The knuckleballing Chelsea Baker threw BP to the Rays yesterday

The knuckleballing Chelsea Baker threw BP to the Rays yesterday

We first met Chelsea Baker four years ago when she was a little leaguer. Now she's 17 and pitching to the Tampa Bay Rays

Virginia Tech to hold four satellite camps

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USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech to hold four satellite camps

The hot topic around college football this offseason has been satellite camps and now the Hokies are getting into the mix. Head coach Justin Fuente announced on Tuesday that Virginia Tech will have four satellite camps over the summer, two will take place in key regions in Virginia while the other two will be out of state in Atlanta and New Jersey.

Of the two camps in Virginia, one will take place in the "757"—the Hampton, Norfolk, Virginia Beach area—while the other will be in Northern Virginia. The 757 region is an incredibly fertile recruiting area that has caught the attention of southern powerhouses like Florida State. Northern Virginia is also a hotly contested area with competition from the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland, among others.

The ACC previously banned satellite camps and pushed for a ban by the NCAA. The NCAA did ban the practice altogther, briefly, but after a national outcry, the ban was overturned last month.

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For his part, Fuente is not a fan of these camps, but recognizes the necessity of holding them.

“There’s a lot of issues with camps right now that we’re all trying to vet through,” Fuente said via Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “In general, the whole traveling camp (idea) is not particularly good. It just opens up a lot of room for abuse. They’re not regulated at all. But I’m excited about being able to travel in our state.”

Going to Atlanta is an interesting move, but a necessary one if the Hokies hope to return to their former glory. Recruiting in the south opens Virginia Tech to more top-tier recruits. Obviously, it will be difficult to lure southern prospects away from the SEC powers, but being able to build a footprint in the SEC's backyard will greatly help Fuente's task of rebuilding the team into a conference contender.

The move to New Jersey also makes sense. The lack of a power program in the Northeast essentially makes the region up for grabs. Schools like Ohio State and Penn State have taken advantage of Rutgers' move to the Big Ten, but obviously the ACC maintains a presence throughout the east coast.

Virginia Tech's rather remote location makes holding these camps within the state important. The state was previously dominated by the Hokies in the glory days of the Frank Beamer era, but in-state recruiting has slipped in recent years. Holding Virginia camps will help Virginia Tech maintain its presence in the state.

“I think it’s certainly necessary in our state,” Fuente said. “We’re just going to dip our toe in the water of the other ones and see how that goes. I’m genuinely excited to do the ones here.”

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MacLellan hints at increased roles for Wilson, Orlov

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MacLellan hints at increased roles for Wilson, Orlov

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan went on a little radio blitz on Tuesday, appearing on the Grant and Danny Show on 106.7 The Fan and again on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio.

Much of the discussion centered around the Capitals’ intention to improve their speed and quickness on the third line, along with the continued development of 22-year-old right wing  Tom Wilson and 24-year-old defenseman Dmitry Orlov.

Since entering the NHL as a 19-year-old in 2013-14 under Capitals head coach Adam Oates, Wilson’s offensive numbers have modestly increased, from three goals and seven assists (151 penalty minutes) as a rookie to four goals and 13 assists (172 PIM) in Year 2 and seven goals and 16 assists (163 PIM) this season. His ice time has also increased, from 7:56 as a rookie, to 10:56 last year and 12:54 this season.

MacLellan says he thinks the Caps’ decision to promote Wilson to the NHL instead of letting him play one more season with the WHL Plymouth Whalers was a mistake.

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“I’m optimistic with him,” MacLellan told NHL Network Radio. “I think, in hindsight, we probably started him in the NHL a year early.

“I think sometimes guys are physically mature and they can handle the physical part of it, but you know, big guys would be well-served playing a power play or playing a top-six role in a lower level versus a fourth-line role at the NHL level.

“I think maybe that first year didn’t do him any good. This year, I thought he made a lot of progress. He’s turned himself into a really good penalty killer. We played him in a third-line role most of the year, and he did a real good job killing penalties

“It would be nice to get him a little more offensive, you know maybe get on the second power play. But I think he’s coming. I think it’s just harder for him to get touches with the puck when you’re playing in a bottom-six role, and we anticipate putting him in more of an offensive role going forward.”

MacLellan told 106.7 The Fan that Orlov could find himself in the top four defensive rotation next season, with veteran Brooks Orpik possibly taking a reduced role as a third-pair defender with Nate Schmidt.

That could mean Orlov is paired with Matt Niskanen next season, with John Carlson and Karl Alzner being reunited.

“There’s an offensive upside to Orlov and there’s ability for him to move up in our lineup, and we’ve got to be careful that we don’t limit him in his ability to move there,” MacLellan said.

Orlov recorded a career-high eight goals and 21 assists in 82 regular season games while averaging 16:01 of ice time. That ice time decreased to 13:18 in 11 playoff games, where Orlov posted one assist and was pulled out of Game 2 against the Penguins.

“I would count on him developing and getting to that next level,” MacLellan said. “The idea would be, Brooks Orpik plays a little less minutes and Orlov plays a little bit more, maybe he moves into the top four for part of the time. That would be ideal situation, but we’ll have to see how he comes into camp.”

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Orioles struck out late and often against Astros

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Orioles struck out late and often against Astros

Everyone knows the Orioles are going to strike out. I could say they’ll strike out early and often, but in Tuesday night’s game, they fanned 19 times in 13 innings, and most of those strikeouts were late in the game,

How bad was it? 

According to Elias, Houston Astros relievers set a team record by striking out 16 Orioles in 7 1/3 innings. 

Nine of the 12 Orioles’ outs in extra innings came on strikeouts.

At least it wasn’t an Orioles team record. On Sept. 12, 1962, Washington’s Tom Cheney struck out 21 Orioles in 16 innings. In a 1996 Division Series game, they struck an amazing 23 times in 10 innings, and still won. 

When the season began, there was hope that the Orioles weren’t going to strike out as often as in 2015, but even in their season opening seven game winning streak, they were fanned 10 or more times twice. 

In their more recent seven-game run earlier this month, they didn’t strike out in double figures at all. 

Over their last five games, they’ve struck out 54 times. In their 3-1 win on Saturday night, they struck out 13 times. 

As Adam Jones told reporters in Houston after Tuesday night’s game, it’s in the Orioles DNA to strike out.

Overall, the Orioles are only eighth in the American League in strikeouts. In their 43 games, they’re averaging 8.23 strikeouts a game, but they’re 11th in walking, getting an average of three bases on balls per game. 

Their on-base percentage has fallen since their torrid offensive start, but it’s still .322, which ranks fourth in the league, and well above recent years. 

But, they have players who strike out a lot. Chris Davis is on pace for his second straight 200 strikeout season. Mark Trumbo could strike out more than 180 times. Manny Machado, Joey Rickard and Jonathan Schoop are all on pace to strike out more than 100 times this season.

No one will complain about the strikeouts if they hit home runs and win. Their 65 home runs are tied with the New York Mets for the most in baseball, and until last night, they’d been at the top of the division for the bulk of the season. The Orioles are now in second place, and for the first time, they trail Boston by a full game. 

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