Nationals

Chargers begin interviewing GM candidates

Chargers begin interviewing GM candidates

SAN DIEGO (AP) Jimmy Raye, San Diego's director of player personnel, apparently was the first candidate to interview to replace fired Chargers general manager A.J. Smith.

Ron Wolf, the former Green Bay Packers GM who's serving as a consultant for Chargers President Dean Spanos, said in a conference call Wednesday that the first interview was Tuesday in San Diego. Asked if that interview was with an outside candidate, Wolf said: ``Not to my knowledge.''

Spanos confirmed on Monday that Raye is among the candidates to replace Smith, who was fired along with coach Norv Turner. The team is declining to identify other candidates.

Raye, a former wide receiver at San Diego State who's been with the Chargers for 17 seasons, didn't return calls or a text seeking comment.

According to four people familiar with the search process, the other known candidates are player personnel men Tom Gamble of San Francisco, David Caldwell of Atlanta, Steve Keim of Arizona and Tom Telesco of Indianapolis. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the Chargers haven't revealed the names.

It's not known when the other candidates will be interviewed. San Francisco and Atlanta have first-round playoff byes this weekend. Indianapolis plays at Baltimore on Sunday, and Arizona missed the playoffs.

Wolf said he was in San Diego on Tuesday but had returned to his home in Jupiter, Fla., on Wednesday.

The Chargers said Monday that the interviews will be conducted by Wolf, Spanos, assistant GM Ed McGuire and Spanos' son, John, the director of college scouting. Dean Spanos will make the final choice, and the new GM will join those four in picking a new coach.

However, with several teams looking for coaches and GMs, the Chargers said their group ``will remain as flexible as necessary to attract the best possible candidates for both positions.''

Wolf said he's gotten more than 50 calls about the GM job since Monday.

``My phone hasn't stopped ringing. That's an indication of how the people within the league view the opportunity to go to work for the Chargers,'' Wolf said.

As Packers GM, Wolf hired Mike Holmgren as coach, traded for Brett Favre and built a team that played in consecutive Super Bowls, beating New England after the 1996 season and losing to Denver after the 1997 season.

Wolf reiterated that he is not a candidate for the Chargers' job.

``The game's gone by me,'' he said. ``From a standpoint I'm talking about of endurance, I don't have that anymore, like I used to have.''

Wolf said he'll advise Dean Spanos to interview as many people as possible.

``At some point you're going to come across the guy that just knocks your socks off. When that happens, you know you've reached the person you want to hire,'' Wolf said.

Part of the process will be asking candidates who they like as coaches, Wolf said.

Smith and Turner were fired after the Chargers finished 7-9 and out of the playoffs for the third straight season.

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Can Nationals’ key six make it through three more wins?

Can Nationals’ key six make it through three more wins?

HOUSTON -- Going 1-0 is taxing.

Ask the Nationals pitchers. Just make sure to talk with the select few being used. 

Washington is trying to finish a World Series win behind six pitchers. Maybe six-and-a-half, at most seven, if Tanner Rainey and Fernando Rodney are included. No matchup guys. No bullpen depth. Just a formula of tying the yoke to one of four starters that day, then Daniel Hudson and Sean Doolittle when necessary.

The question is if those six people can make it through three more wins.

A few things have made this approach viable. One is the starting rotation being populated with guys accustomed to a lot of innings. Washington finished with two of the top five in innings pitched this year (Stephen Strasburg at No. 2 and Patrick Corbin at No. 5), in addition to Max Scherzer, who routinely leads the league in innings pitched. Another is a willingness to accept varied roles and workload in the bullpen. The idea of a “closer” has been tossed outside. A person to obtain key outs is inserted into the game at the most crucial -- and beneficial -- time. 

“I think it’s Huddy,” Sean Doolittle said when asked why the bullpen has worked this way. “I think when you have an anchor like that at the back of the bullpen, it kind of lets guys slide into certain spots in front of him. And when he can go multiple innings and come in early in the game with runners on base -- that’s tough. Not a lot of guys who pitch in that closer’s role are comfortable doing that. But he has experience pitching in so many different roles, he brings that versatility to our group.”

Corbin has helped. He came out of the bullpen again Tuesday to wipe three more outs away and help the Nationals earn a 1-0 series lead. He appears likely to start Game 4 in Nationals Park after pitching his “bullpen session” in Game 1 of the World Series. Among the questions for Corbin, and Davey Martinez, is if Corbin is available for one out Wednesday night in Game 2. Picture left-handed Michael Brantley up with two runners on base and two out in the seventh inning. Brantley’s career OPS against left-handed pitchers is 125 points lower than it is against right-handed pitchers. Martinez said he would speak to Corbin late Monday to see what’s next.

Doolittle was already prognosticating after Game 1. Tomorrow may always be just a day away, but it might as well not exist in this current formula.

“Regardless of the score, the situation, I think we all expected to be in there in some capacity,” Doolittle said. “And I think guys are willing to go multiple innings -- we’ll figure tomorrow out tomorrow. Stras is going to give us a good start and we feel good about having him out there, and he’s going to go as long as he can. We’ll piece it together after that. I think that’s how we’ve thought about it here for a while.”

And, is there enough juice for the six pitchers to handle the current day, eventually turning “tomorrow” into a parade?

“Oh my gosh,” Doolittle said. “Are you kidding me? YES. Yes. We just had a few days off. Us old guys got to put our feet up and rest a little bit. Then we had a couple really good workouts before we came down here. But, at this point in the season, you’re feeding off adrenaline so much. We’re all a little bit tired, sure. Not a lot of guys have been here before. This is the latest they’ve ever played. But when you’re out there, there’s so much adrenaline, there’s so much energy you’re just feeding off that so much. I think we are absolutely in a good spot physically and mentally for the rest of the series.”

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Legendary gymnast Simone Biles to throw the first pitch for Game 2 of the World Series

Legendary gymnast Simone Biles to throw the first pitch for Game 2 of the World Series

Gymnastics legend Simon Biles is scheduled to throw the first pitch for Game 2 of the World Series in Houston, Major League Baseball announced.

Biles, a Houston native, won four gold medals and one bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She won the most gold medals as a female gymnast at a single Olympics in American history and became the fifth-ever quadruple gold medalist in women's gymnastics at a single Olympics.

This isn't Biles's first time at Minute Maid Park. She threw out an awesome first pitch for the Astros in 2016.

The Houston Astros brought in Brian McCann and Evan Gattis for Game 1's first pitch, both former Astros catchers and members of Houston's 2017 championship team. Between Biles, McCann and Gattis, it looks like Houston is hoping their first pitch participants can rub off championship energy.

McCann and Gattis did not bring enough good luck for Game 1, however, as the Nationals came out on top in a thrilling 5-4 victory to take a 1-0 series lead.

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