Will Middlebrooks back in starting lineup following wrist scare

Will Middlebrooks back in starting lineup following wrist scare

It was easy to think the worst when Will Middlebrooks left Wednesday’s Grapefruit League game after he experienced pain in his right wrist on a check swing, but fortunately for the Red Sox, it turned out to be a false alarm. Middlebrooks was examined by a hand specialist, who determined that the flash of pain…

Redskins G Shawn Lauvao is progressing, but can he reclaim his starting job?


Redskins G Shawn Lauvao is progressing, but can he reclaim his starting job?

Shawn Lauvao isn’t participating in OTAs, but the Redskins guard is pleased with his progress as he rehabs from multiple offseason surgeries.

“I’m walking,” Lauvao cracked Wednesday, after watching practice from the sideline. “I thank God for that. That’s good.”

Lauvao, who says this is the best his legs have felt in years, is now getting around without the assistance of crutches or a scooter. He’s also begun ramping up the intensity of his rehab with the intention of being full-go in Richmond, Va., on July 28th.

“I’ll be ready for training camp,” he said. “That’s the plan. That’s the whole diagnosis and plan of action we have right now.”

Lauvao was playing well as the Redskins’ first string left guard early last year when he suffered a season-ending ankle injury against the Giants. As it turned out, the 28-year-old ended up having five surgeries, including two major procedures, to repair the ankle and clean up several preexisting ailments on both legs.

“Rehab has been good,” he said. “I’ve been making progress every day. Hats off to the Skins, hats off to my support team and the guys around the building.”

“My biggest thing,” he added, “is being pain free for the first time in a while. You get used to playing with different issues in this game. It was just a compound type of deal from playing the game over the years.  One thing I will say, this is the best I’ve felt in a while. I’m just grateful for that.”

Lauvao’s health could have a domino effect on the Redskins’ O-line. If he’s healthy, it’s possible he’ll regain his starting job from Spencer Long. If that happens, Long could potentially challenge Kory Lichtensteiger for the starting center spot. Long started 14 games in Lauvao’s absence last season, but has been also getting work at center this offseason.

What they're saying nationally after Trimble's decision to return to Terps


What they're saying nationally after Trimble's decision to return to Terps

Maryland guard Melo Trimble has officially decided to return to College Park for his junior season after going through the NBA Draft process without hiring an agent.

What are they saying nationally? Take a look below.

Gary Parrish, CBS Sports

"The 6-foot-3 sophomore ultimately listened to what NBA people told him -- specifically that he's unlikely, at this point, to make an NBA roster, and that, if he didn't withdraw, he could go unselected in next month's draft."

Rob Dauster, NBCSports.com

Preseason Top 25: No. 17

"[Anthony] Cowan is going to be good, but if Trimble isn’t there, this team is going to be in full rebuilding mode, and even if he is, this ranking may still be somewhat high."

Despite lopsided games, Nats and Mets remain closely matched


Despite lopsided games, Nats and Mets remain closely matched

After waiting six long weeks for the first matchup between the Nationals and Mets of 2016, they played six games all within a stretch of nine days with each team taking three of them. 

That leaves them at .500 against each other, which is as close a head-to-head record as you can possibly get. Yet despite that fact, consider this: three of their games have been blowouts, two were shutouts and one - Tuesday's 7-4 Nats' win - was never really that close.

The season series has been an eventful one so far, yet none of their six contests has provided the late-game thrills we witnessed last year, at least when it comes to testing the Nationals' bullpen. Now we wait another full month before they square off again on June 27.

Because of the unusual results, the Nationals could only really draw conclusions from the overall record when asked about the rivalry after Wednesday's 2-0 loss.

"We've gone 3-3, .500," former Met Daniel Murphy said. "It's a good club. I think this is the way everybody kind of drew it up at the beginning of the year."

"It makes us about even," manager Dusty Baker said. "We've matched up good against them and they've matched up good against us."

The Nationals and Mets remain close in the NL East with just a half-game separating them in the standings, the Nats sitting just ahead of the reigning division champions. As Murphy said, both teams are about where they were expected to be.

How they got there, though, has perhaps been unexpected. The Nationals have paced a 28-19 record despite Bryce Harper hitting just .245 and Ryan Zimmerman batting .236. Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth have come around lately, but have not been themselves for the majority of this season. Given how healthy the Nats' lineup has been, it may come as a surprise they rank about average as an offense.

The Nationals' starting rotation has been as good as any in baseball, but their lineup is working to find consistency. And until we see Jonathan Papelbon and others in more high-pressure games, the jury is still out on their bullpen.

The Mets are in second place despite going through a whole lot more than that. Their pitching staff has seen Matt Harvey stumble through the worst stretch of his career and Jacob deGrom deal with velocity issues. The Mets are 23rd in runs scored and just lost Lucas Duda for who knows how long with a stress fracture in his back. 

For the Mets to be where they are is impressive all things considered. And, like the Nationals, it still feels like we haven't seem them at their best.

Neither team has fully hit their stride and neither truly separated themselves in the few times they've played.