Nationals

Yu Darvish is proving to be the real deal

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Yu Darvish is proving to be the real deal

From Comcast SportsNet
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Expectations for Yu Darvish were every bit as big as the contract he signed to move from his native Japan. He continues to meet and perhaps even exceed them. Darvish pitched 7 2-3 strong innings and Adrian Beltre had a two-run homer to help the Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics 4-1 on Wednesday night. "He was very efficient and made them swing the bat," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Broke his cutter out tonight and moved his fastball around the zone." Darvish (6-1) gave up one run and four hits while striking out seven to win his sixth game in seven decisions and give a weary Rangers bullpen a rest. After giving up a run in the first, Darvish settled down and retired 11 of the last 15 batters he faced. He lowered his ERA to 2.60. The Rangers committed more than 107 million to acquire Darvish. Mike Adams struck out Johnny Gomes, who represented the tying run, for the final out in the eighth. Joe Nathan struck out the side in the ninth his eighth save. "No matter what the situation, I try to throw as many inning as I can and go as long as possible," Darvish said through an interpreter when asked if he was aware the bullpen needed some downtime after long man Scott Feldman's spot start Monday, middle man Robbie Ross and a Alexi Ogando's tireless work over the last week. "I was able to throw with less effort," Darvish said. "Getting taken out in the middle of the eighth is something that I'm not completely satisfied with." Craig Gentry and Elvis Andrus each had two hits, including run-scoring singles in a decisive fourth inning. Gentry beat out an infield single to third to score Nelson Cruz. Oakland rookie pitcher Tommy Milone (5-3) gave up four runs in seven innings, holding the Rangers' offense down until the fourth. "I thought he threw the ball extremely well," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "And really, if we get the ball over to first base on the Gentry ground ball, it's a 2-1 game. "I thought, considering it's his first time pitching here to that lineup, I don't know how he could have done much better." The Rangers sent nine players to the plate in a four-run fourth inning that was started by Josh Hamilton's infield single and Beltre's home run. Gentry and Andrus added run-scoring hits. Hamilton, who extended his hitting streak to an AL season-best 16 games, had two hits and a run scored. Beltre has tormented Oakland pitching. His homer was his ninth against the A's in the last two seasons. Josh Reddick gave Oakland a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. He struck out in his next three at-bats. "He has been as advertized," Washington said. "He's a strikeout pitcher, and he's been that." Notes: Michael Young was out of the Rangers lineup, the third consecutive day manager Ron Washington gave at least one of the regulars a break. "One more guy, then I've done everyone." That would be slugger Josh Hamilton. Washington said before the game he wasn't sure when Hamilton would get a break, and was waiting to see what happened in the game. ... Milone entered the game allowing a .175 average to batters leading off an inning, fifth lowest in the AL. ... Ogando has not allowed a run in 15 1-3 consecutive innings. He did not pitch Wedneday.

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman nearing minor league rehab assignment

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman nearing minor league rehab assignment

Over the last few weeks, the Nationals have finally started to get healthy. Slowly but surely, they’ve added stars like Juan Soto, Trea Turner, and Anthony Rendon back to their everyday lineup, and the wins have followed.

If everything goes according to plan, they could be close to adding yet another potential impact bat. This time, it’s Ryan Zimmerman.

The first baseman, who has been on the Injured List since April 28 while dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, could begin his rehab assignment as soon as this weekend, according to his manager.

Zimmerman is getting closer to full health but is still experiencing discomfort while running. During batting practice Thursday, Zimmerman resumed baseball activities, and the plan is for him to run the bases before his minor-league assignment.

"If you're going to be out there playing, you've got to be able at least score on a normal base hit if you're on second, go first to third,” Zimmerman said Thursday. “You might not have to be 100 percent on all that, but you have to do normal, everyday activities, or you're not really helping the team.”

The priority in the minors will be playing nine full innings.

"I think the biggest thing with the rehab games is just getting on your feet for nine innings so the first time you're out there for nine innings isn't here, and you can play some games and make sure it doesn't act up,” the longtime National told reporters. “Because once you're activated and once you're between those white lines, it's game on. It's more I think for Davey [Martinez]. You don't want to put him in a bad spot. If he is managing without knowing if I have restrictions or without knowing what's going to happen, that puts him in a bad spot. That's not what you want to do."

Davey Martinez has rarely had his full complement of players in 2019. Zimmerman himself has already missed 47 games.

Of course, once he returns, the Nationals will have more decisions to make. Not only do the Nationals need to find a roster spot for Zimmerman (Gerardo Parra is a candidate to be the odd man out, despite some flashes in his time in Washington), but they also need to figure out the playing time.

Matt Adams has hit with a lot of power this season, and without the DH in the National League, is limited to first base, same as Zimmerman. Howie Kendrick has been the Nationals’ second-best hitter in 2019 and is one of the best surprises in baseball, but is also limited defensively. Kendrick has more versatility, but with Brian Dozier’s recent surge (and superior defense), the Nats will likely want to keep him there. And, of course, Rendon and Turner are entrenched on the left side of the infield.

It’s something Martinez will have to figure out, he’s already begun speaking with players about what the arrangement will look like.

For right now, it’s a problem for another day, but if Zimmerman’s rehab goes well that won’t be the case much longer.

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2019 NBA Draft: Lakers take De'Andre Hunter with No. 4, will reportedly trade him to Hawks

2019 NBA Draft: Lakers take De'Andre Hunter with No. 4, will reportedly trade him to Hawks

De'Andre Hunter is a Los Angeles Laker...for now.

The Virginia star and reigning ACC Defensive of the Year was selected by the Lakers with the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft Thursday night. However, the Lakers will send that pick to the Pelicans in the agreed-to trade for Anthony Davis, New Orleans in turn reportedly trading it to the Hawks. Thus, Hunter likely ends up in Atlanta. 

If the trade goes through, Hunter will join a talented young Hawks core which already includes Trae Young and John Collins. He would bring a championship pedigree to the team, having just won an NCAA title with UVA this past season.

"Coming off a national championship, there's no better way to try to go into the NBA," Hunter told NBC Sports Washington during an interview for the I Am The Prospect series

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