De Jonge leads the AT&T National, but Tiger is lurking

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De Jonge leads the AT&T National, but Tiger is lurking

For the second straight sweltering afternoon at Congressional Country Club, Tiger Woods short game helped him move up the leaderboard at the AT&T National.

Unfortunately for area golf fans, none of them were there to witness it.

Woods shot a bogey-free four under par 67 to move into a three-way tie for second place on a course that was eerily empty Saturday as spectators and non-essential tournament workers asked to stay away for safety reasons after a powerful storm Friday night left a trail of destruction in its wake.

Brendon de Jonge, meantime, shot 69 and leads the field at 7-under. Lurking just behind the Zimbabwe native is a trio that includes Woods, Bo Van Pelt, and Seung-Yul Noh, setting up a potentially thrilling Sunday in Bethesda.

With only a handful of Congressional members, media and relatives of the golfers on the grounds, this was anything but a normal weekend day on the PGA Tour.

It was similar to what we've faced when we play overseas in practice rounds or when we have dangerous summer conditions such as thunderstorms, Woods said. Ive played in front of small crowds like this, but not generally for an 18-hole competitive round.

Added de Jonge, who attended Virginia Tech: There was no buzz. It was hard to get the adrenaline going. It kind of felt like you were playing a Tuesday practice round or a qualifier.

Play had been scheduled to begin around 7 a.m. but was postponed until 1 p.m. to give workers enough time to clear as many as 40 fallen trees, hundreds of branches and other debris that had been strewn about by a fast-moving derecho that packed 70 mph winds.

It was sort of awe-striking a little bit, said Leesburg, Va., native Billy Hurley III, who is tied for fifth after carding a 66. Youre walking around and youre just like, Wow, thats crazy a storm can knock down that tree. Trees this big around just snapped.

Said Van Pelt: Those were trees that have probably been around 100 years. Theyve survived a lot of storms. The fact that this one knocked them down just shows you how powerful it was.

The decision to ban fans was a difficult but necessary one, according to Mark Russell, the PGAs vice president of rules and competition.

Several trees were snapped at the trunk in spectator areas. Power around the course was spotty and often dependent on a generator. And the roads leading up to the entrance were littered by fallen trees and large branches.

Thats very drastic decision, not allowing fans to come out, Russell said. But its in their best interest. Its a dangerous situation in the area today with the heat and storm and everything.

Tickets for Saturdays round will be honored on Sunday, according to tournament officials. Tickets can also be returned to the Tiger Woods Foundation for a refund.

Tee times on Sunday will be 11 a.m.- 1 p.m., utilizing Nos. 1 and 10.

When Mahan, who owned a two stroke lead after 36 holes, teed off Saturday, there were four people seated in the grandstand and three of them were tournament workers.

And by the time Mahan bogeyed No. 4 a short while later, Tigers charge was gathering momentum. Mahan, meantime, finished with four bogies and, as a result, enters Sunday tied with Hurley, two strokes behind de Jonge.

As Mahan faltered, Woods surged, scoring birdies on three of the first six holes, including a highlight reel chip into the cup from the rough on No. 6, eliciting a confident fist pump.

After scoring pars on each of the next three holes, Woods vaulted into second place with a birdie on No. 10, the 181-yard par-3 where the green is protected by a water hazard. He stuck his tee-shot about eight feet from the hole, then watched nervously as his putt rolled around the lip of the cup nearly a full 360-degrees before dropping in.

Woods, now ranked No. 4 in the world, has two wins on the PGA Tour this season, 73 in his career and hoisted the trophy in this tournament three years ago.

The men hell be pursuing on Sunday have one PGA victory between them and certainly will be aware that you-know-who is on the prowl.

I played myself into good shape for tomorrow, Woods said. Im happy with the way I played.

Wieters knows the dangers Caleb Joseph faced

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Wieters knows the dangers Caleb Joseph faced

BALTIMORE—Matt Wieters knows about the dangers of catching. He can identify with Caleb Joseph, who went on the disabled list with a testicular injury on Tuesday. 

“I didn’t really know the severity of it at the time. It happens so often to catchers, you don’t really assume that it’s as severe as it was. He’s a tough kid who’s been through a lot of grinding in the minor leagues, so it takes a lot to be able to get him out of the game. I wasn’t surprised at all that he stayed in. But I definitely wish it wasn’t as bad as it was. Hopefully, everything will be fine once the soreness goes away and he’ll be back,” Wieters said. 

“I think every man can probably sympathized with Caleb a little bit. I’m sure he’s pretty sore today, but talking to him this morning, everything went as well as it could have last night. So, to be able to kind of rest a little bit and then get him back here at full strength will be good.”

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With Joseph out, Wieters will have his 11th backup since he got to Baltimore in 2009. Francisco Pena was recalled from Norfolk to serve as Wieters’ understudy while Joseph heals. 

Pena, who played briefly with Kansas City in 2014 and 2015, is the son of New York Yankees coach Tony Pena. He was with the Orioles during spring training. He was batting .200 with six RBIs at Norfolk.

He understands the dangers of being behind the plate.

“You can’t control that. It’s luck right there. Obviously, you’re wearing a cup, but it’s a matter of luck. You’re concerned, but you’re never thinking about it. You’ve got to be ready to block every pitch. You’ve got to be ready to catch. You can’t be thinking about it.” Pena said.

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Machado, Trumbo leaders in first All-Star voting

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Machado, Trumbo leaders in first All-Star voting

BALTIMORE—In the first release of All-Star Game voting, Manny Machado and Mark Trumbo are the leading Orioles votegetters. 

Machado, a two-time All-Star is leading American League third basemen with just over 630,000 votes, and Trumbo is third among outfielders. 

Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week, trails Machado by about 64,000 votes. 

Trumbo, who was an All-Star with the Angels in 2012, is behind his former Los Angeles teammate Mike Trout and Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain in the voting. Trumbo, who has just under 642,000 votes, leads Boston’s Jackie Bradley, Jr. by about 85,000 votes.

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Chris Davis, who received the most All-Star votes in 2013, is third among first basemen. He is nearly half a million votes behind the Royals’ Eric Hosmer. 

Jonathan Schoop is in fifth place in the voting for second baseman. Schoop is more than 400,000 votes behind Houston’s Jose Altuve.

J.J. Hardy, a two-time All-Star, who is currently on the disabled list with a fracture in his left foot, is fifth among shortstops and is more than 370,000 votes behind Boston’s Xander Bogaerts. 

Matt Wieters, a three-time All-Star is in third place in the catchers’ voting. He is nearly 800,000 votes behind the AL voting leader, Kansas City’s Salvador Perez.

Adam Jones, a five-time All-Star is ninth and Joey Rickard is 14th in AL outfield voting. 

The All-Star Game will be played in San Diego’s Petco Park on July 12. 

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Joseph goes to the disabled list with testicular injury

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Joseph goes to the disabled list with testicular injury

BALTIMORE—Caleb Joseph was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a testicular injury he suffered on Monday. 

Joseph suffered the injury in the eighth inning with Boston’s Travis Shaw at bat. He remained in the game, and was on deck in the ninth when the game ended. 

But, afterwards Joseph went to the hospital for an examination, and he underwent a surgical procedure Monday night. 

“I’d be guessing about length of time, I know what they saw but there’s not a whole of history that says if you have this done and you’re a catcher, when will you be able to catch again. So, obviously not in those 15 days,” manager Buck Showalter said.

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Joseph, who is batting .182 in 23 games, was not at the ballpark on Tuesday. 

Now knowing the severity of the injury, Showalter was amazed that Joseph was able to remain in the game. 

“Without a doubt. I knew from knowing Caleb that for him to be down on his knees like that,” Showalter said. 
“But checking with him every inning between innings, I think it’s probably something, as you kind of get away and get out of the moment (the pain intensifies). I don’t know. I don’t have anything to base it on, you just kind of go by what the guy tells you and what he’s doing on the field is telling you. We were watching it closely, everybody tends to initially – let’s face it – kind of snicker some when that happens, but anybody that’s had it happen, it’s very serious and we always treat it that way.”  

This isn’t the first instance of a player being placed on the disabled list because of a testicular injury. In 2009, Adrian Beltre, then with Seattle, went on the DL with a severely bruised testicle. 

Chris Snyder, a catcher, who later played briefly with the Orioles, fractured a testicle in 2008. 

Oakland’s Billy Burns bruised a testicle last year.

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