Report: Melky Cabrera will not play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic

Report: Melky Cabrera will not play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic

Melky Cabrera was included on the provisional roster for the Dominican Republic when it was announced last month, but he has apparently had a change of heart about participating in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. According to Dionisio Soldevila, a Spanish language reporter for the Associated Press and ESPN Deportes, Cabrera has withdrawn his name…

Ben Revere starting to resemble the leadoff man the Nats hoped for

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Ben Revere starting to resemble the leadoff man the Nats hoped for

When the Nationals acquired Ben Revere from the Toronto Blue Jays last winter, they knew exactly what they were getting: a prototypical leadoff hitter that sees a lot of pitches, ropes line drives into the gaps and wreaks havoc on the base paths.

Still, every now and then Washington's centerfielder goes out of character in pregame batting practice and simulates his long ball swing, much to the dismay of manager Dusty Baker. 

"Even when I pop them in BP, he gets mad," Revere said. 

But for just the fifth time in his career 2569 at-bats, that power stroke came in handy. Revere enjoyed a rare jog around the bases after his seventh-inning solo home run in Tuesday night's 7-4 win over the New York Mets. The 384-foot blast to right field was his first since joining the Nats — and based on his track record, it's anyone's guess when his second one will be. 

"At least I get my one [home run]," Revere said. "I just gotta get one."

"I'm just hoping he doesn't get that dreadful disease of home-run-itis," Baker added. "So just get back to yourself, Ben."

Luckily for the Nats, Revere has finally started to look like himself after getting off to a slow start, one which included a post-disabled list slump following his Opening Day oblique injury. In the last week, he's hitting .360 with three extra-base hits, five RBI, six runs scored and a pair of stolen bases. 

"He's really been swinging the bat well since that last game in New York [last week]," Daniel Murphy said. "He looks good in there and it's really nice to have him at the top of the lineup setting the table for us."

With Revere rounding into form and other members of the lineup getting hot, the Nats offense finally has a chance to be a more balanced outfit that doesn't solely rely on Murphy and Bryce Harper to do all the heavy lifting. 

That said, don't hold your breath waiting for Revere to be leaving the yard again anytime soon. 

"If I try to hit it in the air, I’ll probably be .250 or Mendoza line .200 hitter," he quipped. "But if I hit the ball on the ground or line drives, I’ll be .300 for a long time."

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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