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News and analysis on the Ravens, Orioles, Terps and more
Manny Machado appears to have married his longtime girlfriend, Yainee Alonso

A quiet offseason that’s involved mostly minor dealings has featured some major moments for players currently on the Orioles’ roster, including star third baseman and salsa pitchman Manny Machado, who it appears was married this weekend to longtime girlfriend Yainee Alonso.

The couple’s Instagram account is full of photos, including a reception and a courthouse ceremony. Alonso is the younger sister of San Diego Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso, a longtime friend of Machado.

Machado confirmed his engagement to Yainee Alonso during spring training of 2013.

Machado, who turned 22 in July and hit .278 with 12 home runs in an injury-hit 2014 season, is expected to be a key cog in the 2015 Orioles offense. He missed the last two months of 2014 after right knee surgery, a similar procedure that ended his standout 2013 campaign.

And in other Orioles wedding news, the Machado family Instagram tweeted earlier this month from what appears to be Chris Tillman’s wedding. No offense to Tillman —...

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Ravens 10-pack on finding big-play formula, an emerging secondary star, and more

Welcome to the Ravens 10-Pack, where reporter Jon Meoli hits on 10 stats, notes, and thoughts following the team's 34-27 win Monday night at the New Orleans Saints. Read ahead for notes on the Ravens finding a big-play formula, a potential star in the secondary, and more

1. Credit a lot of things for the Ravens' win Monday, but a big factor has to be how fresh they looked after the bye. The week off allowed a lot of introspection for a lot of people, even if the quarterback passed on that, and it showed on the offense. Unlike other expected shootouts on the road, the Ravens didn’t embrace the run. They didn’t get too fancy in the passing game — just quick drops and accurate throws. And it led to an impressive eight plays over 20 yards on offense. That’s a formula that the Ravens have searched for all year. Hopefully they can stick to it.

2. It took safety Will Hill a little while to get into the game — he backed off on the game-opening reverse that brought the Saints inside the...

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Boston's signings of Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval could impact Orioles' offseason

It’s November, and the Boston Red Sox were bad last year, so why wouldn’t they spend all of the money on free agents in order to rectify it?

In the span of a a few hours last night and this morning, Boston reportedly agreed to terms with third baseman Pablo Sandoval and infielder Hanley Ramirez, with money on the former not yet reported and Ramirez agreeing to four years and $88 million, according to reports.

Sandoval was last seen taking another World Series parade with the San Francisco Giants, on the heels of a season in which he hit .279 with 16 home runs in the regular season but starred in October.  

On Ramirez, a career .300 hitter and former Boston farmhand, it doesn’t even appear they courted him. He wanted to play with David Ortiz, because he probably doesn’t remember what he did to the visiting dugout phone at Camden Yards.

With Xander Bogaerts tapped as the shortstop of the future, Ramirez might patrol in front of the Green Monster at Fenway Park in left field. Ramirez has...

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Predicting three stars for Ravens at Saints

Some sports name three stars of the game after the game. I'll do that one better: I'm going to name them before the Ravens even play. These will be the three stars of the game when the Ravens travel to the site of their Super Bowl XLVII win in New Orleans to face the Saints on Monday Night Football.

1. Quarterback Drew Brees

Stop me if you've heard this before, but the Saints are ridiculously good at home in prime time. A lot of that has to do with Brees, who is equally ridiculous on the ESPN-broadcasted weeknight stage. In his last six Monday Night Football games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome — all victories — Brees has completed nearly 75 percent of his passes and thrown 23 touchdowns with just two interceptions. With the Ravens' patchwork secondary offering little resistance, he could be in line for another big day.

The Saints might be floundering below .500, but Brees is on pace for nearly 5,000 yards and more than 30 touchdowns on the season. Coach Sean Payton might have to rely...

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Joe Flacco, wife Dana expecting third child in January

For Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, a possible return to the playoffs won’t be the only thing he has to look forward to this coming January. Flacco told the team’s website that his wife, Dana, is expecting the couple’s third child that month.

The Flaccos already have two sons, and a third child will put Flacco well on his way to five, which he told the team website was his goal.

Flacco played the 2013 home opener against the Cleveland Browns after his second son, Daniel, was born an hour before the game. His first son, two-year-old, Stephen, was born during minicamp in 2012.  

Perhaps a more immediate concern is the parental proclivity for illness when children are concerned. Flacco was stuffy for the Week 10 win over the Tennessee Titans, after which he’d said he picked up an illness from his children.

He also missed a practice in mid-September due to illness, a rarity for the durable franchise quarterback.

The AFC playoffs begin the weekend of Jan. 3.

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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Ravens second running back could emerge through short-yardage running

As the Ravens returned to practice Wednesday in full pads for the first time since their win over the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 9, the jostling on the running back depth chart started up yet again.

Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said entering the bye week that Justin Forsett has established himself as the No. 1 running back with his performances, but hasn’t really committed to either Bernard Pierce or rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro as the first back off the bench.

“We’ve been bouncing back and forth between Lorenzo and Bernard,” Kubiak said during the bye week. “Sometimes, it has something to do with special teams, sometimes it has something to do with just feel -- like what type of game we’re going to play, who we’re going to play.

"We’re continuing to look at that. I’m trying to see what Bernard does best [and] what Lorenzo does best. Lorenzo has had flashes as a young player. Bernard has had some flashes, too, [but] missed some time with health. We’re going to need them all.”

Pierce...

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