Arrelious Benn was happy to get out of Tampa

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Arrelious Benn was happy to get out of Tampa

When most players are asked to describe their reaction to a trade, most say they were surprised.

Arrelious Benn wasn't.

The Eagles last week acquired Benn from Tampa Bay and on Thursday signed the fourth-year wide receiver to a one-year extension through 2014. The 39th overall pick of the 2010 draft, Benn is still waiting to meet the expectations that come with being a second-round pick.

And he knew it wasn't going to happen in Tampa. So when he heard about the trade, Benn was pleased.

"I was excited," he said. "I'm from D.C. Quick ride up the street."

But that's not really why he was excited.

"I wanted to move forward," he said. "I didn't want to be there."

And the feeling was mutual.

"I was expecting [to be on a new team]," he said.

"I just needed a change of scenery. I just needed a fresh start. The situation just wasn't going right."

Benn started nine of 14 games played as a rookie with the Buccaneers, recording 25 catches for 395 yards and two scores. He started all 14 games he played in 2011, but his production increased only moderately -- 30 for 441 and three.

Last season he had four receptions for 26 yards in eight game (one start) before being placed on injured reserve because of knee and shoulder injuries. Or maybe there was more to it.

"My shoulder wasn't an issue," he said. "My knee really wasn't an issue, but things need to be done. I ended up on I.R. I took it. I'm bouncing back."

That said, Benn doesn't deny that injuries have been an issue for him. He suffered a torn ACL in Week 16 of his rookie season, a concussion in 2011 and a sprained MCL last year in training camp.

Regardless of whether he should have been on I.R. or not last year, he blames injuries for his unfulfilled potential.  

"To be honest with you, I don't like my career. I've got to stay healthy," he said. "I've had a problem with injuries. When I was healthy out there, I made plays. I was consistent. The big thing for me is to stay healthy. It's no secret. I know that. I'm going to be honest with myself and just come in here and do what I've got to do. The old [way] wasn't working, so I'm finding new ways to stay healthy -- doing the little things that I've got to do."

Like what?

"Maybe not being so physical -- the little things that I do," the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Benn said. "Go down sometimes. That's pretty much it."

But being physical is a key part of his game.

"Get the ball in my hands, [I'm] a guy that can run after the catch," he said.

Which makes him a candidate to not only play outside -- where he's normally played -- but also in the slot.

"I think I have the skill set to play both," he said. "I think I'm a mismatch in the slot with my speed and size."

That makes him an attractive red zone option, which the Eagles have sorely lacked. They've also lacked a prolific kick returner. Benn can do that, too. Last season he returned 13 kickoffs for 306 yards (average of 23.5) with a long of 55.

But the only way he'll be able to do any of those things is if he stays healthy.

"Injuries were the thing [last year]. That's the past," he said. "I really don't even care too much about it. I'm looking forward. I'm an Eagle now."

And he's healthy:

"I'm as healthy as healthy can be."

Best of MLB: Adam Lind's 3-run homer gives Mariners walk-off win

Best of MLB: Adam Lind's 3-run homer gives Mariners walk-off win

SEATTLE -- Adam Lind hit a game-winning three-run home run in the ninth inning off St. Louis closer Trevor Rosenthal, and the Seattle Mariners rallied for a 4-3 win over the Cardinals on Friday night to snap a six-game losing streak.

The Mariners opened the ninth with a double by Kyle Seager and a walk to Dae-Ho Lee. Lind reached down and drove a 1-1 pitch out to right field for his fourth career walk-off home run. It was the third home run allowed this season by Rosenthal (2-3) and his third blown save.

St. Louis had scored three times in the eighth inning without the help of a base hit. Seattle reliever Joaquin Benoit issued three walks and a hit batter and Kyle Seager's error on Matt Holliday's hard ground ball allowed two runs to score (see full recap).

Tomas, Diamondbacks rally for win over Rockies
DENVER -- Yasmany Tomas homered twice and drove in four runs, Michael Bourn had a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks rallied to beat the Colorado Rockies 10-9 on Friday night.

Jean Segura had three hits and scored the winning run for the Diamondbacks, who have won seven of their last eight.

Tomas' solo shot with one out in the ninth off Carlos Estevez (1-5) tied the game. Segura doubled one out later and Bourn singled him home with a sharp liner to left.

Estevez also got the loss in Arizona's 7-6 win Thursday night.

Tomas hit a three-run homer in Arizona's six-run seventh for his third career multihomer game.

Josh Collmenter (1-0) pitched to one batter in the eighth and Brad Ziegler worked a shaky ninth for his 16th save (see full recap).

Contreras helps Cubs snap 4-game skid
MIAMI -- Rookie Willson Contreras homered and drove in three runs to help the Chicago Cubs break their longest losing streak of the season at four games by beating the Miami Marlins 5-4 Friday night.

Contreras hit a two-run homer in the Cubs' four-run first inning. His RBI single in the seventh put the team with the best record in the majors ahead to stay. He's batting .412 with eight RBIs after seven games in the big leagues.

While Contreras again excelled as a reinforcement for the injury-hampered NL Central leaders, they endured another setback when second baseman Ben Zobrist left the game after he was hit by a pitch on the left ankle.

Four pitchers held the Marlins to two hits, including Justin Bour's grand slam (see full recap).

Flyers do their homework, trade down to draft Russia U-18 C German Rubtsov

Flyers do their homework, trade down to draft Russia U-18 C German Rubtsov

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Were it not for the Russian drug scandal involving its under-18 World Junior squad this year, chances are, German Rubtsov would have been a top-10 NHL draft prospect.

The entire U-18 team was banned by WADA for testing positive for meldonium, a performance enhancer, at this year’s championships in Grand Forks.

Which is why Rubtsov fell in Friday’s draft at First Niagara Center as the Flyers traded down four picks to No. 22 to pluck a kid who was supposedly their best two-way centerman (see story).

“We were caught taking a not-allowed substance and weren’t allowed to go into the tournament,” the 6-foot-1, 174-pound forward said. “Obviously, a disappointment but it is over and I look to the future.

“None of us knew. We had a little glass of juice and tablets and [were] told in the morning to take this because it is good for your health. The coaching staff gave it to us.”

General manager Ron Hextall said the Flyers did extra homework on him because of the scandal.

“We dug deep here in terms of his character,” Hextall said. “I dug deeper than I’ve ever dug. More research on this kid than I’ve ever done. Really good character and team guy.”

Rubtsov, who turns 18 on Monday, does not speak English and used Flyers scout Ken Hoodikoff as his interpreter. Hoodikoff spent much time with Rubtsov this past year.

“We had lots of contact, more than any other team,” Rubtsov said. “Not worried I didn’t go higher. I was hoping to be drafted by the Flyers. I like Philadelphia. All year they kept an eye on me and talked to me. They put a big effort in.”

Rubtsov’s agent is Mark Gandler, who also represents Ivan Provorov. Gandler wants him playing somewhere in North America this season but that could be a long shot.

“He’s got a contract [with Vityaz],” Hextall said. “We’re prepared he’s going to the KHL this year. Not a lot of chance of him coming over here.”

Hextall said even if Rubtsov did come here, he would not be ready, even for the Phantoms.

“I’d like to try to play at the NHL level,” Rubtsov said. “If not, I’ll play wherever they tell me.”

European observers believe were it not for the scandal, Rubtsov might have been a top-10 pick.

“The Russian factor and him not being at the Under-18 was a big platform for him and there were multiple reasons [for sliding down],” Hextall said.

By trading down from No. 18 with Winnipeg, the Flyers missed out on drafting highly-touted Kieffer Bellows, a pure goal scorer.

The club needs goal-scoring wingers. Rubtsov is projected as a solid, all-around centerman.

Scouts say Rubtsov has considerable defensive awareness for such a young age. He likens himself to Evgeni Malkin and does not come from a hockey family background.

“I need to work on my quickness in every which way,” Rubtsov said. “I am a two-way player and pride myself on my hard work.”

Hextall emphasized his speed.

“He’s a really good hockey player, he brings speed,” Hextall said. “He’s got good size. Still 17. Really, really smart and plays the game the right way but pushes the pace.”

Instant Replay: Giants 5, Phillies 4

Instant Replay: Giants 5, Phillies 4

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The Phillies’ bullpen could not hold a one-run lead in the seventh inning and the team suffered its 27th loss in the last 34 games on Friday night.
 
The Phils lost 5-4 after the San Francisco Giants rallied for four runs in the seventh inning.
 
Brandon Belt had the big hit in the inning for the Giants, a three-run double against lefty Elvis Araujo. The Giants added another run in the inning to go up, 5-2. The Phillies rallied for two runs in the eighth, but left the bases loaded in coming up short.
 
The Phillies have fallen to 31-44. The Giants lead the NL West at 48-27.
 
The Giants have sold out 444 consecutive games.
 
Starting pitching report
Any doubt that Zach Eflin’s spot in the rotation was safe was erased as the right-hander pitched six innings and gave up just one unearned run. Eflin scattered five hits, walked none and struck out one. He left with a one-run lead.
 
Since being tagged for nine runs in 2 2/3 innings in his major-league debut at Toronto, Eflin has pitched 11 2/3 innings and given up just two earned runs in two starts.
 
Giants starter Jake Peavy allowed two runs over seven innings for the win.
 
Bullpen report
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin bypassed struggling veteran David Hernandez and handed a 2-1 lead to Severino Gonzalez in the bottom of the seventh. Gonzalez allowed a ground-ball base hit. Mackanin went to Araujo and the Giants countered with pinch-hitter Buster Posey. He hit a playable liner to center field but it clanged off lunging Odubel Herrera’s glove for a single. After a sacrifice bunt and a walk, Belt broke the game wide open.
 
Giants reliever Cory Gearrin allowed two inherited runners to score, but managed to preserve the Giants' lead and leave the bases loaded in the eighth.

Javier Lopez and Santiago Casilla got the final three outs. Casilla loaded the bases with two outs before retiring Tyler Goeddel to end the game.
 
At the plate
Ryan Howard started at first base and drove in the Phillies’ first run with a double. Herrera drove in the Phillies’ second run with a sacrifice fly. Freddy Galvis had an RBI single in the eighth.
 
Maikel Franco doubled and tripled.
 
The Phillies had six extra-base hits. Five came with the bases empty.

The Phils left 11 men on base.
 
Belt had two hits and three RBIs for the Giants. Angel Pagan had three hits and two RBIs.
 
In the field
Howard made an error at first base on the first ball the Giants put in play and it led to an unearned run.
 
Howard made a second fielding error later in the game. It would have resulted in a run if shortstop Freddy Galvis hadn't made a terrific charging play with a man on third to end the inning.
 
Transactions
Reliever Andrew Bailey went on the disabled list and Edubray Ramos was called up to the majors for the first time (see story).
 
Vince Velasquez is ready to return to the rotation early next week. Who will he replace? (see story).
 
Up next
Jeremy Hellickson (4-6, 4.41) opposes Madison Bumgarner (8-3, 1.85) on Saturday night.