Nationals

Angels ship RHP Ervin Santana to Royals in trade

Angels ship RHP Ervin Santana to Royals in trade

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Angels traded pitcher Ervin Santana to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday for minor league left-hander Brandon Sisk.

The Angels exercised Santana's $13 million option for next season before sending the 2008 All-Star and $1 million to the Royals.

``We're proud to have him, and he certainly fits with what we're doing in 2013,'' Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore said.

Santana has been a fixture in Los Angeles' rotation since 2005, going 96-80 with a 4.33 ERA while starting at least 23 games in eight consecutive seasons. He has spent his entire career with the Angels, who signed him as a free agent in 2000 and nurtured his development into a solid starter of 96 games over the past three years.

But Santana struggled for much of last season, going 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA while giving up a major league-worst 39 homers despite significant improvements over the final two months.

``I have to realize that this is a business,'' Santana said, citing Kauffman Stadium as one of his favorite ballparks in the majors. ``I just have to accept it and move on. It's going to be hard because I've known my teammates for a long time, but now I'm going to have new teammates. I can't wait to meet them in person and hang out.''

Santana's woes and Dan Haren's similarly slow start were major factors in the Angels' midseason struggles, prompting them to make a trade for Zack Greinke and ultimately keeping them out of the playoffs for the third straight season.

``I don't have any physical problems,'' Santana said. ``Everything was good. I just have bad luck. I was pitching good, and I didn't have the opportunity to win a lot of games.''

With rising starter Garrett Richards already slated for the Angels' rotation in 2013 alongside ace Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and hopefully Greinke, Santana has long realized he might be headed out of Orange County.

``Ervin had a lot of really great moments with the Angels, and has always been an Angel,'' said Los Angeles GM Jerry Dipoto, who just finished his first season with the club. ``This is just the start of something new for Ervin, and we wish him well.''

In their annual hunt for starting pitching, the Royals made a similar deal last November for Jonathan Sanchez, giving up Melky Cabrera for the San Francisco starter who was expected to anchor their rotation. But Sanchez was a complete flameout, going 1-6 with a 7.76 ERA in 12 starts before getting designated for assignment and eventually traded to Colorado.

Moore wasn't shy about dealing for Santana with just a year left on his contract, saying he hadn't discussed a long-term extension with the right-hander.

``We were able to scout Ervin during the entire year, specifically the second half,'' Moore said. ``His August and September were really good. From a statistical standpoint, he was very good.''

Santana, who will turn 30 in December, has shown moments of brilliance in his career, which includes three seasons with at least 16 victories and an All-Star selection. He threw a no-hitter in 2011 and a one-hitter last season, yet confounded the Angels with his inconsistencies in 2012.

``Ervin struggled out of the chute,'' Dipoto said. ``I think his struggles were more relative to his command than his physical stuff. Once he determined that his issue was command, he throttled back his fastball a little bit and tried to gain command of his slider and pitched very well for us. To say Ervin's season was a failure would be unfair. Ervin's season was very uneven, and he took it down the stretch and gave us an opportunity to be in the race until the final week of the season.''

The Angels are more interested in developing Richards and attempting to re-sign Greinke, who went 6-2 with a 3.53 ERA during his impressive but brief stint with Los Angeles.

The Angels haven't announced whether they'll pick up Haren's $15.5 million option for next season before Friday's deadline, and Dipoto gave no hints Wednesday. The club is thought to be shopping Haren, who had a career-worst 4.33 ERA and spent time on the disabled list for the first time.

Sisk spent last season with Triple-A Omaha, going 3-2 with a 2.54 ERA and eight saves. He's pitching in the Venezuelan winter league and has never pitched in the majors, but Dipoto is eager to see what the 27-year-old can do in spring training.

Los Angeles could use any bullpen help after a mostly dismal season.

``He's always had the deceptive ability to miss bats,'' Dipoto said. ``He's done it at every minor league level, and hasn't had the opportunity to showcase it in the big leagues. We don't know if that's going to happen. Worst-case scenario is we're building much-needed depth and building toward creating a little bigger fishnet (in the minors).''

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Cubs drop protest, but not stance about Sean Doolittle's delivery

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Cubs drop protest, but not stance about Sean Doolittle's delivery

WASHINGTON -- Sunday afternoon’s discussions still revolved around Saturday night’s close, which Washington manager Davey Martinez referred to as a “fiasco” on Sunday.

Chicago manager Joe Maddon started a chaotic situation when he popped out of the dugout following Sean Doolittle’s first pitch in the ninth inning Saturday. Maddon contended Doolittle’s “toe-tap” was an illegal delivery, akin to when Chicago reliever Carl Edwards Jr. tried to add a pause in spring training, but was told the move was illegal.

The umpires told him, and Doolittle, the delivery was legal. Chicago filed a protest with the league. After consulting with Major League Baseball and MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer, Joe Torre, the Cubs dropped their protest Sunday morning.

A point of differentiation is whether the pitcher is taking a second step. Umpires previously determined Edwards was taking a second step. They determined Doolittle was not. This is a judgment call for the umpires and is not reviewable.

Official Baseball Rule 5.07(a) states in part: “The pitcher may not take a second step toward home plate with either foot or otherwise reset his pivot foot in his delivery of the pitch. If there is a runner, or runners, on base it is a balk under Rule 6.02(a); if the bases are unoccupied it is an illegal pitch under Rule 6.02(b).”

The league, according to Maddon, said there is a difference between Edwards placing his full foot on the ground and Doolittle grazing the mound with a cleat when he delivered. Maddon continued to not agree with the interpretation.

“We went through the whole process,” Maddon said. “Our guys in the office spoke to MLB and I talked to Mr. Torre. The whole thing I wanted to really get done was protect Carl. I really didn’t anticipate a whole lot to be done with it. Even though I still don’t agree with the conclusion, because I think it’s exactly what Carl did, only a different version of it. But the point was, I would not be a good parent if I had not spoken up for my guy. And that’s what I was doing last night and, again, it’s just to eliminate any gray area there just for future because it’s going to happen again down the road somewhere and you’re just trying to delineate what is right and what is wrong. In my mind, it wasn’t a judgment call, I thought it was black-and-white. It wasn’t gray.”

Maddon said multiple times that Doolittle tapped with his toe in addition to grazing the mound, both of which, he contended, were not legal or different than Edwards' attempt at deception.

The congenial Doolittle was steamed postgame Saturday and remained irritated Sunday. Saturday, he took multiple shots at Maddon during his postgame commentary. He also taunted the idea when throwing warmup pitches while Maddon argued with umpires by making exaggerated kicks with his leg and multiple stops with his foot. Doolittle switched to a delivery without any stops -- one he often uses -- after the protest as a way to show Maddon he didn’t need the tweak to be successful.

“In that moment, he's not trying to do anything other than rattle me and it was kind of tired,” Doolittle said Saturday. “I don't know. Sometimes he has to remind people how smart he is and how much he pays attention to the game and stuff like that. He put his stamp on it for sure.

"I actually have to thank him. After they came out the second, the [Kyle] Schwarber at-bat, I threw two fastballs and a slider and a fastball to [Kris] Bryant and those were probably the best ones I've thrown in a while. I don't do the tap when there's somebody on base so I can keep my pickoff move available if I need it. I've had a lot of traffic recently, so I've had practice doing it, so it wasn't like a huge adjustment to me. I don't know. In a way, I kind of need to thank him."

Asked Sunday if Doolittle’s comments were relayed to him, Maddon smiled and said yes.

“Listen, I have no issue with that whatsoever,” Maddon said. “We’re all emotional. I’ve said a lot of things I didn’t want to say years ago -- even in this ballpark. I think if he understood the entire context, he might have had a different opinion. Even if he was the manager himself -- if he was me -- or if he was being protected by his manager under similar circumstances, I think his stance may be different.”

No one -- the league, Maddon or Doolittle -- changed their perspective a day later.

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues shutout Sharks 5-0 to win Game 5

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues shutout Sharks 5-0 to win Game 5

The St. Louis Blues won a decisive Game 5 against the San Jose Sharks 5-0, pushing the Sharks to the brink of elimination.

The Blues are now one win away from their first Stanley Cup Final since the 1969-70 season, where they lost to the Boston Bruins in a sweep.

St. Louis started the scoring early when Oskar Sundqvist netted his second goal of the series in the first five minutes of the game. 

Jaden Schwartz then tallied his first goal of the game off a juicy rebound in front of Martin Jones to start the scoring in the second period. It was Schwartz's 10th goal of the playoffs, which tied him for third all-time in Blues history for goals in the postseason.

Vladimir Tarasenko added to the Blues lead off a penalty shot. He's the first player in Blues franchise history to score a penalty shot goal in the playoffs.

Schwartz then added two more goals in the third period for a hat-trick. The first came on a 5-on-3 power play advantage off a scramble in front of the net, and the second came from a backdoor one-timer pass from Tarasenko.

Schwartz now has 12 goals these playoffs, and it's his second hat-trick of the playoffs.

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington recorded 21 saves for a shutout, and he's the first rookie goalie to accomplish that feat for the Blues.

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