Blast rallies past Syracuse, clinches playoff berth
The visiting Blast scored the last three goals to defeat the Syracuse Silver Knights, 12-10, on Friday night, clinching a Major Indoor Soccer League playoff spot and moving into a first-place tie. Trailing 10-6 in the third quarter after Syracuse's Neto scored on a restart, Baltimore (11-3) countered quickly and got a short-handed tap-in by Patrick Healey on an assist from Marco Mangione to get within two points at 11:02. Mike Lookingland tied the score on a pass from Diego Zuniga at 13:31, then Lookingland found Max Ferdinand in the box for a goal at 12:10 of the fourth quarter. Lookingland finished with three points, and William Vanzela made 26 saves. The Blast improved to 11-3 overall and 4-2 on the road. Syracuse fell to 9-6.
Blast 12 Syracuse 10
Blast 2 2 6 2 — 12
Syracuse 4 4 2 0 — 10
Blast-Lucas Roque (unassisted) 2:32; Syracuse - Nate Bourdeau (Slavisa Ubiparapovic) 9:10; Syracuse - Machel Millwood (Bozidar Jelovac) 15:00
Blast - J.T. Noone (Max Ferdinand) 0:10; Syracuse - Nelson Santana (Slavisa Ubiparapovic) 7:37; Syracuse - Nelson Santana (restart) (unassisted) 13:00
Blast - Lucio Gonzaga (Marco Mangione) 2:02; Syracuse - Neto (restart) (Slavisa Ubiparapovic) 7:27; Blast - Patrick Healey (short-handed) (Marco Mangione) 11:02; Blast - Mike Lookingland (Diego Zuniga) 13:31
Blast - Max Ferdinand (powerplay) (Mike Lookingland) 12:10
Power-plays: Blast 1-for-1. Syracuse 0-for-1. Shots on goal: Blast 28, Syracsue 36. Goalies: Blast, Vanzela, 31 saves. Syracuse, O’Quinn 22.
Report: Machado can participate in some baseball activities
Third baseman Manny Machado has been cleared to return to some baseball activities, ESPN reported Friday night. Machado, who tore his medial patellofemoral ligament in September, reportedly visited Los Angeles Dodgers team orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Friday to have his October surgery re-evaluated. Based on his evaluation of Machado's leg strength and overall recovery, ElAttrache told ESPN that he cleared Machado to return to certain baseball activities. "He can hit, he can field ground balls, he can run," ElAttrache said. According to the report, there remains no timetable for his return to action.
Infielder signed: The Orioles signed veteran infielder Alex Gonzalez to a minor league deal with a spring training invitation, the club confirmed. Gonzalez, who turns 37 in February, hit .177 with a .203 on-base percentage in 118 plate appearances through 41 games with the Milwaukee Brewers last year. He is a veteran of 15 major league seasons and was an All-Star for the Florida Marlins in 1999. He has a career batting average of .246 in 1,600 major league games with six teams.
FanFest: Infielder Jonathan Schoop will not make it to FanFest today because of an expired passport. He is the only player previously announced as attending that is not expected at the event. Schoop was supposed to sign autographs at two sessions, including at 12:40 p.m. with Nick Markakis and Josh Stinson. Wei-Yin Chen will replace Schoop at that session. Schoop also was scheduled to sign at station 2 at 4:40 p.m. However, the rest of that scheduled group — Machado, Mike Belfiore and Larry Sheets — will sign. Schoop, a native of Curacao, is not expected to miss the start of spring training.
Reports: Hammel to Cubs and Betemit to Rays
The Chicago Cubs agreed to a one-year deal with free agent Jason Hammel, the Orioles' Opening Day starter last season, according to reports. Hammel will receive $6 million, with an additional $1 million in incentives, pending a physical. Hammel, 31, started last season 7-2 before dropping his final six decisions, missing five weeks with a forearm injury and winding up in the bullpen. He finished 7-8 record and 4.97 ERA and has career record of 49-59 with the Orioles, Rays and Colorado Rockies, with a 4.80 ERA. Hammel figures to move into the No. 4 slot behind Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson, with former Oriole Jake Arrieta the favorite to win the fifth spot in spring training competition with Brooks Raley, Justin Grimm and a few others.
Rays: Former Oriole Wilson Betemit agreed to a minor league deal with Tampa Bay, CBSSports.com reported. The Orioles released Betemit in September. He had missed most of the season after tearing a knee ligament in March.