Disgraced Olympian quits the sport

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Disgraced Olympian quits the sport

From Comcast SportsNet
LONDON (AP) -- A Chinese badminton star is apparently quitting the sport after she was one of eight players disqualified from the doubles tournament at the London Olympics for trying to lose. A comment on a verified account for Yu Yang on the Tencent microblogging service late Wednesday read: "This is my last game. Farewell Badminton World Federation. Farewell my dear badminton." Yu's retirement could not be immediately confirmed with Chinese badminton officials. In China, the lives of top athletes are closely controlled by sports officials, including decisions on retirement. Yu and Wang Xiaoli were one of four doubles teams which appeared to play poorly on purpose to secure a more favorable position in the next phase of the event. Two teams from South Korea and another from Indonesia were disqualified from competition but allowed to stay at the games -- a step lighter than expulsion, the penalty for positive drug tests. It appeared to be the first mass disqualification in Olympic history. The feeble play was obvious to fans who attended the matches Tuesday night at Wembley Arena -- they chanted, "Off! Off! Off!" -- and to incredulous television broadcasters and viewers watching around the world. "They're serving fault and fault! They are just hitting the ball into the net!" the BBC's David Mercer said in disbelief. "They are both trying to lose, and that is unforgivable. This is the Olympic Games." The Chinese players set off a domino effect when they tried to rig the draw after China's second-seeded pair unexpectedly lost to a Danish team in the morning. The South Koreans and Indonesians, wanting to avoid a tough opponent as well, followed suit in later matchups. Teams blamed the introduction of a round-robin stage rather than a straight knockout tournament as the cause of the problem. The round-robin format can allow results to be manipulated to earn an easier matchup in the knockout round. None of the players was made available for interviews. Yu went on state television in China to apologize "to all the badminton fans and friends over yesterday's game, because we did not comply with the Olympic spirit, and did not deliver a match with our true level to the audience, the fans and the friends." In a statement released to Xinhua, the Chinese Olympic delegation criticized its players' actions. "The behavior by Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli on court violated the Olympics ideal and the spirit of fair play. The Chinese delegation feels distressed over this matter," the delegation said. Xinhua also reported Chinese badminton coach Li Yongbo apologized and accepted blame for the scandal. "As the head coach, I owe the fans and the Chinese an apology," Li said. "Chinese players failed to demonstrate their fighting spirit of the national team. It's me to blame."

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Trumbo says facing first time pitchers can be tricky

Trumbo says facing first time pitchers can be tricky

BALTIMORE---For the fourth time in their last six games on Tuesday night, the Orioles are facing a pitcher, Reynaldo Lopez, who’s facing them for the first time.

A.J. Cole, who was a last minute replacement on Monday night for Stephen Strasburg, also was seeing the Orioles for the last time. 

Houston’s Joe Musgrove and Houston’s Mike Fiers were the others. 

Mark Trumbo isn’t sure who has the advantage in a first time matchup.

“You never quite know. I think it’s probably going to be about even over the long time,” Trumbo said.

“It can be a tall task sometimes. On the flip side, they don’t know much about you, either. They don’t exactly what you’re looking for or how you’re going. You can also jump on them early at times.” 

Trumbo said the most important thing is to talk with teammates.

“What’s really key is for hitters to share as much information. The first couple of guys that get a look at him, just give something on him. Is it sneaky? Do you see it well? Do you not see it well? How’s the movement?” Trumbo said.

He doesn’t watch much video. 

“It’s all subjective. It’s guy to guy. I don’t watch hardly any. I don’t get anything from it. The only thing I’ll get sometimes are you’ll see what guys are having success in what part of the field sometimes,” Trumbo said. 

“I like to see it with my own eyes and make some mental notes as we go.” 

On. Aug. 13, the Orioles faced Madison Bumgarner for the first time, a pitcher most of them hadn’t seen, but Trumbo had. With a pitcher that good, is there anything that he can offer someone who hasn’t faced him.

“Maybe it’s just enough to foul a pitch off or lay a pitch off in the dirt,” Trumbo said. “You’re just trying to arm guys with as much as you can. If you’ve seen someone before, at least give them a picture of what it’s like in there against the guy.” 

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Joe Ross takes big step in rehab, is okay with returning to Nats in bullpen

Joe Ross takes big step in rehab, is okay with returning to Nats in bullpen

It turns out Joe Ross may be closer to returning than originally thought, or at least closer than it seemed on Monday. On Tuesday, Ross took a big step in his recovery from right shoulder inflammation by throwing a bullpen session in Baltimore at Camden Yards.

That was a step Ross waited weeks to take and, though it was only about 30 pitches, the right-hander felt great coming out of it and now has a potential return in much clearer focus.

"The head trainer, Paul Lessard, he came in and gave me the thumbs up," manager Dusty Baker said. "I know Joe has been champing at the bit and it was very successful. He said he didn't feel anything. Hopefully we can put him back to work here pretty soon."

"It feels really good, that's why I'm pretty excited," Ross said. "I finally got to throw off the mound and it's feeling good. Hopefully it feels good from here."

Ross hopes to throw another bullpen session this week and then increase his workload up from there. As for when he will return, that has not been determined.

"I don't know exactly how long, but I want to get back on the mound as soon as possible. I'm feeling better. That's what I'm working towards," he said.

Ross, though, could return sooner than under usual circumstances, as the Nats may be inclined to skip a minor league rehab assignment and instead have him rejoin them as a reliever. He could build his innings that way and eventually return to the rotation some time in September.

"It makes sense," Ross said. "I know the season's coming to an end for the minor league side. So if that what we've got to do, that's what we've got to do. I mean, I'd just be happy being out there pitching. I'll take whatever role I can get for now. But obviously want to try to get back to starting in September, mid-September. That's the goal."

Baker thinks having Ross pitch out of the bullpen could also come in handy later on.

"We're in the middle of a pennant race. I haven't talked to Mike [Rizzo] about it or anything, I just talked to Joe about it. I just didn't want him surprised that that was the case. We want him if possible, if he's ready, on the playoff roster. That's always a possibility for a fourth or fifth starter to be in the bullpen, anyways. So, we'll see. We'll see how his progress comes," he said.

Ross hasn't pitched in the majors since July 2. He hasn't pitched in a game since July 30, when he appeared with the Triple-A Syracuse.

[RELATED: Nats place Strasburg on DL with elbow injury]

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NL East: Noah Syndergaard wants people to spell his name correctly

NL East: Noah Syndergaard wants people to spell his name correctly

One of the New York Mets' top starting pitchers wants you to know something: His name is spelled Noah Syndergaard. That's S-y-n-d-e-r-g-a-a-r-d. 

Apparently, it's something that's been tripping up a lot of folks lately, and the 23-year-old right hander has had enough. Syndergaard posted a tweet Monday calling out the MLB Shop Mets team store for selling jerseys that ready "SYNEDGAARD" on the back. 

https://twitter.com/Noahsyndergaard/status/767817968067551232?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

As you can imagine, he was less than amused. What's even more, this is the second time in consecutive months that there's been an error. Check out the tweet below at the All-Star Game. 

https://twitter.com/Noahsyndergaard/status/752927425151930368?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Luckily, the nickname "Thor" has caught on in the Big Apple. Maybe they should sell jerseys with that on the back instead.