Giants

Posey no speed demon, but pleased with baserunning

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Posey no speed demon, but pleased with baserunning

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Buster Posey tested his left ankle by running bases on a back field Tuesday morning, and it was clear he felt good about the results.

Asked what percentage effort he was giving, Posey ribbed a reporter by turning the question around.

"How hard do you think I was running?" he said, smiling.

OK, Posey won't pretend his top speed will trigger any sonic booms this season. He finally estimated he was running at 60 to 70 percent. Significantly, he hit the bag with both feet as he ran to first base, then practiced going first-to-third and second-to-home.

Posey had been running curves but hadn't taken the sharper angles around the bases for more than a week.

REWIND: EXTRAS -- Posey's baserunning still a concern

"There was definitely a significant improvement today from then," he said. "It's how my rehab has gone. When I challenge it to do more things, it progressively gets better and better each time I do it."

Posey is expected to run bases again on Wednesday; it was a good sign that he pushed it Tuesday morning after running curves the previous night.

The Giants could use him as a designated hitter as early as Friday. But Posey won't play until he and the Giants are confident and comfortable he can handle all aspects of the game in an uncontrolled environment without hesitation.

"When you're playing the game, you've got to play the game," he said. "So much of my game is instincts, anyway. When you're out there, your instincts will take over."

Those instincts will include hitting the bag in stride -- whether that's with his good ankle or not.

"In a perfect world, I'd hit it with my right foot every time," Posey said. "But that's not going to happen. ... You want to stay in stride regardless of whether it's right or left.

"I'm happy I've been able to do baseball activities. We knew from the time I was injured (May 25) that bases would be the last thing to come. We've been lucky everything has gone as smoothly as it has."

Posey acknowledged he was "itching to get in a game. At the same time, we've played four. Today's the fifth. So there's still plenty of time."

Dusty Baker out as Nationals manager

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USATI

Dusty Baker out as Nationals manager

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Nationals say manager Dusty Baker won’t be back next season.

The team announced the move Friday.

Baker led the Nationals to the NL East title in each of his two years with the club. But Washington lost its NL Division Series both times.

His contract expired at the end of this season.

Dodgers crush Cubs in Game 5 to reach 2017 World Series

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USATSI

Dodgers crush Cubs in Game 5 to reach 2017 World Series

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO -- Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

Fueled by Hernandez's home run trilogy, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are finally going to the World Series.

Hernandez homered three times and drove in seven runs, Kershaw breezed through six crisp innings and Los Angeles ended the Chicago Cubs' title defense with an 11-1 victory in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series on Thursday night.

"It feels good to hear World Series," Kershaw said. "It's been a long time coming for this team."

After years of playoff heartache, there was just no stopping this group of Dodgers. With Kershaw firing away at the top of a deep pitching staff and Justin Turner anchoring a tough lineup, one of baseball's most storied franchises captured its first pennant since Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda managed Los Angeles to its last championship in 1988.

The Dodgers will host the New York Yankees or Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. The Yankees have a 3-2 lead in the ALCS heading into Game 6 at Houston on Friday night, so one more New York win would set up another chapter in an old October rivalry between the Yankees and Dodgers.

The Dodgers made the playoffs eight times in the previous 13 seasons and came up short each time, often with Kershaw shouldering much of the blame. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner took the loss when Los Angeles was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 6 of last year's NLCS at Wrigley Field.

He was just OK in his first two starts in this year's postseason, but Los Angeles' loaded lineup picked him up each time. Backed by Hernandez's powerful show in Chicago, Kershaw turned in an efficient three-hit performance with five strikeouts in his sixth career playoff win - matching Burt Hooton for the franchise record.

When Kenley Jansen retired Willson Contreras on a liner to shortstop for the final out, the party was on. The Dodgers poured out of the dugout and mobbed their dominant closer near the mound, and a small, but vocal group of Los Angeles fans gathered behind the visitor's dugout and chanted "Let's go Dodgers! Let's go Dodgers!"