New development on the Saints' bounty scandal

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New development on the Saints' bounty scandal

From Comcast SportsNetNEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Three players fighting suspensions from the NFL's bounty investigation have told a federal judge they are comfortable with their representation by union lawyers and see no potential conflict of interest in the arrangement.The players written comments on Thursday came in response to an order a day earlier by U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan, who lamented the failure of settlement talks and wrote that she was concerned there were competing agendas among lawyers on all sides in the dispute that were undermining the interests of the players.The judge asked whether it made more sense for New Orleans defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove to have separate lawyers, rather than the same lawyers representing the NFL Players Association.The NFLPA also filed a response in which it explained that it has been seeking to engage league lawyers in settlement talks, "and the NFL continued to refuse to do so, never making a single settlement offer to the Players."The union added that it also sees no conflict in representing the players, but will help them get their own attorneys if the court desires.The NFLPA, the three players, and Saints linebacker Jon Vilma, who has his own attorney, are claiming in their consolidated lawsuits that Commissioner Roger Goodell abused his authority and followed improper procedures in disciplining the players for a program that, according to NFL investigators, paid improper cash bonuses for tackles that injured opponents. The lawsuit seeks to have the punishment handed down by Goodell thrown out.Vilma was suspended the entire season, Hargrove for eight games, Smith for four games and Fujita three games.Earlier this week, the NFLPA asked for a temporary restraining order that would allow the three players it represents to rejoin their clubs while the case proceeds. Vilma made the same request in July, and Berrigan has yet to rule on either TRO request, but could potentially do so before the Saints and Browns open the regular season on Sunday.Meanwhile, Smith, who like other suspended players has been barred from practicing this week, issued a statement expressing his concern that the matter was not resolved already, with the Saints' opener against Washington only three days away."I am disappointed my playing status remains in limbo," Smith said. "Irreparable harm has already been levied on me and the players. We have been unfairly labeled and punished by this process. While we believe in mediation and settlement, the NFL has never expressed a genuine interest in a mediation process that would provide the players with a fair venue that could be trusted, nor made a settlement offer for us to professionally consider, at any time. That is why we have asked the court for just relief. It is my sincere hope to have this matter resolved as quickly as possible so I may return to my job, teammates and fans, as we take the field against the Redskins."When Berrigan ordered the players and the union to address her concerns about conflicts of interest regarding the players' legal representation, she also ordered the NFL to respond by Thursday to the union's request for a temporary restraining order on behalf of the three players it represents in the case.The league complied, stating that it opposes the NFLPA's TRO request for the same reason it opposed a similar request by Vilma.Those reasons included NFL arguments that Berrigan did not have jurisdiction over the matter because the league's labor agreement was collectively bargained. NFL attorneys also have argued that granting a restraining order would motivate more players to bring similar frivolous requests to the courts in an effort to delay punishment in subsequent disciplinary matters.

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

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USA TODAY Sports

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

BALTIMORE—For the second straight night, the Orioles won the Battle of the Beltways. 

Kevin Gausman threw six shutout innings, and won two starts in a row for the first time since June 2014. 

The Orioles’ 8-1 win before 26,697 at Oriole Park on Tuesday night was hardly as entertaining, but the outcome wasn’t in doubt for very long. 

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

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 was 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. 

Manager Buck 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. 

The Orioles are now 19-for-32 on replay challenges, equaling the major league high. 

Gausman (5-10) left after six, and Vance Worley allowed a run in the seventh on four singles. The Nationals (73-52) scored on Danny Espinosa’s single. 

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

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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Reynaldo Lopez rocked as Nats suffer lopsided loss to Orioles

Reynaldo Lopez rocked as Nats suffer lopsided loss to Orioles

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 8-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

How it happened: Reynaldo Lopez learned the hard way on Tuesday night that pitching in Baltimore these days is a much different story than pitching in Atlanta.

After two impressive outings against the lowly Braves, Lopez had quite the wakeup call against the Orioles at Camden Yards, a haunted house for pitchers. The Nats rookie had no chance against the O's and was bounced after just 2 2/3 innings of work. That nice little favor A.J. Cole did their bullpen the night before became a distant memory, as Matt Belisle was summoned far earlier than manager Dusty Baker had intended.

Lopez ended up with six runs allowed - four of them earned - on seven hits and three walks. None of his runs came on homers, despite the Orioles' penchant for hitting them.

Lopez was thoroughly outpitched by Orioles starter Kevin Gausman, who - like Dylan Bundy the night before - showed why Baltimore took him with the fourth overall pick. Gausman was sharp with his mid-90s fastball and mixed in sliders and splitters with regularity. He tossed six shutout innings with six hits and two walks allowed on 110 total pitches.

After Lopez left, Oliver Perez gave up an RBI single to Matt Wieters in the seventh. Yusmeiro Petit then offered up a solo homer to Chris Davis in the eighth. 

The Nats had trouble scoring, but they did get on base at a decent rate. Trea Turner had a career-high four hits, including a double. Bryce Harper had two singles. Ryan Zimmerman singled and scored their only run on a Danny Espinosa RBI knock. 

The Nationals lost for the second straight night to the Orioles, who have absolutely owned them in their annual head-to-head series in recent years.

What it means: The Nats dropped to 73-52 on the season and have lost five straight games to the Orioles going back to last season. Since the start of 2012, they are 6-16 against the O's.

Lopez gets rocked: What happened to Lopez on Tuesday night was much more like his first two big league outings, when he got shelled by the Dodgers and Giants. At least in those games he made it at least four innings. Lopez found trouble early against the Orioles, who wasted no time in overwhelming the young right-hander. Mark Trumbo singled home a run in the first inning. Wieters doubled home another in the second. Adam Jones brought in a third run on an infield single soon after.

That was bad, but the third inning saw matters get much worse. Jonathan Schoop doubled home Davis to make it 4-0 with one out. Then, with two outs and the bases loaded, Lopez got J.J. Hardy to hit a hard grounder to Daniel Murphy at second. Murphy booted it and allowed two unearned runs to score. That made it 6-0 and got Belisle into the game.

Despite throwing two consecutive solid games against the Braves, Lopez now has a 5.33 ERA through five total starts with 15 earned runs allowed in 23 1/3 big league innings. 

Turner gets four hits: Turner singled three times and doubled once in the Nats' loss. It was his first four-hit game, but the second time he's reached base four times. He also did that on June 3 in Cincinnati in his first MLB game of 2016.

Turner's night was notable because of the hits, but also because he was caught stealing twice. Both times were on nice throws by Wieters, but even better tags by Schoop. And both times were on Buck Showalter challenges. Turner has been caught stealing three times this year and all were on umpire reviews. Showalter, in fact, won three challenges on the night, which matched an MLB season-high.

Espinosa contributes again: It was just an RBI single on an otherwise forgettable night for the Nats, but for Espinosa it was his second straight game doing something positive at the plate after he homered on Monday night. Espinosa is still just 7-for-47 (.149) in his last 13 games.

Up next: The Nats and Orioles shift to Washington where they play two games at Nationals Park. Wednesday night will pit Tanner Roark (13-6, 2.87) up against O's lefty Wade Miley (7-10, 5.58).

[RELATED: Ross takes big step in rehab, is okay with returning to Nats in bullpen]

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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.”