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Bochy rejects retaliation talk heading into Game 3

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Bochy rejects retaliation talk heading into Game 3

ST. LOUIS (AP) Giants manager Bruce Bochy expects Marco Scutaro to be in his lineup card for Game 3 of the NL championship series, two days after St. Louis slugger Matt Holliday plowed into the San Francisco second baseman.

``I think so. It feels much better,'' Scutaro said Tuesday night after participating in a workout at Busch Stadium. ``I thought it was going to be worse. Normally, the next day is when you feel it the most.''

Neither seemed too interested in any talk of retaliation.

``What's on our mind is to go out and play our best ball,'' Bochy said Tuesday night, a day before the best-of-seven series resumes at Busch Stadium with the Giants and St. Louis Cardinals tied at one game apiece. ``That's over. You have to move on.''

Scutaro said a shutout from Matt Cain would be perfect and knew nothing about get-even plans. If Matt Holliday approached him before the game, he joked that the Cardinals slugger would be in for a fight.

The recollection of the play was vivid.

``All of a sudden, I just saw this train coming,'' he said. ``I didn't have time to do pretty much anything. I don't even know how I threw the ball to first, but I think I did, huh?''

He added that if Holliday had slid any farther, ``probably you're going to make it to shortstop.''

Results of an MRI exam showed Scutaro has a strained left hip after Holliday's late slide while busting up a double play. Bochy said Scutaro also had a sore left knee, and the manager had planned on holding him out of practice after the team flight arrived from the West Coast.

``We're being hopeful he can go,'' Bochy said. ``I will say he's more optimistic about where he's at right now than when it first happened.''

Cain, who will face fellow 16-game winner Kyle Lohse, said little about any possible animosity. Cain added that he wouldn't be afraid to throw inside against Holliday.

``You've got to go out there and pitch your game,'' Cain said. ``If something gets away from me inside, that's kind of part of the game. You can't have a fear of doing that.''

The 36-year-old Scutaro was an unexpected find for the Giants, batting .362 with 40 runs and 44 RBIs in 61 games after being acquired in late July from the Rockies for a minor league infielder. He's batting .250 with three RBIs in the playoffs, but has stepped it up in the NLCS, going 4 for 8 with two RBIs.

``He's driven in a lot of two-out runs and gotten rallies going for us as well,'' Cain said. ``He's been really, really big for us.''

Bochy reiterated his opinion that Holliday had made an ``illegal slide,'' but said he hadn't talked with St. Louis manager Mike Matheny or anyone else on the Cardinals.

``I don't think there was intent, to be honest, hurting somebody,'' Bochy said. ``But it was late. Marco was behind the bag, he really didn't hit dirt until he got behind the base.

``And the second baseman, he's in a position there where there can be some damage done, as we saw. He came out of this plenty good considering how hard he got hit.''

Added Scutaro: ``I don't know too much about sliding rules, but I think it was a little late. I don't think he was intentionally doing it.''

Scutaro came out of Game 2 in the fifth inning because he was having trouble running, particularly side to side. He said his leg had gone numb, too.

Pain in the left knee developed on Tuesday, and Scutaro said both the hip and knee were stiff during the workout. If he can't start, Ryan Theriot would play second.

St. Louis didn't work out Tuesday after a late-night return flight to the Midwest. The exception was a 49-pitch simulated game by Jake Westbrook, who is recovering from a strained right oblique and is hopeful of rejoining the staff if St. Louis makes it to the World Series.

After Game 2, Holliday said he relayed an apology of sorts to Giants catcher Busty Posey before his next at-bat.

``I told Buster to tell Marco I wish I had started my slide a step earlier,'' Holliday said. ``I wanted him to know I wasn't trying to hurt him. When a guy has to leave the game, I feel bad.''

Holliday also defended his hard-nosed approach.

``When I'm at first and see a grounder to short, I'm just trying to make sure they can't turn the double play,'' Holliday said. ``He was right on second base. I hope he's OK. He's a good guy.''

Back at home, where Holliday will get cheers instead of boos, Matheny said what happened is just part of the game.

``To me, what I see is a guy who I've never seen one act of trying to hurt anybody,'' Matheny said. ``And I would never believe that's what he was trying to do. I know what Matt's intentions were and he was thinking about his team at the time.''

Lohse hopes to end a string of early exits for Cardinals starters in Game 3. He's all about efficiency, avoiding extended at-bats and letting hitters get themselves out.

St. Louis has gone three straight games without a starter getting an out in the fifth inning. Matheny said travel days during the postseason lessen the burden and keep pitchers fresh. Still, he'd rather not keep making those early trips to the mound.

``You have strong starting pitching, you have an opportunity to be successful,'' Matheny said. ``Otherwise, you're fighting an uphill battle all the time and it seems like you're constantly coming back.''

Lohse needed just 87 pitches to complete a strong seven-inning outing his last time out. He did not get a decision in a 2-1 loss to the Nationals in Game 4 of the NL division series. Lohse worked six innings or longer and threw fewer than 100 pitches 11 times during the regular season.

``It's not really a secret: I rely on getting first-pitch strikes, getting ahead of the guys and making them hit my pitch,'' Lohse said. ``That's my version of pitching to contact. I'm not out there trying to strike guys out. I want them out in three or four pitches and move on.''

He'll try not to carry any extra burden into this start.

``We've had our ups and downs as the rotation goes,'' Lohse said. ``You can't put more pressure on yourself to go out there and do more. I can't go out there and try to throw seven innings all at once.''

Cain was ex-Cardinals manager Tony La Russa's choice as the NL All-Star game starter in July. The right-hander hasn't gone deep in either of his postseason starts, giving up six runs over 10 2-3 innings.

Cain struggled against the Cardinals this year, going 1-1 with a 6.94 ERA in two starts, and is 2-3 with a 4.94 ERA overall in eight starts.

Cain recalled a start in 2006 or '07 when Albert Pujols ``took me to Big Mac Land.''

``I haven't had a ton of starts in this ballpark,'' Cain said. ``I think the biggest thing is just making good pitches, and at times I didn't make good pitches against these guys.''

The Giants' probable pitchers for Games 4 and 5 remain ``TBA'' for now according to Bochy, who said he'd reveal his choices after Game 3 depending on who he used in that game.

``I have not named a starter, really, because I don't have to right now,'' Bochy said. ``That's my biggest reason. And we'll see what happens tomorrow.''

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Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

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USA TODAY Sports

Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

Defenseman Jakub Jerabek is really happy about the opportunity to play with the Washington Capitals, but it could have come at a better time. The trade came with his parents already on their way from the Czech Republic to visit him.

“It was crazy days past three days because I had my parents on the way to Montreal and they didn't know so it was a big surprise for them,” Jerabek told reporters Saturday after his first skate with the team.

A native of the Czech Republic, Jerabek signed his first NHL contract with the Montreal Canadiens in May 2017. After spending some time in the AHL and struggling to consistently earn a spot in the Canadiens’ lineup, he knew a trade was possible.

“My family, maybe we expected some trade. When its come with Caps and it was Washington, I was really happy.”

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Jerabek said he came into the NHL with no expectations and was simply happy for the opportunity, but it is fair to wonder if he was not just the least bit frustrated with how he was utilized by Montreal.

For a player with experience playing for the national team, the Czech league and the KHL, getting only 25 games with a bad Montreal team seems a bit low.

“In first two weeks, I didn't know what's going on because the coaches just told me that I played well, but we just make some competition between the [defensemen] and that I have to wait for my next chance,” Jerabek said. “It was hard, but now I'm happy down here.”

Washington now offers a very different opportunity. In need of help on the blue line, Jeraebek has the chance to earn consistent playing time for a team on pace to reach the postseason.

Jerabek will not play in Saturday’s game against Buffalo, but he was hopeful he would be in the lineup for Monday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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For now, Jerabek and head coach Barry Trotz are unclear as to what his ultimate role on the team will be. With eight defensemen now on the roster, Trotz cautioned any lineup decision could not be rushed because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the other players.

“You always look at chemistry and all that with your group depending how high that player goes up the lineup, it affects different people,” Trotz said. “In a forward group, if you get a guy that you all of a sudden stick on the first line, there's four other guys that are bumped down and one guy's bumped out.”

The addition of Jerabek, however, offers the Caps another defenseman who can quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone, something the team has struggled with immensely throughout the season. Though he shoots left, he also said he is comfortable playing on the right said and has played there regularly over the past few years. That provides the lineup with some flexibility on the third pair behind Matt Niskanen and John Carlson.

As for Jerabek’s parents, they will be arriving in Washington on Saturday.

“I tried to figure out the situation with them to get them to here and they will come today,” he said. “So I'm really happy.”

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

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The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

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Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

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