Rangers skipper has one final regret

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Rangers skipper has one final regret

From Comcast SportsNetARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington knows one thing he'd change if he could: He'd make sure his everyday players got more rest during the season.Or they might still be playing, and not already several days into what will be a long offseason."I could have looked at not having all my regulars play as many games as they played," Washington said Tuesday. "I think if I could have changed that, and got them some opportunity to get more rest, they'd be much fresher as we went down the stretch. It could have been a difference. I question myself for that."After going to the last two World Series, Texas failed to win even one game this October. They lost 10 of their last 14 overall, including a sweep at Oakland to end the regular season before losing Friday to Baltimore in the first win-or-go-home AL wild-card card.Not counting the postseason game, Texas had seven players who appeared in at least 147 games. Adrian Beltre, the 33-year-old third baseman who just finished his 15th major league season, was among five Rangers who played in at least 156 games."Maybe I played them into the ground," Washington said.The Rangers, who won 93 games, face some significant changes in their roster since eight players will be eligible for free agency.The most notable is slugger Josh Hamilton, and general manager Jon Daniels said Tuesday that the team is "not going to make a kind of pre-emptive proposal at this point." The two sides put negotiations on hold earlier this year with the expectation that Hamilton would test the free-agent market."I think that effectively what we decided internally and agreed on with Josh and his representatives during the spring was that was the process," Daniels said. "We're going to let it play out. If you put yourself in his shoes, if you've got this far, you're going to test the market, find out what's out there. I think that's understandable."The Rangers were division leaders for a majors-best 178 games this season, taking the AL West lead four games into the season and staying there alone until be caught by Oakland in the 161st game. They then lost the division crown on the final day of the regular season, 12-5 to the A's after having a 5-1 lead.That made the Rangers a wild card, and they lost 5-1 at home to Baltimore on Friday night."Bottom line it was a very good year, it was a very disappointing finish," Daniels said. "I think we're all on the same page that we want to build on that and get back to where we want to be, which is contending year in, year out for a world championship."That was the consensus feeling among team president Nolan Ryan, Daniels and Washington during a season-ending news conference, which came on the same day the Rangers would have been playing Game 3 of the AL division series had Texas won the AL West title.Instead of batting practice at Rangers Ballpark, stadium workers were stripping away the grass in foul territory between the third-base line and the visitor dugout.The Rangers payroll this year topped 120 million. Ryan, who is also part of the team's ownership group, said there have been numerous discussions about team's budget for 2013 that will not be affected by the lack of revenue-generating home playoff games."Overall, we're probably all pretty much in agreement of where we're headed and how we're doing as organization," Ryan said, without getting into specifics. "I think that we all have thoughts and opinions on how we can improve our ballclub, and those will be expressed obviously during meetings going forward. But overall I think everybody's on the same page."Aside from Hamilton and catcher Mike Napoli, the other potential free agents are pitchers.Ryan Dempster came from the Chicago Cubs in a July 31 trade, and the Rangers will not pick up a 9 million option on Scott Feldman, who will get a 600,000 buyout instead. The others are relievers Mike Adams, Koji Uehara, Mark Lowe and Roy Oswalt, the three-time All-Star added midseason who wound up in the bullpen after Dempster was acquired.Hamilton hit a career-high 43 homers and drove in 128 runs but was lustily booed by Rangers fans while going 0-for-4 against the Orioles, the same team he hit four homers against on May 8.There was also the dropped routine popup in the regular-season finale, a two-out tiebreaking miscue that allowed the A's to score two runs and go ahead to stay. He missed five games on a September trip because of a cornea problem he said was caused by too much caffeine and energy drinks."Obviously I think Josh probably would have liked to finish stronger and we would have liked to see him finish stronger," Ryan said. "Will it impact our position as far as going forward? No, I don't think so. We'll consider the entire season because it is an entire season that affects the outcome."

In latest comeback bid, Ravens TE Dennis Pitta's confidence not a problem

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In latest comeback bid, Ravens TE Dennis Pitta's confidence not a problem

Not everyone close to Dennis Pitta was immediately sold on his second NFL comeback attempt. Will his twice-fractured hip hold up? How much is Pitta risking his long-term health?

Pitta has pondered those questions for months. But after the first week of OTA’s, the Ravens’ 30-year-old tight end remained confident he had made the right decision.

“I had to convince a few people, and I’m thankful for those who have been in my corner all along and had my best interests in mind,” Pitta said. “Like I’ve said before, I know my situation better than anyone else, and I’m confident in the decision I made to come back, and certainly there were people who wanted to make sure that I was confident in that decision. I have a great support team behind me, and we all feel good about this move.”

Pitta first fractured his hip during training camp in 2013, then again on a non-contact play against the Browns in 2014. However, Pitta says he doesn’t think about his right hip when he’s on the field. He’s also not lowering his expectations, despite not playing at all in 2015, and not playing a full season since 2012.

Pitta was one of quarterback Joe Flacco’s favorite targets, catching 61 passes for 669 yards during the 2012 regular season, then adding 14 catches for 163 yards and three touchdowns during the Ravens’ playoff run to a Super Bowl title.

Asked if he could return that level of play, Pitta suggested, “Why not?”

“No, my expectations haven’t changed from four years ago, to two years ago, to now,” Pitta said. “My level of expectation is extremely high going into this year. Like I said, I feel confident in how I can run, how I can move, how I can play and it’s just a matter of getting those reps back to where I’m confident in doing all of that. So, yes, expectations personally are very high.”

Pitta obviously wasn’t ready to end his career. If he is on the 53-man roster Week 1, it will be a terrific comeback story.

Orioles turn to hot Chris Tillman for positive end to road trip

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Orioles turn to hot Chris Tillman for positive end to road trip

Today's Game: Baltimore Orioles (27-20) vs. Cleveland Indians (26-21), Progressive Field, Cleveland, 1:10 p.m.

Starting pitchers: Chris Tillman (6-1, 2.61) vs. Mike Clevinger (0-1, 8.71)

Keys to the Game: 

Can Tillman keep his string of quality starts going? He has seven straight. 

Can the Orioles shake off their sloppiness? They made four errors and allowed five stolen bases in Saturday's loss. 

News and Notes:

The Orioles are 3-5 on their nine-game road trip.

Tillman is 4-2 with a 3.89 ERA in seven starts against Cleveland. 

Current Indians are batting .226 against Tillman. 

Matt Wieters is batting .441 (15-for-34) over his last eight games. 

The Orioles have allowed 10 or more runs in three games, all started by Ubaldo Jimenez.

Clevinger has started just twice in the major leagues, and given up three home runs in 10 1/3 innings. 

Caps prospect Madison Bowey escapes discipline for Game 4 actions

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Caps prospect Madison Bowey escapes discipline for Game 4 actions

Capitals prospect Madison Bowey will not face further discipline after he was investigated for using a homophobic slur in Game 4 of the Calder Cup Eastern Conference Finals on Friday.

In a series in which everything has been going right for the Hershey Bears, something went very wrong on Friday in Game 4 against the Toronto Marlies. Not only did Toronto win 5-0 to avoid a sweep, but Bowey was ejected from the game in the third period after a high elbow delivered to Toronto forward Kasperi Kapanen.

There's no doubt about that one. Bowey comes in with his elbow high and nails Kapanen right in the head. The defenseman was assessed a five minute major and game misconduct for the hit.

It is not the hit that has garnered so much attention, however, but what happened afterwards.

Kapanen was slow to get up following the play, but was eventually able to stand under his own power. He and Bowey then began exchanging words. At one point, Bowey was caught on tape using what appeared to many to be a homophobic slur.

You can watch the video here.

There was no audio to the video, but that was enough for Toronto to puruse further discipline for Bowey.

Bowey, however, was cleared by the AHL on Friday and will not be suspended for what he may or may not have said.

In the video, a linesman is skating with Bowey at the point in question. It seems likely that the linesman would have heard whatever Bowey may have said which would make for a simple AHL investigation.

There is precedent for supplemental discipline in matters such as these from the NHL. Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks was suspended one game and order to undergo sensitivity training after using a homophobic slur in Game 4 of Chicago's series against the St. Louis Blues.

Though the initial report by Rob Longley indicates the AHL was still reviewing the hit, with Game 5 set for Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m., it seems unlikely at this point that the league will issue any last minute suspension.

Kapanen is reportedly day-to-day after receiving the hit. Hershey leads the series 3-1 and will advance to the Calder Cup Finals with a win on Sunday to face the Lake Erie Monsters.

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