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Drew trying to restart his career with Red Sox

Drew trying to restart his career with Red Sox

BOSTON (AP) Stephen Drew is moving to Boston to restart what once looked like a promising career.

The former first-round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks was derailed by a serious ankle injury in 2011. He was traded last season to Oakland after returning from the injury and agreed to $9.5-million, one-year contract to pay with the Red Sox in 2013.

His older brother, J.D., played five seasons with the Red Sox and earned a World Series title with Boston in 2007.

That year, as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Stephen Drew was playing his first full season in the majors and just missed facing his brother in the World Series when the Colorado Rockies swept his team for the National League title before losing to the Red Sox.

``Playing in a big series- Boston and the Yankees - will be different,'' Drew said in a conference call with the media on Thursday. ``He's talked to me about things like that. It's a little bigger market than Arizona. The `07 the World Series, we were pretty close to playing Boston and that would have been pretty neat. It worked out the best for him and for the Red Sox.''

But the shortstop knows people will immediately make comparisons to him and his brother.

``You guys know J.D. - he's laid back and I'm laid back, but probably a little more emotional,'' he said. ``At the end of the day, I'm a different person than J.D. and J.D's a different person than me. J.D. played right field and I play shortstop. I've always had a little more pressure playing in the middle of the field. I don't really throw my bat, but you guys know that. At the end of the day, J.D. and I are a little different.''

Coming back after a fractured right ankle on a collision at home plate that had him sideline from mid-July until late June of last season, Drew hit .193 in 39 games with two homers and 12 RBIs with the Diamondbacks until he was dealt to Oakland, where he played the final 40 games batting .250 with five homers and 16 RBIs.

``Going through it gets kind of crazy,'' he said. ``I put a lot of hard work and dedication into the rehab process not knowing if I was going to ever play baseball again or not.''

Before the injury, Drew played 135 games or more in four straight years with Arizona. His best was when he hit .291 with 21 homers and 67 RBIs in 2008.

Drew's reputation took somewhat of a hit when Diamondbacks' owner Ken Kendrick questioned the amount of time the shortstop took to get back from the injury. He also understands that he's coming to a market where his brother was similarly criticized for taking a while to recover from his injuries.

``I understand Boston. The team's been around a long time and the fans are kind of passionate. They have a right to be,'' he said. ``As players you go through hard times. You go out and play and just leave it out there on the field - that's all you can do. At the end of the day, you go home and think about things and try to fix it. You adapt - just like you do after every tough at-bat.''

Drew is likely to become Boston's 11th starting shortstop in a revolving-door position. Mike Aviles started 123 games there last season then was sent to Toronto as compensation for the Red Sox prying their new manager, John Farrell, away from the Blue Jays. Aviles later was traded to the Cleveland Indians.

Slick-fielding Jose Iglesias, 22, had been considered Boston's shortstop of the future, but he struggled at the plate, batting .118 in 24 games last year. He may also have been moved down in the organizational depth chart by Xander Bogaerts, 20, who has played just 23 games at Double-A.

Boston started the shortstop maneuverings in 2004 when it traded Nomar Garciaparra in the middle of the season.

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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.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.