Baseball's ERA leader is out for the season


Baseball's ERA leader is out for the season

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Atlanta Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy is going to have reconstructive surgery on his right elbow Thursday, and will miss the rest of the season. Manager Fredi Gonzalez made the announcement after the Braves beat the New York Yankees on Wednesday, hours after Beachy received a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews. The 25-year-old Beachy was put on the 15-day disabled list Sunday, a day after leaving a start early. He is tied for the major league lead with a 2.00 ERA and is 5-5 in 13 starts. Andrews has performed many of the ligament replacement operations known as Tommy John surgery. Recovery time for the injury normally takes 12-18 months. Jair Jurrjens will be recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to start Friday in Boston.

Buck Showalter shakes up Orioles batting order


Buck Showalter shakes up Orioles batting order

After Tuesday night’s 19 strikeout effort, it shouldn’t be a surprise that manager Buck Showalter has shaken up the Orioles lineup. 

Joey Rickard, whose average has fallen to a season low .259, is not in the starting lineup. 

Manny Machado is batting leadoff for the first time since May 7, and Jonathan Schoop has moved up to second. 

It’s the second time that Schoop has batted second in his career. The last time was on May 23, 2014. 

Pedro Alvarez is playing third and Hyun Soo Kim is in left field. 

Machado has led off five times this year, and he’s batting .227 without an RBI while he’s hitting .324 batting second.

But, he’s been slumping, and perhaps with Adam Jones, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo skidding, Machado batting second feels he has to do too much with those three immediately behind him. 

Kim, who has a .379 batting average, is just 2-for-14 (.143) in May. 

2015-16 Season in Review: Mike Weber


2015-16 Season in Review: Mike Weber

With the Capitals’ 2015-16 season now in the rearview mirror, we continue with our numerical player-by-player roster analysis.

No. 6 Mike Weber

Age: 28 (turns 29 on Dec. 16)

Games: 45 (10 with Caps, 35 with Buffalo)

Goals: 1 (with Buffalo)

Assists: 4 (with Buffalo)

Points: 5

Plus-minus: Plus-2 (minus-1 with Caps)

Penalty minutes: 60 (28 with Caps)

Time on ice: 15:28 (13:58 with Caps)

Playoff stats: 2 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-1, 0 PIM, 9:51

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent ($2 million salary in 2015-16)

Mike Weber will remember his short stint in Washington as one of the best experiences of his NHL career. Caps fans may not.

Acquired from the Buffalo Sabres for a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft, Weber’s final act as a member of the Capitals was a crushing one.

It came in Game 4 in Pittsburgh, a game in which the Penguins were without suspended defenseman Kris Letang and the Capitals were one win away from tying the series. With 2:34 gone in overtime, Conor Sheary threw a puck toward the net. Weber blocked it on his backhand, but as the puck trickled away from him he jabbed at it, sending it right onto the stick of Patric Hornqvist. The Penguins’ right wing snapped a shot between the legs of Braden Holtby to give the Penguins a 3-2 win and a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Weber, who appeared in only one other playoff game for the Caps – a series-clinching Game 6 win in Philadelphia -- never played another shift for the Capitals. And as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, there’s a good chance he never will again.

But that didn’t stop Weber from raving about the Capitals and how close he thinks they are to winning the first championship in team history.

“Obviously, it’s a pretty special group,” Weber told reporters on breakup day. “We didn’t accomplish what we wanted to accomplish, but for myself, being in a situation where I was somewhere for so long and to come in and be welcomed by this group was pretty special.

“What this group was able to do and accomplish while I was here before (the playoffs,) it was a record-setting year. But obviously it’s disappointing that we’re talking to you guys right now.”

Weber spent his entire eight-year NHL career in Buffalo before coming to the Capitals in a trade deadline deal. He played in 10 of the Capitals’ final 24 games of the regular season and just two of their 12 playoff games, filling in admirably as a no-frills, 6-foot-2, 212-pounder. It was during his two months with the Capitals that Weber saw something he had never experienced in his eight years with the Sabres.     

“You don’t say this too often,” he said. “I’ve played on teams where guys haven’t been close and you know some guys aren’t going to battle every night. You’ve got some guys on board and you’ve got some guys not.

“Coming in here and seeing the way this locker room is – there was stuff away from the scenes that (media) don’t really get to see. This is a special group, and a good thing going forward is a lot of this group is going to be together and can hopefully get it done in the future.

“But again, I felt privileged and honored that I was able to wear a Washington Capitals jersey this year and be able to play some games for this team and try to do what I can when I did.”

The Capitals have six defensemen under contract for next season – John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, Karl Alzner, Brooks Orpik, Taylor Chorney and Nate Schmidt – and another (Dmitry Orlov) they expect to re-sign as a restricted free agent. With prospects like Tyler Lewington, Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos and Jonas Siegenthaler knocking on the door, it’s pretty clear Weber will hope to catch on with another NHL team through free agency. July 1 will mark his first time as an unrestricted free agent.  

“I’ve done my job, I’ve played,” He said. “I’ve got a body of work and now it’s time to kind of let the pieces fall. I’d love to be back in Washington. I’d love to be back playing here with this group of guys, but it’s a business and you’ve got to accept that and be patient and see what the summer brings.”

From a personal standpoint, Weber said he was excited to be reuniting with his family in Buffalo, from where he left shortly after his wife gave birth to the couple’s second child in late February.

“I’ve got a great family and two great kids that I get to go home to this summer and make sure I’m ready to play, wherever that may be,” Weber said. “I’m looking forward to getting home. Obviously, it is under terrible circumstances, but it’ll be nice to get home to the kids and my wife.”

Redskins teammates already putting Jordan Reed in elite class


Redskins teammates already putting Jordan Reed in elite class

Jordan Reed is expected to be front-and-center for the Redskins' offense in 2016, and with good reason.

The athletic tight end had his best season as a pro in 2015, hauling in 87 catches for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. Reed was also the healthiest he's been since he entered the league in 2012.

The organization has made it clear that Reed is a key cog in their machine, signing him to a five-year, $50-million contract extension earlier in the month

Simply put, Reed is a matchup nightmare. He is part of the new breed of tight ends: Physical freaks with uncanny athleticism and unparalleled agility for someone of that stature.

But where Reed really stands out is in his route-running.

Reed's route-running isn't just good, it's great.

Former Maryland standout and two-time Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis was signed by the Redskins this offseason to provide guidance and depth to the position. He's had very little time to work with Reed, but it's clear to him that Reed's ability to run routes isn't just the best among tight ends, but the best among every pass-catcher in the NFL.

"I think Jordan Reed runs routes better than the best wide receivers in the National Football League," Davis told reporters following OTAs on Wednesday. "Route-running is his super power."

It may be hard to fathom given the type of season Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown had a year ago, or just how easy Cincinnati's A.J. Green and Atlanta's Julio Jones makes it look. On top of that Reed has to be compared to Seattle's Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. But the praise coming from a standout tight end like Davis should be evident to just how good Reed is. But Davis isn't the only teammate effusive in praise.

Kirk Cousins looked Reed's way often last season, and very rarely did the decision to do so end up in an incompletion. During the last four games of the season, in which the Redskins went 4-0 and locked up an NFC East championship, Cousins threw to Reed 31 times, and Reed caught all but two of the passes. 

When asked if Reed still needs to improve, Cousins was quite honest. "Does he have to improve a lot?" he quipped at the pool of reporters at the Redskins' facility.

"Well, he was pretty good last year."