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18.07.2019 01:00
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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Washington Nationals found a reliable pitcher for the ninth inning, acquiring All-Star closer Mark Melancon from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.Washington sent reliever Felipe Rivero and pitching prospect Taylor Hearn to the Pirates for Melancon, who supplants struggling Jonathan Papelbon as Washingtons closer. Melancon is expected to join the Nationals on Sunday for their series finale at San Francisco.Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Dusty Baker called Melancon on Saturday. Both Rizzo and Baker said they were impressed that Melancon told them he planned to immediately check in with Papelbon.It says a lot about his character and makeup, and that was a big reason why he was such an attractive target to us, Rizzo said. His performance level is great, but his makeup and character are a lot of the reason that we went out and got him. That tells me hes team-first and Mark Melancon second.A 31-year-old right-hander, Melancon has converted 30 of 33 saves with a 1.51 ERA this season and joins his fifth organization in eight years. He is making $9.65 million and is eligible for free agency after the World Series.Once considered a possible successor to Mariano Rivera when he broke into the majors with the New York Yankees in 2009, Melancon said during the All-Star break he knew a trade was possible, given his contract status.The move comes as the Pirates find themselves on the fringe of the wild-card race. While general manager Neal Huntington stressed the team remains committed to reaching the playoffs for a fourth straight season, the opportunity to deal Melancon -- who led the majors with 51 saves in 2015 and had 33 in 14 -- for two young arms with friendly long-term contracts was too good to pass up.Rivero is under team control through 2021 and hit 100 mph on the radar gun regularly during an extended relief appearance against the Pirates this month. If Melancon left as a free agent, Pittsburgh would have received a high draft pick as compensation.We knew full well that holding Mark Melancon would have been a good return, but at the end of the day we felt this was a better return for us, Huntington said.This was Melancons fourth season in Pittsburgh after he also pitched for Houston, Boston and the Yankees.He will move his family once more -- his wife and three kids.This has been a blast. Pittsburgh has a special place in heart. My family has been treated so well, Melancon said. The experiences weve had, just running through my mind all the wild-card games, just big games that weve been in. From where we started, to where we are now, it is an honor. It is an honor to be a Pirate. We got to go through those experiences together. My teammates are my best friends.Papelbon is 2-4 with a 4.41 ERA and has allowed eight runs and seven hits in his past three outing. Baker wouldnt say earlier Saturday whether Papelbon still was his closer. Baker pulled Papelbon from a game Thursday in the ninth inning.Rivero, a 25-year-old lefty, is 0-3 with a 4.53 ERA this season. Hearn is a 21-year-old lefty who was the Nationals fifth-round pick in the 2015 amateur draft.The Pirates will plug Rivero into a seventh-inning role, with Neftali Feliz working the eighth and Tony Watson in the ninth. Watson was an All-Star in 2014 in a set-up role and will take over a position where Pittsburgh has enjoyed plenty of success during its rise from mediocrity. Each of its previous three closers: Melanon, Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan, made the All-Star team wearing black-and-gold.Manager Clint Hurdle said he will miss Melancon but is confident in his bullpen options.I love the guy, love the family. Happy we had him. He helped us, I believe we helped him, Hurdle said. We are not giving up anything, we arent lowering the bar. We are not settling. Our organization made a baseball trade, with confidence that our bullpen is going to be in a good place. We are going to be able to compete this year, we are going to be able to add to our competition level in the years to come.Huntington hinted the team may try to take the money it will save by not paying the remaining portion of Melancons contract and use it before Mondays trade deadline. The Pirates need help in the starting rotation, which has been forced to turn to rookies Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow quickly as established players Jeff Locke, John Niese and Juan Nicasio faltered.Also Saturday, Washington recalled right-handed pitcher Reynaldo Lopez from Triple-A Syracuse.The Associated Press contributed to this report.Ray Lewis Youth Jersey . They had already blown a double-digit lead, fans were hitting the exits, and a long seven-game road trip waited at the end. Joe Flacco Womens Jersey . -- Whether Jeremy Hill deserves a prominent role in LSUs offence this early in the season is a matter for debate. . Kiriasis and brakeman Franziska Fritz finished two runs in one minute 55.41 seconds -- a mere 0.01 seconds ahead of Meyers and Lolo Jones, who likely bolstered her Olympic hopes by helping give USA-1 a huge push in the second heat. Trace McSorley Womens Jersey . U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield in Manhattan agreed that lawyers on both sides could make their formal requests by Nov. 8. A hearing is scheduled for a day earlier. Jordan Siev, a lawyer for Rodriguez, wrote in a joint letter to the judge from lawyers on both sides that MLB lawyers planned to ask that the lawsuit be dismissed. Justice Hill Youth Jersey . -- The Sacramento Kings are set to become the first major professional sports franchise to accept Bitcoin virtual currency for ticket and merchandise purchases.One-time Epsom Handicap prospect Marenostro will use his home track at Rosehill as the setting to kick off a campaign aimed at the Group Two Villiers Stakes.Trainer Chris Waller decided to lower his sights to the summer feature after Marenostro performed admirably but failed to make his case to be a Group One horse.The gelding resumes in the November Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday and is likely to go to the Listed Festival Stakes at Rosehill (1500m) on December 3 before tackling the Villiers (1600m) at Randwick on December 17.He did a good job last prep but we identified that hes not really an Epsom type of horse so we put him away and had a look at the Villiers, Waller said.Marenostro finished second behind stablemate McCreery in the Listed Rowley Mile in August before being sent for a short spell.He runs well fresh, Waller said.Admittedly theyve been in lesser grade races. Hes up at a higher grade now carrying more weight which makes it a bit harder to win first-up.Waller said Marenostros winning strike rate of more than 30 per cent from 32 starts gave him a good chance on Saturday with stablemate Religify also set to go around in the race.Religify hhas been a beaten favourite at his last two starts but has only missed the placings in one-third of his 21 races.ddddddddddddes going well but the handicapper has got hold of him through his consistency, Waller said.Religify returns to 1400m after being tried over 1550m at Canterbury where Red Excitement, who he meets again on Saturday, had his measure.Hes going back in distance and hes drawn 14 so thats a bit of a negative, Waller said.Hell roll across, see how he ends up. He just needs a bit of luck.American import Closing Bell headlines the stables five runners in the November Topaz (1900m).The Group One-placed entire was bought by Newgate Farm and will have his second run for Waller after finishing sixth in a Listed race at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day over 1800m.We would like to prepare him for a serious attempt at a Group One race at some stage, hopefully in Sydney if not in Queensland over 2000 metres, Waller said.Index Linked, Magicool, Beyond Thankful and Dance Of Heroes give Waller five hopes in the 12-horse Topaz field. ' ' '

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