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Concerned about Jones, Orioles add Borbon to play center

Concerned about Jones, Orioles add Borbon to play center

NEW YORK—Needing a center fielder with Adam Jones out of the lineup due to a strained left hamstring, the Orioles selected the contract of outfielder Julio Borbon from Double-A Bowie. 

Borbon is in the lineup for Saturday’s game playing center field. 

“Adam was trying to talk us into playing him today,” manager Buck Showalter said.

Jones was taken out of Friday night’s game in the second inning, one night after he was removed for a pinch hitter in the ninth inning of Thursday’s game in Washington. 

“Who knows? He might pinch hit today,” Showalter said.


Borbon hit .222 in five games for the Orioles last month when Hyun Soo Kim was on the disabled list. He’s hitting .275 with six home runs and 25 RBIs for Bowie. 

“Until we get our arms around Adam, Borbon will need to stay here,” Showalter said. “Borbon was our best option at this point.”    

The Orioles had several other options for center field, Showalter said. Chris Dickerson, who signed a week ago, and has been with the Baysox, hasn’t played enough. Dariel Alvarez and Xavier Avery, both at Norfolk were also considered. 

To make room for Borbon on the 25-man roster, the Orioles optioned right-handed pitcher Mike Wright to Triple-A Norfolk. 

Wright pitched in back-to-back games for the first time on Thursday and Friday, allowing two runs on five hits in four innings. 

Overall, Wright is 3-4 with a 5.89 ERA with the Orioles. 

Logan Ondrusek was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Borbon.


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Nats' Joe Ross to begin minor league rehab assignment on Sunday

Nats' Joe Ross to begin minor league rehab assignment on Sunday

Okay, let's try this again.

Nearly a month after Joe Ross' initial minor league rehab assignment was halted due to a setback in his recovery from right shoulder inflammation, the Nationals' starter will now go on another rehab stint beginning Sunday with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs. He will face the Pawtucket Red Sox in Syracuse.

This is a major step for the Nats' right-hander, who hasn't appeared in a big league game since July 2. Ross threw two bullpen sessions this week, one on Tuesday in Baltimore and another on Thursday in Washington. It was an encouraging series of days for Ross, who last pitched in a game on July 30 with Syracuse. He also pitched for Syracuse on July 24.

Ross is now well on his way to returning, but whether he can build his innings up to come back as a starter is still hard to tell. The minor league regular season only runs through the first week of September, so it's still possible Ross will need to return to the Nats as a relief pitcher.

Manager Dusty Baker shared the latest on that situation before Saturday's game:

"I don't know. That's a question that we're trying to answer now. If not, then hopefully in the playoffs he can be on the team and help us out of the bullpen. Usually, you're only carrying three starters on the team anyways during the playoffs. If he was number four and whoever else or whatever, that makes for a better bullpen. I have hopes that he can at least make it back to that point," he said.

That is all, of course, pending this second minor league rehab stint goes well. Last time Ross felt discomfort and didn't have his velocity quite where he wanted it to be.

Ross starting for Syracuse may give some hints as to who will start for the Nationals on Sunday against the Rockies. Lucas Giolito was lined up to pitch Sunday for the Chiefs and already was a likely candidate to be called up to the Nats. Now that theory has even more legs to it.

[RELATED: Max Scherzer digs down deep to help Nats, shut up Orioles fans]


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Projecting how Eastern Conference will shake out: Toronto Raptors

Projecting how Eastern Conference will shake out: Toronto Raptors

No. 3 Toronto Raptors

2015-16: Finished 56-26 for second place but was eliminated in the conference finals in six games to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Best additions: C Jakob Poeltl, PF Pascal Siakam, C-F Jared Sullinger. The first two are products of the draft and could take time to determine just how good they can be. Sullinger is versatile but often is out of shape and frustrating because he can be better.

Biggest change: The Raptors’ greatest weakness was the lack of a PF with an ability to stretch the floor. They had Luis Scola last year, an unathletic, non-three-point shooter who was past his physical prime. They were one of the few teams to play with two traditional bigs in the starting lineup.

Question marks: Defense minus F/C Bismack Biyombo. He was central to their emergence even when C Jonas Valanciunas went down. Now he’s with the Orlando Magic. The backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan can be elite and then disappear without notice. Usually a better, more consistent regular-season team than in the playoffs.

2016-17 NBA Team Previews:

Brooklyn Nets

New York Knicks

Milwaukee Bucks

Philadelphia 76ers