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Dodgers on track to pass Yanks in 2013 payroll

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Dodgers on track to pass Yanks in 2013 payroll

NEW YORK (AP) The Los Angeles Dodgers are on track to become only the second major league team with a $200 million payroll and could end the New York Yankees' streak of 14 years as baseball's biggest spender.

The Dodgers are at $214.8 million for 21 signed players next season, according to a study of their contracts by The Associated Press. That follows last weekend's additions of free agent pitcher Zack Greinke for a $147 million, six-year contract and South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin for a $36 million, six-year deal.

``Creating a lot of buzz, that's for sure,'' Greinke said. ``And you do wonder when things are going to stop.''

Crediting the $3.9 million Boston is paying Los Angeles next year as part of last August's trade and not counting the portions of signing bonuses for players obtained from the Red Sox, the Dodgers' 2013 payroll currently is at $207.9 million.

The Yankees have led each year since the Baltimore Orioles edged them by $200,000 in 1998, and New York has been at $200 million-plus every season since 2005. The record opening-day payroll of $209.1 million was set by the Yankees in 2008.

``I don't that there's anybody that can keep up with what the Dodgers are doing,'' Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers said.

Los Angeles, almost certain to pay the luxury tax next year, has joined the high rollers since the Dodgers were bought in May by Mark Walter's group, which also includes Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten.

``When we took over the team we said we were going to spend money and I guess you guys are seeing that we're trying to do that,'' Johnson said. ``We're not messing around. We're not talking about it, we're doing it.''

Under outgoing owner Frank McCourt, they started the season with the 12th-highest payroll at $94.7 million. They boosted spending with the midseason acquisitions of Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Brandon League.

The Dodgers finished 86-76 last season, eight games behind the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants in the NL West. The Dodgers haven't reached the World Series since winning the title in 1988.

In addition to their players with agreements, the Dodgers have two players eligible for salary arbitration: catcher A.J. Ellis and right-hander Ronald Belisario.

``We're here to win. I can't tell you if we're stopping or not,'' Johnson said.

New York's 2013 payroll is at $176 million for 13 players, including a $12 million deal for third baseman Kevin Youkilis that hasn't been finalized. Four Yankees are eligible for arbitration: pitchers Phil Hughes, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan.

The deals for Greinke and Ryu contain numerous complicated provisions and perks.

Greinke gets a $12 million signing bonus, of which $7 million is payable by Dec. 31 and $5 million on Feb. 1, 2014. He gets a $17 million salary next year, $24 million in 2014, $23 million in 2015, $24 million in 2016, $23 million in 2017 and $24 million in 2018.

He can opt out of the final three years of the contract within three days of the final game of the 2015 World Series.

While Greinke doesn't have a no-trade provision, if he's dealt during the season he can decide within three days of the end of the World Series whether to terminate the contract. And if he's traded during the offseason, he gets an extra $3 million and has the right to end the deal immediately.

In addition, for the 2018 season only, he gets $1 million for winning the Cy Young Award and $500,000 for finishing second through fifth. Greinke also has the right to purchase four premium tickets for all home games.

Ryu gets a $5 million signing bonus, half due on April 1 and the rest on April 1, 2014. His salaries are $2.5 million next year, $3.5 million in 2014, $4 million in 2015 and $7 million in each of the following three seasons. He can earn an additional $1 million annually in performance bonuses, $250,000 each for 170, 180, 190 and 200 innings.

If he has 750 innings pitched from 2013-17, he can opt out of the final season. If he wins the Cy Young Award, his salaries for remaining seasons would increase by $1 million. They would go up by $750,000 if he finishes second, $500,000 if he finishes third and $250,000 if he finishes fourth or fifth.

He has the same opt-out rights as Greinke, but without the $3 million payment, and he can't be sent to the minor leagues without his consent.

Ryu gets a $30,000 moving allowance, eight annual first-class round-trip tickets from Los Angeles to South Korea, an employee assigned to Korean media needs, and interpreter, a personal trainer/massage therapist, English lessons and payment for immigration fees.

The contract gives him the right to wear No. 99 and allows him access to purchase premium tickets. He gets a suite on the road but pays the difference between the cost of a suite and a regular room.

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AP Baseball Writer Ben Walker and AP Sports Writer Beth Harris contributed to this report.

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5 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning in Game 6

5 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning in Game 6

After losing three straight, the Capitals battled back in Game 6 on Monday. With their 3-0 win, Washington forced the Eastern Conference Final into a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday.

Here is how the Caps did it.

1. Braden Holtby matched Andrei Vasilevskiy save for save

Andrei Vasilevskiy was just as great in this game as he was in the three previous, but one of the major differences in this one was that Holtby was just as good. He may not have been tested as much (Vasilevskiy made 32 saves, Holtby 24), but he was big when the team needed.

In the second period with the scored tied at 0, Holtby made one of the most critical saves perhaps of the entire season when he denied Anthony Cirelli with the toe on a 2-on-1. When the Caps took the lead, Holtby really shut the door in the third period with 10 saves to cap off what was his fifth career playoff shutout and first shutout of the entire season.

2. T.J. Oshie’s timely goal

Over halfway into the game, it looked like it was just going to be one of those nights. Caps fans know it well by now. Washington outplays their opponent, they get chance after chance and develop a whopping advantage in shots, but they run into a hot goalie and a random play suddenly turns into a goal for the other team, game and season over.

Vasilevskiy was on his way to having perhaps his best performance of the series. Considering how he played in the three games prior to Game 6, that’s saying something. The Caps were doing everything right, but he continued to make save after save. Then on the power play in the second period, John Carlson struck the inside of the post, the horn went off and the roar of the crowd gave way to dismay as the referee waved his arms to indicate there was no goal and play continued. Just seconds later, T.J. Oshie gave the Caps the 1-0 lead.

You have to wonder if doubt was starting to creep into the back of the minds of the players when that puck struck the post as they wondered what else they had to do to beat Vasilevskiy. Luckily, that feeling didn’t last long.

3. Special teams

Braydon Coburn’s tripping penalty in the second period gave Washington its only power play of the night and its first since the second period of Game 4. They had to make it count given how well Vasilveskiy was playing and they did.

Washington now has a power play goal in each of their three wins against the Lightning and no power play goals in their three losses. So yeah, it’s significant.

Tampa Bay had two opportunities of their own, but Washington managed to kill off both power plays in the penalty kill’s best performance of the series.

4. Washington’s physical game plan

On paper, the Lightning are better than the Caps in most categories. One area in which Washington has the edge, however, is physical play and it was clear very early that they intended to use that to their advantage in Game 6. Tampa Bay was pushed around and they seemed to struggle to recover.

Ovechkin was a one-man wrecking ball out there hitting everything that moved. The energy he brought with every hit was palpable and both the team and the crowd fed on it.

Washington was credited with 39 hits on the night compared to Tampa Bay’s 19. Ovechkin had four of those as did Nicklas Backstrom while Devante Smith-Pelly contributed five and Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six.

5. Fourth line dagger

Tampa Bay’s fourth line was the story of Game 5, but Washington’s fourth line sealed the deal on Monday with its third period goal.

Chandler Stephenson beat out an icing call, forcing Braydon Coburn to play the puck along the wall. Jay Beagle picked it up, fed back to Stephenson who backhanded a pass for the perfect setup for Devante Smith-Pelly.

Smith-Pelly scored seven goals in the regular season. He now has four in the playoffs.

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

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