Capitals

Dombrowski talks about OF Castellanos' prospects

Dombrowski talks about OF Castellanos' prospects

DETROIT (AP) Dave Dombrowski realizes the offseason is never over until opening day.

That was certainly the case last year, when the Detroit general manager brought slugger Prince Fielder to the Tigers in late January.

This offseason has been quieter in Detroit, but Dombrowski keeps his ears open for possible acquisitions even now, with spring training set to start in a couple of weeks.

``It doesn't change all year long, really. It's one of those things - even when you're away at the holidays, you have a pulse of what's taking place,'' Dombrowski said. ``There's still some players that haven't signed with clubs, and any time there's a move, there's sometimes an extra reaction to that, a chain reaction.''

The Tigers were part of that scenario last year when they learned in mid-January that designated hitter Victor Martinez had a knee injury that would eventually cause him to miss the whole 2012 season. Detroit responded by signing Fielder to a $214 million, nine-year contract. He was introduced at Comerica Park last Jan. 26.

The biggest move the Tigers made this offseason was re-signing one of their own players. They brought right-hander Anibal Sanchez back with a long-term contract. Sanchez's return gives Detroit six potential starting pitchers, but so far none of them has been traded.

Right-hander Rick Porcello and left-hander Drew Smyly are expected to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation if they're both still with the organization when spring training starts.

The Tigers didn't acquire a clear-cut replacement for closer Jose Valverde, who was let go after last season. Bruce Rondon could fill that role after a stellar year in the minors, but he's unproven.

Although Rondon could be a major part of Detroit's bid for a third straight AL Central title, the Tigers can be patient with Nick Castellanos, a 20-year-old outfielder who hit .320 in 134 games at Class A and Double-A last season.

Andy Dirks, Brennan Boesch and Quintin Berry - all left-handed hitters - are expected to compete for the left field spot, but Castellanos and Avisail Garcia swing from the right side and will have a chance to earn playing time.

``We're looking for a right-handed complement,'' Dombrowski said. ``Garcia and Castellanos I think both fall under the same category. They'll come to spring training with an opportunity to make the club, but we're also in a position where if they're going to make the club, they're going to have to play a lot. So we're not going to give them 40 games and a limited number of at-bats.''

Dombrowski spoke briefly with The Associated Press on Monday after appearing as part of a panel discussion at the annual meeting for the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov accepts IIHF suspension while Capitals and NHL lay out the next steps

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Evgeny Kuznetsov accepts IIHF suspension while Capitals and NHL lay out the next steps

After news broke of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s four-year suspension by the IIHF for testing positive for cocaine, the Capitals center released a statement Friday accepting the suspension and expressing his regret for the situation 

Said Kuznetsov:

"Recently, the IIHF notified me that, due to a positive test for a banned substance, I would be suspended from international competition for four years. I have made the decision to accept this penalty. Representing my country has always been so close to my heart and something I take so much pride in. Not being able to put that sweater on for four years is very hard to take. I have disappointed so many people that are important to me, including my family, teammates and friends. From the first day I took the ice in D.C., the Washington Capitals organization and our fans have been nothing but great to me and my family. I feel absolutely terrible for letting you down. I realize that the only way I can win you back is to take ownership of my situation and my actions from this point forward."

The question now is what happens next?

Both the Capitals and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly also released statements on Friday saying that Kuznetsov “has voluntarily sought help through the education and counseling program provided for in the NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining agreement and has agreed to a regular testing protocol relating to his involvement with that program.”

In addition, Kuznetsov will meet with commissioner Gary Bettman “to discuss his situation and review his conduct prior to the start of Training Camp preceding the 2019-20 season.”

While the positive test has resulted in a four-year suspension with the IIHF, it is unclear if any such discipline will be levied on Kuznetsov by the NHL.

Said Daly, “Unlike the IIHF, cocaine is not considered a performance-enhancing drug and is therefore not a Prohibited Substance under the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.  Instead, it is considered a drug of abuse that is tested for and for which intervention, evaluation and mandatory treatment can occur in appropriate cases.”

Daly left the door open for NHL discipline as he concluded, “We intend to reserve further comment on any additional actions that may or may not be taken with respect to today’s announcement (disciplinary or otherwise) pending the completion of the Commissioner’s meeting with Mr. Kuznetsov.”

The Capitals, meanwhile, expressed support for Kuznetsov saying “we are committed to ensuring he has the necessary support required to work through this situation.”

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Evgeny Kuznetsov receives IIHF suspension after testing positive for cocaine

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Evgeny Kuznetsov receives IIHF suspension after testing positive for cocaine

Evgeny Kuznetsov has been suspended for four years by the IIHF after testing positive for cocaine, the organization announced Friday. The test was found in a sample taken on May 26, 2019, at the World Championship.

The suspension will last through June 12, 2023.

A video posted on Twitter in May showed Kuznetsov in a hotel room next to lines of an unidentified white powder. The Capitals center released a statement afterward saying that he has “never taken illegal drugs in my life and career.” He also claimed the video was from 2018 in Vegas after Washington won the Stanley Cup.

After a review, both the NHL and the Capitals accepted Kuznetsov’s explanation of the situation and considered the matter closed.

A team official told NBC Sports Washington on Friday that the team does intend to make an official comment on the news of Kuznetsov’s suspension.

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