see him getting hurt anymore right now until we figure out what’s really going on.”

RELATED: Stephen Strasburg’s latest setback sends a clear signal he should be shut down

Saturday’s assessment prompted the team to place Strasburg -- who signed a seven-year, $245 million contract in the offseason -- on the injured list. He’s made two starts this season. His first lasted five innings. The second didn’t make it past one inning.

    Strasburg’s nerve problem is causing his right thumb to go numb or tingle. It is produced by a wrist impingement that the Nationals have treated with multiple cortisone shots. The issue dates all the way back to mid-July when Strasburg was preparing for the season. Rest and treatment made Strasburg and the organization think he was ready to pitch after missing his first two scheduled starts. But, the problem persisted, then increased.

    The question now is if Strasburg will come back at all in 2020. The Nationals need to balance the risk-reward of using one of the premier pitchers in the league during a 60-game season filled with odd circumstances.

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    Reds-Pirates games postponed after Cincinnati player tests positive for coronavirus

    Reds-Pirates games postponed after Cincinnati player tests positive for coronavirus

    The two remaining games in the Cincinnati Reds-Pittsburgh Pirates series has been postponed after a Reds player tested positive for coronavirus. 

    While the player who tested positive has not been disclosed, the Reds have reportedly started the contact tracing process. 

    Cincinnati thwarted the Reds, 8-1, on Friday night and the two were scheduled to play two more games on Saturday and Sunday before the positive test. 

    Now with the Reds season put on pause, the club remains stuck in limbo until further widespread testing finds the scope of the issue. Cincinnati is five and a half games back behind the NL Central's leading Chicago Cubs. 

    Major League Baseball has had a difficult time controlling the spread of COVID-19 and this is yet another example of some of the shortcomings of not playing in a bubble like some of their professional league counterparts. 

    While the past two weeks have been otherwise quiet for the MLB in terms of additional positive tests, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported there was an 18th positive test yesterday before St. Louis traveled to Chicago as the Cardinals are still playing to Chicago to play the White Sox today. St. Louis has only played five games entering the day.

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