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Garrigus leads halfway through CIMB; Woods in 5th

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Garrigus leads halfway through CIMB; Woods in 5th

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) Five strokes off the lead after two rounds, Tiger Woods thinks the CIMB Classic course ``can be had'' and still expects a total of better than 20 under to win it.

Robert Garrigus, the second-round leader by two strokes over South Africa's Jbe Kruger, has upped the ante. With back-to-back rounds of 64 and a 14-under total of 128, he's looking to go 10 strokes beyond Woods' projection to win the tournament.

``I'm going to try to get to 30 if I can,'' he said, explaining that in his first tournament of the year he was 6 over after eight holes and played the next 54 at 32-under par. ``So I can do it. I just need to do it on the weekend when it counts.

``I feel like if I'm putting well, no disrespect to anybody on the PGA Tour, they're all great players, but I feel like I can beat anybody in the world.''

Garrigus' 128 is his lowest ever 36-hole total in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event, improving on the 130 he had when he finished second this year in the Canadian Open. The American has one tour title, in 2010, but has six runner-up finishes - including three this season. A win Sunday won't officially count on the PGA Tour, but the CIMB Classic is being added to the tour schedule for next year.

There's no reason he can't beat Woods, who was upstaged by playing partner Kruger on Friday at The Mines.

Playing his first competitive round with Woods, Kruger pumped his right arm after each of his eight birdies in a round that contained only one bogey despite the soggy conditions. He had 64 in his second round and was 12 under, two shots clear of Australia's Greg Chalmers (69) and overnight leader Troy Matteson, who followed his opening 63 with 69.

Woods had a 67 and was tied for fifth at 9 under with Kevin Na (66) and Zimbabwe's Brendon De Jonge (65).

The 14-time major winner rarely betrays his emotions on the course. After chipping in from off the green for a birdie at the seventh, he raised his club in the air and smiled for the first time in his second round. He even thanked a woman in the big crowd after she loudly commended his birdie at the fifth. But when he left a par putt just short, he glared at the ball as it rolled past the edge of the cup and shook his head.

Both bogeys in Woods' round followed wayward tee shots. At the fourth he sliced right and landed near four parked vans and a row of public toilets, then hit his second shot into a muddy bank near the left front of the green. He had a tough lie where it sloped down to a lake, and asked for a rules official to examine it before chipping on in a spray of dirt.

At the 12th, he hit into a thick, grassy bank on the right of the fairway, got on to the green in three and stared blankly as his par putt shaved the outside of the cup.

In between was a classic chip from off the green at the seventh that made him smile for the first time in his round.

``That was nice. It looked like I was going to go the other way,'' he said. ``I jerked a nine iron over to the left - you shouldn't miss a green with a nine iron that bad - but I hit a really good shot and it trickled in like a putt.''

He said he left a few birdies on the course because he wasn't hitting his irons into the right spots, leaving him with tough downhill, across-the-green putts.

Woods is confident he can convert those near misses into birdies on the weekend. He won the individual and team titles at the 1999 World Cup on his last visit here.

``The golf course can be had, especially if we have ball in hand like we did today,'' he said.

``It's wet. It's a little bit muddy ... (but) it can be had out there. I just have to get after it tomorrow, where at least I have a chance going into Sunday.''

It was hot and humid for the second consecutive day and, with the course still damp after a heavy tropical storm the previous evening, the PGA Tour allowed preferred lies so that players could lift, clean and place muddy balls in the closely mown areas through the green.

Woods' group is one shot ahead of three Americans at 7 under, including 2010 champion Ben Crane, 2011 runner-up Jeff Overton and Brian Harman.

South Africa's Trevor Immelman had the low round of the day with a 63 to move into a share of 11th place with defending champion Bo Van Pelt. Nick Watney improved by six strokes in his second round by firing a 65 to move to 6 under, but Justin Dufner was 2 over in his second round, 12 strokes behind.

Kruger slipped up only once, at the 12th, and took no chances on the 18th when he decided to putt from off the green instead of using his pitching wedge to have a better shot at a par.

He had a double-bogey on 18 in the first round, his only blemish of that day.

``I think playing with (Woods) definitely made me concentrate a bit harder,'' Kruger said. ``That is one thing I've been lacking the last couple of months, so I think I want to play with him every day!''

Garrigus started the day in second spot at 7 under and got as low as 15 under before leaving his par putt just short on the 18th hole for his only bogey of the round.

He had a run of four consecutive birdies from the seventh hole and added another four from the 12th to the 17th holes.

``If I keep putting like this on the weekend, it's going to be hard to catch me,'' he said. ``I do have a very high confidence level right now ... and I feel like I can beat anybody, doesn't matter who I'm playing.''

Even if that means No. 1-ranked Rory McIlroy, No. 2 Woods or Phil Mickelson.

``I finished fourth (at the BMW Championship), and it was Rory, Phil, Tiger, and they were all right next to me,'' he said. ``I was staring them down. That's a good feeling.''

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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

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USA TODAY Sports/@TerrellePryor

Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it. 

Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage. 

Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets. 

"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).

Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating. 

"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.

The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games. 

"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."

One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches. 

The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th. 

Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York. 

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Fantasy Baseball Outlook: Week 12

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Fantasy Baseball Outlook: Week 12

We're just a couple of weeks away from the midway point of the 2018 Major League Baseball season, which means many casual fantasy baseball players have collectively turned their attention to the gridiron. This is good news for those of you still interested, because outside of the truly competitive leagues, it's about to get much easier to navigate the waiver wire and make winning trades.

That said, we'll still be here all season long, providing advice for anyone looking to gain a competitive edge in their fantasy leagues. There's a lot to digest in the upcoming week, as many teams (including the Washington Nationals) will play a full seven game slate. It's an especially great time for stars in baseball, as a whopping six players are on pace to record seasons with 8.7 Wins Above Replacement or higher, but there's still plenty of great options beyond the obvious guys.

NOTE: Don’t expect to see guys like Bryce Harper or Trea Turner mentioned too often. They are clear must-starts every week. Don’t overthink it.

Week 12 (6/18-6/24)

One Nationals pitcher to start: Max Scherzer

We won't often include a guy on the level of Mad Max in our recommendations, but consider this a statement against the other pitchers. With Stephen Strasburg on the DL, Gio Gonzalez is really the only other startable option in the rotation, and while he's a fine play against the Orioles, he's not a sure thing. Scherzer is the best pitcher in baseball, so when in doubt, it's easy to fall back on his name. For now, feel free to use Gonzalez if needed, but the only clear, recommendable one this week is Scherzer.

One Nationals position player to start: Adam Eaton, OF

Consider this your reminder to not get cute and just start Adam Eaton whenever he's healthy. When he can manage to avoid time on the disabled list, he's consistenly been one of the best players in Washington, and an absolute must-start in fantasy. Yes, he's hitting "just" .286 in five games since returning from the DL, but there's no reason to believe he won't bounce back to one of the top hitters in the National League once he gets back in the swing of things. As long as he's hitting at the top of the Washington lineup, he'll be one of the top run producers in baseball.

One Nationals pitcher to sit: Erick Fedde

We likely would have advised against starting Fedde regardless of matchup, given his relative struggles in his two starts with the Nats this season. He's got a nice 9:2 strikeout-to-walk rate, but the ERA sits at an unsightly 5.91. What makes matters worse is the matchup; Fedde is once again slated to face the vaunted New York Yankees lineup. In New York, he allowed two home runs in just five innings, and while Nats park isn't the hitter's haven that Yankee Stadium is, the sluggers in their lineup make for a daunting matchup in any city.

Fedde probably isn't owned in most leagues, and there's no reason for that to change, even with his spot in the rotation likely secure as long as Strasburg isn't throwing.. 

One Nationals player to sit: Daniel Murphy, 2B

Nats fans were understandably rejoicing when Daniel Murphy returned to the lineup last week. It's always fun when one of your stars is back on the field after missing so much time. Still, like most players who haven't face in-game pitching in several months, Murphy has been slow to re-adjust at the plate. He's recorded just two hits in 15 at-bats, has only walked once, and has yet to notch an extra-base hit of any kind. His OPS is below-.200, and while no one should expect that to last, there's no need to rush him back into your lineups either.

It would be pretty tempting to slot Murphy into your 2B or middle infield spot now that he's healthy, since you likely drafted him to be one of your studs, but given his lengthy absence, the nature of his original injury, and his slow start since returning, it's probably a good idea to leave him on your bench for a week or two. Once he starts driving the ball again, he can start to return value for you, but there's no reason to let him drag you down in the meantime.

Any 2-start pitchers for the Nationals this week?

Given that the rotation is currently in a state of flux, we can't confidently say any starter will get two starts. Fedde looks like the most likely candidate, but as we outlined above, he's still a pitcher you want to avoid for now.

Any 2-start pitchers worth streaming around MLB this week?

One of my favorite sleepers this week is Domingo German. One of the most surprising stats in all of baseball right now is that among starting pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched, German has the second best swinging strike rate, behind only Max Scherzer. Swinging strike rate is a great stat to use when projecting future strikeout potential, and German's 15.9% is mighty impressive. German has a start at home against the Mariners and on the road against the Rays, so while it's not a cakewalk week, it's not especially daunting either. As an added bonus for those in points leagues, German is RP-eligible, giving you some extra roster flexibility.

The walks are a little high (21 in 53.3 innings) which has let to an elevated WHIP and ERA, but it's a good rule of thumb to follow the strikeouts when identifiying quality fantasy pitchers, and considering most of the two-start guys this week are obvious studs who are certainly already owned in your league, German is the exact type of option you should be looking to stream.

One player you might not realize you should pick up: John Hicks, C/1B (Tigers) 

This is a sneaky move, the kind that could easily get overlooked in most fantasy leagues but could provide a great return on investment. With Miguel Cabrera's unfortunate season-ending biceps injury providing an opening in the everyday lineup in Detroit, Hicks (who is catcher elgibile) will be taking most of the team's at-bats at first base going forward. While he's probably not worth rostering as a first baseman in most leagues, catcher is a notorious black hole in fantasy baseball in recent years, and this season might be the wost yet.

Hicks will maintain catcher eligibility all season long, yet he'll play the far less demanding first base every day, giving him less wear and tear on his legs, less concern with running the pitching staff, and most importantly, regular at-bats in a surprisingly not-atrocious lineup. Hicks isn't the type of guy you'd refer to as a league-winner prior to Opening Day, but he could make a real impact on a championship roster in the second half of the season.

One player you might not realize you should drop: Jake Junis, SP (Royals) 

Junis isn't the type of pitcher that I'd classify as a must-drop, but you shouldn't hesitate to move on if there's a clear better option on the waiver wire. Junis started the season strong and looked like a legitimate breakout player, but he's allowed six earned runs in each of his last two starts. A poor two-start stretch isn't the end of the world, which is why I'm not suggest that everyone jump ship regardless of team context. That said, he doesn't have the pedigree of a top pitching prospect, and he plays for one of the five worst teams in baseball, meaning you can't expect many wins even when Junis is throwing well.

At the very least, you prbably should leave Junis on the bench for the time being, and again, if there's an option you've been eyeing on the waiver wire, now is the time to strike. Don't feel bad if that means leaving Junis behind to free up a roster spot for your team.

MORE NATS NEWS:

- Nice Threads: MLB reveals All-Star jerseys
- Rankings Update: Where did the Nats fall?
- On the Farm: Latest Nats prospect report