The Washington Nationals released veteran right-handers Joe Nathan and former Oriole Matt Albers Monday, a move that felt inevitable from the moment the Nationals added Joe Blanton to their bullpen mix. Now, Neal Cotts, Jacob Turner and former Orioles Vance Worley and Jeremy Guthrie are the only nonroster pitchers left in camp.
Nathan's deal included an opt-out clause, and he had until Monday to exercise it. Knowing that, the Nationals notified him Monday morning that they would not have room for them in their bullpen.
"It was basically just a matter of room here, and nothing more I could have done," Nathan said. "… It was a good spring, a good test for me. They definitely worked me, kept me busy. That's what Mike [Maddux] promised me when I came in. He lived up to that. So I appreciate that. Because that's going to help me down the road now trying to get on with another team."
Nathan had a 3.86 ERA in 12 spring appearances. His fastball sat at 91-92 miles per hour, velocity Dusty Baker called "plenty" as he shared his belief that Nathan "definitely" showed enough to earn a big league job. That job will not be with the Nationals, who seemed like they might have openings early in spring training, but are fighting overpopulation now.
"I think when I signed on here, a couple things changed that really tightened up this pen to make it deeper," Nathan said. "… you look around, you get to camp and you go, 'Wow, these guys are pretty stocked in the bullpen.' Everyone talks about the pen being the weakness. They're pretty deep."
Albers also fell victim to the number crunch, though his numbers were among the best in camp. The right-hander did not allow a run in any of his 10 appearances and struck out six in 11 2/3 innings. While Nathan seems certain to seek work elsewhere, Baker expressed optimism that Albers would remain in the Nationals' system, though his immediate status remains uncertain.
— Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
Women's college basketball
Maryland's Jones, Walker-Kimbrough named All-Americans
Maryland women's basketball senior center Brionna Jones (Aberdeen) was named a first-team Associated Press All-American on Monday, while senior guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough earned third-team honors. Jones averaged 19.9 points and 10.9 rebounds per game for the Terps, and set the program's single-season scoring record (697) in their 77-63 loss Saturday to Oregon in the NCAA tournament regional semifinals. She is tied for first in field-goal percentage nationally (69.0) this season and ranks second in double doubles (25). "It definitely means a lot to me, just to see all the hard work I've put in over the years, seeing how it's played out in my senior season," Jones told the AP. "I'm really excited to have this honor and share it with my teammates. This is something I strived for. I worked hard. Coming into the season I was talking to coach, telling her everything I wanted to accomplish, and this is definitely one of the things I wanted to push myself to do." Joining Jones on the first team were Washington's Kelsy Plum, South Carolina's A'ja Wilson, and Connecticut's Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson. Walker-Kimbrough averaged 18.8 points per game on 52.5 percent shooting, including 45.0 percent from beyond the arc. She and Jones are two of 14 players named to the Wooden Award National Ballot and two of 10 ESPNW All-Americans.
Terps make top six for Gonzaga (D.C.) guard Hubb
The Maryland men's basketball team has made the cut for another of its top Class of 2018 targets. Gonzaga (D.C.) junior guard recruit Prentiss Hubb announced Sunday that he had cut his list to six schools: Syracuse, Virginia, Villanova, Notre Dame, Kansas and Maryland. The 6-foot-2 Hubb is rated the No. 35 player overall and the No. 4 shooting guard in his class, according to 247Sports.com's composite rankings. This past season, he helped lead a talented Gonzaga team to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament and Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament titles. He's classmates and teammates at the Washington school with Will Turgeon, the son of Terps coach Mark Turgeon.
NFL: Former Ravens and current Chicago Bears wide receiver Deonte Thompson has testified in the double-murder trial of ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez. Thompson, who also played for the New England Patriots, played football with Hernandez at Florida. Thompson testified Monday about a Florida party he invited Hernandez to in February 2013. Hernandez smiled when Thompson referred to him as "my guy." Thompson, then with the Ravens, had just won the Super Bowl. Thompson said he remembers Hernandez introducing Alexander Bradley as "my homie" and said they appeared to be good friends. Prosecutors say Hernandez shot Bradley days later because he feared Bradley would tell authorities he saw Hernandez kill two men in Boston in July 2012. Defense lawyers say Bradley shot the men over a drug deal.
Men's college lacrosse: The NCAA released its first look at the RPI rankings for the 2017 season, and Maryland and Johns Hopkins are both in the Top 10. The Terps (5-2) are ranked No. 8, and the Blue Jays (5-3) are No. 10. They are ahead of North Carolina (No. 11, 5-4) Villanova (No. 13, 5-4) and Army (No. 18, 8-1) for at-large berths in the NCAA tournament. Notre Dame (5-1) is atop the rankings and is followed by Denver (6-2), Syracuse (6-1), and Hofstra (8-0). Among area programs, Towson (4-3) is ranked No. 21, UMBC (3-5) is No. 27, Loyola Maryland (5-4) is No. 39, Navy (4-6) is No. 44, and Mount St. Mary's (2-5) is No. 47. The RPI (Rating Percentage Index) is a numerical system weighing a team's winning percentage, strength of schedule and opponents' strength of schedule.
Women's college bowling: Bowie State earned their third straight Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament title Sunday, defeating Fayetteville State, 4-2. Senior Ashley Wade and redshirt junior Sierra Davis were named Co-Most Valuable Players of the tournament. Sophomore Shannon Weaver was selected to the All-Tournament Team.
College baseball: Coppin State sophomore first baseman Nazier McIlwain was selected Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Week. ... Mount St. Mary's freshman outfielder Jared Urban was selected Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week.
Varsity lacrosse: The annual PNC Lacrosse Invitational, set for April 8 at Loyola Maryland's Ridley Athletic Complex, will have a new twist this year with the first girls game followed by a boys game. The event will open with the McDonogh girls taking on Good Counsel at 5 p.m. In the 7 p.m. nightcap, Loyola Blakefield goes against D.C. power Bullis. The McDonogh girls take a national-record 155-game winning streak into the season. The Eagles are eight-time defending Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champions.