Ex-Pro Bowler can't hold back his tears

Ex-Pro Bowler can't hold back his tears

From Comcast SportsNetWASHINGTON (AP) -- Captain Chaos fought to hold back the tears.Chris Cooley, the longest-tenured player on the Washington Redskins and easily the team's most colorful character, was saying goodbye."I appreciate everything," Cooley said with a sniffle, his voice starting to waver. "I'm sorry. I'm a baby. I appreciate everything you guys have done for me. I guess, finally, just to say thank you to our fans. It's been great. Thank you."The Redskins released their two-time Pro Bowl tight end Tuesday, a few hours after creating some special teams chaos of their own by cutting kicker Graham Gano and replacing him with Billy Cundiff.Talk of field goal percentages quickly gave way to the stunning realization that No. 47 will no longer occupy his customary space near the back corner of the locker room."He helped me get comfortable with this team & this offense. He is a legend in my mind and will be missed. Thank You Chris Cooley," tweeted rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III -- and he's only known Cooley a few months.Coach Mike Shanahan said the decision came down to a matter of playing time. Fred Davis, who had a breakout year in 2011, has emerged as the new starting tight end, relegating Cooley to utility duty as a backup at both fullback and tight end during preseason."He wants to start. He wants to play," Shanahan said. "And we'll see if he gets that opportunity."Cooley did not take questions at the end of his impromptu speech to reporters. He said recently that he wanted to start, but that he was also at the point of his career that he wanted to win after missing the playoffs in six of his eight NFL seasons.Shanahan said Cooley's release wasn't about health or money. Cooley appeared in only five games last season after trying to play before sufficiently recovering from offseason left knee surgery."I thought he practiced well, he played well (in preseason), and I think he's got an opportunity to start in the National Football League," Shanahan said. "I think he's healthy."Cooley, whose Pro Bowl seasons came in 2007 and 2008, was also one of the most expensive players on the team, due 3.8 million in salary this year and 3.85 million in 2013."We never talked about a reduction," Shanahan said. "We never talked about anything like that. I'd never do that to a guy like him."Shanahan conceded that cutting Cooley is a "risky move" because Davis would be lost for the year for another violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. Davis was suspended for the final four games of last season after failing a drug test.The coach didn't rule out having Cooley return if the 30-year-old tight end can't find a suitable team elsewhere.For his part, Cooley seemed unsure what to do with himself."I have every belief that I can play football," he said. "I have every belief that I can be not only a productive player but a starter in this league. I'm very confident in my abilities to continue to play the game. It would be a tough decision for me to put on another jersey. It's something that I really never had to imagine, so for now, I'll take some time and make sure what I do in the future is exactly what I want to do."Gano's release came one day after he appeared to win the kicking job, and two days after Cundiff was cut by the Baltimore Ravens.Gano had stood at his locker on Monday feeling excited and looking forward to the season after his lone competition in training camp, Neil Rackers, was sent packing when the Redskins made their first round of cuts.But Gano's numbers have never been impressive. He has made 73.8 percent of his field goal attempts since joining the Redskins (No. 25 in the AP Pro32) late in the 2009 season, the second-worst rate in the league over the past three seasons.Gano, 25, missed 11 attempts in 2010, tied for most in the NFL. He had a league-high 10 misses last season, although five of those were blocked. He beat out Rackers without attempting a field goal in the Redskins' preseason games, coming out ahead based on his performance during practice.Cundiff's statistics are only marginally better. The 32-year-old kicker has a career field goal rate of 76.7 with the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore. He joined the Ravens during the 2009 season and went to the Pro Bowl season in 2010, going 26 for 29, but last season he missed a potential game-tying, 32-yarder against the New England Patriots in the waning seconds of the AFC title game.Cundiff also has limited range. He is 5 for 19 over his career from 50-plus yards, including just 1 for 6 last season. He was cut Sunday by the Ravens, who opted to go with rookie Justin Tucker. The Redskins called as soon as Cundiff cleared waivers."It obviously was an interesting situation, and I think there's really no other way to put it," Cundiff said. "For me, obviously, a tug of emotions. When you start to see what I accomplished in Baltimore, and then to have the door kind of shown to me a little bit earlier than I thought -- then to have a team come up right away and say they'd like to have my services and they were going to make a move."Shanahan didn't offer much of an explanation for his kicker change."We just thought that was the best move for us at this time," the coach said.

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Behind Gausman, Orioles win round 2 in 'Beltway Battle'

Behind Gausman, Orioles win round 2 in 'Beltway Battle'

BALTIMORE—Now that Chris Tillman is headed to the disabled list, Kevin Gausman will be more important than ever to the Orioles.

On Tuesday night, Gausman showed just how important he can be with six shutout innings against the Washington Nationals.

With Dylan Bundy, Yovani Gallardo, Wade Miley and now Ubaldo Jimenez in the rotation, Gausman’s role will be much more prominent. 

Gausman’s second straight win, the first time he’s done that in more than two years, gave the Orioles an 8-1 win over the Nationals, their second straight win in the Battle of the Beltways before 26,697 at Oriole Park. 

It was the first time Gausman won two straight since June 2014 when he won three in a row. In his next start, he’ll try and forget his road woes when he faces the New York Yankees on Sunday. Gausman hasn’t won on the road since Aug. 17, 2014.

He knows that Tillman will be hard to replace. 

“It’s going to be huge, especially this time of year. Every game matters from here on out, especially in a tight race in the east. We’re sad to miss him, but hopefully a little bit of rest will get him to come back and he’ll be ready to go,” Gausman said. 

Dylan Bundy dazzled the Nationals on Monday, and Gausman was effective enough to hold the lead the Orioles gave him.

“You could say there were a lot of deep counts and a lot of pitches in three or four or five innings, but you can’t drop your guard against those guys. They have so many landmines through their order that you’ve just got to keep grinding. We’ll take the finished product. He gave us six shutout innings and Kevin wanted to go another inning. I feel good, knock on wood, about the way he and Dylan feel right now this time of year,” manager Buck Showalter said. 

The Orioles (69-56) knocked out Reynaldo Lopez (2-2) out in the third after six runs scored. 

Mark Trumbo, who hadn’t had a hit that wasn’t a home run since Aug. 11, scored Adam Jones in the first on an RBI single. Trumbo, the only player this year who had seven straight hits that were home runs, was out at second. 

Matt Wieters’ double and Jones’ single gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead in the second. 

Three more runs scored in the third on a Jonathan Schoop RBI double and a two-run error with the bases loaded by Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy. 

Lopez left after the error.

“I think we just waited him out. Lopez, the guy has electric stuff, sitting at 96 to 98 with a sharp curveball, good changeup. We just made him work, made him throw strikes, got to favorable counts. He's got good stuff, so be sure to pay attention to him in his future,” Jones said. 

Showalter won three replay challenges in the first three innings. Twice, Washington center fielder Trea Turner was ruled safe at second on a stolen base, and twice the call was overturned. 

In the bottom of the third, Jones beat out an infield single after review. 

“It certainly helped. We needed each one of them. It kept any momentum from getting going,” Showalter said. 

The Orioles are now 19-for-32 on replay challenges. Their three correct challenges equal the major league season high. 

Jones ended up with four singles, equaling his career high. 

“We know how to hit also. We've got a lot of professional hitters here who know how to hit with men in scoring position, not just homers,” Jones said. 

Gausman (5-10) left after six.

“It was good. I got away with some pitches early, and had some balls go foul. That was pretty big. I didn’t necessarily pitch great, but it’s just one of those days where you try to keep grinding and look up and somehow, I didn’t give up a run,” Gausman said.

Vance Worley allowed a run in the seventh on four singles. Danny Espinosa’s RBI single was the only run for the Nationals (73-52). 

Chris Davis hit his 30th home run of the season in the eighth. It’s the fourth time in his Orioles career he’s hit 30.  

Worley worked three innings for his first career save. 

NOTES: The Orioles are planning to visit Walter Reed National Military Center on Wednesday. … Wade Miley (7-10, 5.58) faces Tanner Roark (13-6, 2.87) on Wednesday at Nationals Park. 
 

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Nats fall on wrong side of three challenges by Orioles manager Showalter

Nats fall on wrong side of three challenges by Orioles manager Showalter

Manager Dusty Baker is new to MLB's system of replay challenges as the first-year skipper of the Washington Nationals. There have been times this season where the rules have helped Baker and his team. Tuesday night was not one of those times.

Buck Showalter of the Orioles matched an MLB season-high with three successful manager challenges in the Nats' 8-1 loss at Camden Yards. Two of them pulled Trea Turner off the basepaths. One of them ruled Adam Jones safe to extend an inning.

The two Turner ones hurt the most, as they contributed to a long night for the Nationals offense, one in which they landed 10 hits but scored just one run. Turner was ruled out on two steal attempts at second base. One was in the first inning after he led off the game with a single. The other was in the third inning, again after he got on with a single.

Both plays featured throws by Orioles catcher Matt Wieters that were to the right of the bag, but second baseman Jonathan Schoop was able to pull the ball in and make the tag with Turner sliding past him.

"You can’t do anything if the throws are towards first base," Baker said. "They weren’t very good throws. It just happens they were very good tags. You got a 6-foot-4, long-armed second baseman, and most people don’t even get down in that position to make that tag."

Turner agreed on the throws and wished, in a sense, they were more on target.

"I just wish he would have made good throws right over the bag, I think I have a better chance that way," he said. "Throw gets taken up the line, you know he can put the tag on you a little bit faster and that's what happened tonight."

Getting Turner, one of the fastest players in baseball, into scoring position generally leads to good things. The Nats instead had him sent back to the dugout after lengthy delays while the umpires conferred with New York.

Both Baker and Turner stewed over the replay system itself as they waited. And afterwards each made their opinions clear.

"Don't care for it too much. I don't think I or we or anybody on this side has really benefit from it, so for that reason I don't really care for it," Turner said.

Baker was much more direct and descriptive.

"Number one, I just think it takes too long… they've gotta do something to correct the length of time. Maybe after 30 seconds if they're inconclusive, then come up with whatever the umpire said," Baker said.

"It sort of makes a point of why do we need umpires, if you're going to dispute everything that they say? I don't know. I'm kind of new this year to replay, but it's tough to lose three of them… To me, it doesn't make the umpires look very good. I just hope they correct this."

[RELATED: Lopez rocked as Nats suffer lopsided loss to Orioles]

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What happens next as Tillman's injury will send him to disabled list

What happens next as Tillman's injury will send him to disabled list

BALTIMORE—Chris Tillman, the Orioles winningest pitcher, is going on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. 

Tillman, who was supposed to start against Max Scherzer at Nationals Park on Thursday, will miss that start and will be eligible to return on Sept. 5. 

He received a cortisone shot on his right shoulder, but there are no plans for an MRI. 

Tillman is 15-5 with a 3.76 ERA. He first experienced discomfort on Aug. 12, the day after he won his 15th game, pitching seven innings at Oakland. 

He was bumped from a scheduled start on Aug. 17, and started on Saturday, and allowed six runs in two-plus innings against Houston. 

After the game he said he felt fine, but he tried to throw in the bullpen Tuesday afternoon, and it didn’t go well. 

MORE ORIOLES: GAUSMAN GETS 2ND STRAIGHT WIN AS O'S TOP NATIONALS

“I thought once it got loose it would really go away but it never really did, and that was my first time actually experiencing it while throwing. Last time, I was pretty sore right after my start, but after feeling it today, I’d much rather just get this behind us and get out in front of it so that way we’re not worried about it for the rest of the year,” Tillman said. 

“I would have liked to have had better results, or response, from the last outing, but it just didn’t respond very well. So we’re trying to be safe, get this thing in the rear-view mirror. That way I’m not fighting it all year. That’s probably the best way to go about it.”

Tillman hopes the DL stint, which hasn’t been announced and will be backdated to Sunday, will allow him to pitch pain-free for the last few weeks of the regular season.

“I would think so, yes, but you know what? I’m going to take it day-by-day. That’s the only thing I can do right now. Play it by ear,” Tillman said. 

“It’s tough. I don’t like it, but it is what it is. It happened, and we’ve got to get better now. I think this is the best way to go about it, and we had talked about it a little. I’d rather feel better at the end of the season rather than fighting it all year.” 

Adam Jones, who was traded with Tillman from Seattle to the Orioles in 2008, is confident the Orioles will be able to overcome his loss.

“We are going to miss him on the mound. He’s still going to be here every day. I look at it as a time for him to go heal. We are still going to keep fighting, grinding and when he comes back hopefully after the 15 days, mid-September, whenever he does, he comes back fresh and ready to make his last three or four starts in a tight race,” Jones said. 

“You can look at it both ways. I want him to heal, but I want I him to heal and get better so he definitely helps us in the final push because he’s that important to our staff.”

Ubaldo Jimenez will take Tillman's spot on Thursday in Washington.