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FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2016 file photo, Matt Wieters, then with the Baltimore Orioles, hits a two-run home run against the New York Yankees, in New York. The Washington Nationals agreed to terms on a one-year contract with a 2018 player option with catcher Matt Wieters on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek, File)

Nationals announce deal with free-agent catcher Matt Wieters

- Associated Press

Wieters said he managed to cut his left wrist severely by breaking a five-gallon glass water container in his garage on Nov. 1, delaying his offseason preparation - and, he thinks, his chance to find a deal in free agency.

FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2017, file photo, New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty, left, and running back LeGarrette Blount hold a Super Bowl trophy during a rally in Boston to celebrate their win over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game in Houston. McCourty and Blount are among a half-dozen players that have turned down an expected invitation to the White House. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File) **FILE**

White House visit snubs nothing new by pro athletes

- Associated Press

While presidents have been snubbed before, six players from the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots took it to another level by preemptively turning down an expected invitation from President Trump. Rest assured, they won’t be the last to mix sports and politics.

Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman throws during a spring training baseball workout Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Ryan Zimmerman fielding advice from all circles

- The Washington Times

A down season last year — the fourth consecutive with a decline at the plate — has the Nationals’ first baseman being advised by his manager and last year’s second-place finisher in MVP voting.

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Cleveland Indians pitcher Ryan Merritt throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning of a spring training baseball game Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Ryan Merritt starts Indians spring training opener

Associated Press

Having made one major league start, Ryan Merritt was summoned from the instructional league in Arizona last October and pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings against Toronto to help Cleveland close out the AL Championship Series.

U of I announces Athletic Hall of Fame class

Associated Press

The University of Illinois is announcing its first Athletic Hall of Fame class that includes legendary football coach and Chicago Bears' owner George Halas, baseball Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau and Harold "Red" Grange, the football star whose fame in the early 20th century rivaled that of Babe Ruth.