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Giants don't tender contract to closer Wilson

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Giants don't tender contract to closer Wilson

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Brian Wilson and his overgrown black beard might be headed out of the Bay Area.

The San Francisco Giants declined to tender a one-year contract to the closer by Friday night's deadline, making him a free agent as he recovers from a second ligament-replacement surgery on his right elbow.

Wilson was the 2010 major league saves leader with 48, but made only two appearances for the World Series champions this year after experiencing elbow trouble in April. He underwent reconstructive Tommy John surgery April 19, his second such procedure on his pitching elbow after also having it done while in college at LSU in 2003. Dr. James Andrews performed both operations. Wilson missed the team's run to its second championship in three years.

The 30-year-old Wilson, who earned $8.5 million during his injury-shortened 2012 season, would be due to make at least $6.8 million next year under the rule limiting pay cuts to a maximum of 20 percent. By letting him go free, the Giants can sign him for a lower price, though the pitcher has apparently already hinted he will look for work elsewhere.

Bobby Evans, the team's vice president of baseball operations, said the Giants had declined to offer Wilson a contract - a move that was hardly unexpected given the uncertainty surrounding when the right-hander might be ready.

In addition, San Francisco saw during the club's latest postseason run that Sergio Romo was a reliable ninth-inning option in Wilson's place.

``I like our choices, including him being one, as we start the regular season,'' general manager Brian Sabean said earlier Friday.

When asked whether Romo showed enough during his impressive playoff run to be the regular closer, Sabean said: ``That's tough to answer because of the off days.''

Wilson has spent all seven of his major league seasons with San Francisco after the Giants selected him in the 24th round of the 2003 draft. He got the final out in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series at Texas to clinch the franchise's first championship since moving West in 1958.

Wilson finished 6-4 with a 3.11 ERA and 36 saves in 57 appearances in 2011, but was held out down the stretch as a precaution. He had taken all the important steps in his rehab during spring training this year, so the injury caught everybody by surprise.

The three-time All-Star complained of discomfort in the elbow April 13 and was sent for an MRI exam. Wilson threw 32 pitches at Colorado a day earlier while working on back-to-back days, and had to be checked on once. Athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said Wilson felt something in the elbow that day, then told the team a day later.

Messages left for Wilson and his agent went unreturned.

``It's really a snail's pace at this time,'' Sabean said of Wilson's rehab regimen. ``Not a ton expected. He's throwing 60 feet flat ground.''

Sabean said how the rest of the bullpen might shape up depends on whether the Giants are able to re-sign second baseman Marco Scutaro and center fielder Angel Pagan - of which he said, ``We don't have a deal, so that tells you we're not close.''

``We have fallback positions,'' Sabean said. ``We've created some options if one or both doesn't decide to sign with us.''

And Sabean didn't seem convinced those negotiations would move fast, meaning the brass could return from next week's winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., still in flux on those two free agents. Sabean has said they are two of his top priorities after left-hander Jeremy Affeldt received an $18 million, three-year contract Nov. 14.

That was a key first step to keeping the talented bullpen together.

``We may be prepared to go with the same group,'' Sabean said of the relievers.

San Francisco's front office has begun internal conversations about a new deal for NL MVP and batting champion Buster Posey that would get the club through his arbitration years or perhaps further.

``We're open to that. He certainly deserves that consideration,'' Sabean said. ``I would think it would be later on.''

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The Redskins fill a need with Da'Ron Payne as their first-round pick

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The Redskins fill a need with Da'Ron Payne as their first-round pick

The Redskins went into the draft with everyone talking about their need to upgrade their defensive line. And despite the presence of two other intriguing defenders on the board, they went with the big guy. 

Da’Ron Payne, a defensive lineman from Alabama, was the name that Roger Goodell read off of the card when the Redskins’ turn came up with the 13thoverall pick in the draft. 

Here is our analysis of Payne from an earlier NBC Sports Washington post about him:

Stuff the run in the middle of the line? Check. Get outside to stop stretch plays? Check. Get after the passer? Check. Yes, Alabama defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne checks all the boxes the Redskins are looking for on the D-line.

He can be the immovable object, taking on double and triple teams, and he also can chase down the quarterback. At 311 pounds he could be the Redskins’ nose tackle in base and move outside in nickel.

At 6-2, 311, the Redskins likely will use Payne in the middle of the line as their nose tackle in their base defense. Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will work with him to improve his pass rushing ability. 

Payne has been talked of as the Redskins pick since early in the draft process. As the draft unfolded, it turned out that there were two defenders, safety Derwin James and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who most analysts had rated considerably above Payne, still on the board. As it turns out, the Redskins apparently made the need pick and went with Payne. 

The Redskins draft an Alabama defensive lineman for the second straight year. Last year they took Crimson Tide defensive tackle Jonathan Allen with the 17th pick in the draft. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

 

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3 stars of the game: Caps yet again blow a late lead, yield Game 1 to Penguins

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3 stars of the game: Caps yet again blow a late lead, yield Game 1 to Penguins

A game that started off with so much hope and promise finished with a sickeningly familiar feeling as the Capitals squandered a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 Game 1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored just 17 seconds in and Alex Ovechkin put the Caps up 2-0 at the start of the third, but three the Penguins responded with three third-period goals to stun the Caps.

Here are the three stars of the game.

3 Stars of Capital vs. Penguins Game 1:

1. Jake Guentzel: Guentzel had 22 goals and 48 points in the regular season. Not a bad season by any means, but nothing to suggest he would turn into the second coming of Mario Lemieux in the playoffs again. Geuntzel clearly elevates his game when it comes to the playoffs and boy did he come up big for Pittsburgh. Down 2-0 in the third, Guentzel assisted on Patrik Hornqvist's goal.  Less than three minutes later, Guentzel at the blue line found Sidney Crosby with a cross-ice pass that Crosby was able to easily score on. Then Crosby returned the favor with a shot that Guentzel was able to deflect in for what would be the game-winning goal.

2. Alex Ovechkin: Once again, Ovechkin delivered in a big playoff game and once again, it wasn't enough. Ovechkin floated a pass to Kuznetsov behind the defense that Kuznetsov netted for a goal 17 seconds into the game. At the start of the third period, Ovechkin took a 2-on-1 opportunity and sniped the top corner to put the Caps up 2-0.

Say what you want about how one-sided the Ovechkin-Crosby rivalry is, but you could not come away from this game saying the Caps lost because Ovechkin doesn't perform in big moments. His performance indicated otherwise.

3. Matt Murray: Giving up a goal 17 seconds in is not an auspicious start, but Murray certainly recovered well.

Murray made 32 saves, several of which were of the phenomenal variety. The save of the game came in the second period when Murray extended the arm to deny Devante Smith-Pelly on what looked like an empty-net rebound opportunity. The puck bounced off the glove of Murray’s blocker. Once the Penguins took the 3-2 lead, Murray was absolutely lights out.