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Braves trade for pitching help

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Braves trade for pitching help

The Braves may have lost out on Ryan Dempster, but on Monday they were able to acquire another Chicago Cubs starting pitcher in lefty Paul Maholm. Maholm heads to Atlanta along with outfielder Reed Johnson in exchange for top pitching prospect Arodys Vizcaino and right-hander Jaye Chapman.

Maholm, 30, joins the Braves rotation having gone 9-6 with a 3.74 ERA in 20 starts for Chicago this season. He is an eight-year veteran with his seven other seasons spent with the Pittsburgh Pirates. His career ERA is 4.30, but last year he posted a 3.66 clip and has continued that improvement into this season.

Johnson is a utility player who has appeared in 76 games this season for the Cubs. He holds a .302 average with three home runs and 16 RBI.

Vizcaino leaves Atlanta after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier this year. He was part of the teams trio of blue chip pitching prospects, but due to injury wasnt able to produce for the Braves.

Maholm should slot into the teams rotation quickly as they have seen frustrating results from several starters this year. Jair Jurrjens continues to struggle with a 7.04 ERA in ten starts and Mike Minor has labored with a 5.18 ERA through 113.0 innings this season.

The Braves are in second place in the N.L. East behind the Nationals, but have won six straight games. Their pitching has improved of late with five straight games allowing two runs or less to their opponents. Still, with the absence of ace Brandon Beachy, the Braves have been looking for pitching help for the pennant race and Maholm may help stabilize their rotation.

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Former Nationals outfielder admits to drinking vodka before MLB games

Former Nationals outfielder admits to drinking vodka before MLB games

When it comes to sports, we sometimes forget that the athletes we look up to are just normal people.  Normal people who have a lot to prove to millions of people on a weekly basis.  Former Nationals outfielder Rick Ankiel has discussed one his human moments in an interview with 590 The Fan in St. Louis.

Ankiel admitted to drinking vodka during his plight as a pitcher. He referenced his first two starts of the 2001 season, in particular against the his opener Arizona Diamondbacks where he allowed his anxiety to giving in to alcohol to soothe him. In the previous postseason, he became the first pitcher since 1980 to throw five wild pitches in a single inning. 

It may have worked for a couple of games but Ankiel eventually realized it was only making matters worse.

Ankiel began playing in the MLB at the age of 19 and has had a fluctuating career through six teams.  All the while, he has keep a “never give up” mentality.

Why the sudden need to vent? The St. Louis baseball pitcher is getting up close and personal with his upcoming book, “The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed my Life” which is co-written with sports writer, Tim Brown will be released on April 18.  

His two seasons with the Nationals, resulted in 127 hits and 52 RBIs as an outfielder. 

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Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

The Washington Nationals have signed former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, according to multiple reports. 

Wieters spent the first eight years in the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, being named to the AL All-Star team four times and winning two gold glove awards. Last season the switch-hitting catcher posted a .243 average with 17 homers and 66 RBI.  

The Nationals have been in the market for catchers all offseason after Wilson Ramos left for Tampa Bay in free agency. The team traded for former Padres catcher Derek Norris, whose role is now in question. The Nationals still have Jose Lobaton on the roster as a strong defensive backup catcher who has a proven rapport with many of the pitchers in the Nationals rotation. Wieters had been linked to the Nationals all offseason because of the team's need a the position and because of the Nationals close relationship with Wieters' agent Scott Boras. 

The only significant time that Wieters has missed due to injury in his career came in 2014-15 when he had Tommy John surgury. Prior to that surgury, however, Wieters had played in at least 130 games for four straight seasons and became a large part of the Orioles' identity. 

The 30-year-old backstop will give the Nationals lineup more depth and power. Wieters had three consecutive 20-homer seasons from 2011-13 and since 2009 when his career began, he ranks fifth among catchers in all of baseball in home runs with 117. 

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