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Giants, Pagan agree to 4-year deal

Giants, Pagan agree to 4-year deal

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Giants general manager Brian Sabean can check two big boxes off his winter to-do list.

San Francisco and free-agent center fielder Angel Pagan agreed to a $40 million, four-year contract Monday as the winter meetings got under way in Nashville, Tenn.

Bobby Evans, the team's vice president of baseball operations, said the deal with Pagan was ``very close'' and the leadoff hitter would be subject to a physical to finalize his return to the reigning World Series champions.

Retaining Pagan was among the top priorities for Sabean this offseason, along with keeping recently re-signed left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt and second baseman Marco Scutaro. Affeldt received an $18 million, three-year contract Nov. 14.

The 31-year-old Pagan batted .288 with eight home runs, 56 RBIs and a San Francisco-best 15 triples in his first season with the Giants. Pagan said late in the season and again after the World Series parade that he hoped to return, but wanted to test free agency and sought some job security in the form of a multiyear deal.

On Friday, Sabean said the club had made backup plans to move forward without Pagan or Scutaro in case neither decided to re-sign - but progress with Pagan apparently happened during the weekend after Sabean said, ``We don't have a deal, so that tells you we're not close.''

Whether NL championship series MVP Scutaro returns is still a question. He very well could have a new suitor in the mix after the New York Yankees said Monday that third baseman Alex Rodriguez will have surgery on his left hip and could be lost until the 2013 All-Star break.

Sabean said he likely wouldn't address his bullpen until after first negotiating with the representatives for Pagan and Scutaro.

The 37-year-old Scutaro hit .362 with three homers and 44 RBIs in 61 games with the Giants after he was acquired in a trade with the Colorado Rockies.

San Francisco declined Friday to tender a contract to closer Brian Wilson, who is recovering from a second Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

NOTES: Giants senior vice president of communications Staci Slaughter received the 2012 Robert O. Fishel Award for Public Relations Excellence on Monday night in Nashville.

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3 stars of the game: Caps save their season in physical win over Lightning

3 stars of the game: Caps save their season in physical win over Lightning

This one is going to go the distance.

The Washington Capitals staved off elimination on Monday with a 3-0 Game 6 win to force a Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Andrei Vasilevskiy looked unbeatable for much of the game, but T.J. Oshie finally got one past the Lightning netminder on the Caps' first power play since the second period of Game 4. Devante Smith-Pelly finished them off with a third-period tally.

Game 7 will be on Wednesday with a spot in the Stanley Cup Final on the line.

Here are the three stars of Game 6.

1.  T.J. Oshie: Oshie scored the goal that saved Washington's season.

The Caps were doing everything right, but they just could not get one past Vasilevskiy. Finally, Oshie struck with a one-timer from the high-slot that just managed to beat Vasilevskiy.

Oshie also added an empty-netter to ice the game away.

We will never know how close frustration came to really wearing down Washington, but it probably came closer than you think. Just seconds before Oshie's goal, John Carlson rang a blistering slap shot off the inside of the post. It was so close, the horn went off briefly, but play continued. Had Washington not been able to finish off the power play, would they have recovered or would Vasilevskiy officially have Halaked them?

2. Andrei Vasilevskiy: Don't let the score fool you, Vasilevskiy was absolutely brilliant. He really stood out in the first period when he denied great chances again and again to keep the score locked at 0-0. You knew he was on his game when he denied a great chance from Alex Ovechkin from the slot with the blocker. His best save, however, was saved for Evgeny Kuznetsov when he was on the ice and desperately extended the arm just in time to deny Kuznetsov.

Vasilevskity made a total of 32 saves in the losing effort.

3. Braden Holtby: Though he was not tested as much as his counterpart, Holtby was equally as brilliant in his 24 save performance for his fifth career playoff shutout.

The Lightning made a real push in the second and third period and some key saves by Holtby ensured the Caps did not give up the first goal or the game-tying one. The most critical save came on Anthony Cirelli in the second period with the game still tied at 0-0. A Lightning 2-on-1 resulted with Cirelli coming in all alone on Holtby, but the Caps' netminder just managed to extend the toe for the save.

Smith-Pelly had seven goals in the regular season. he has four in the playoffs. Smith-Pelly put the exclamation point on the game with his third period goal to extend the Caps' lead to 2-0.  He was set up by a phenomenal pass by Chandler Stephenson.

It was clear from the outset that the Caps wanted to be very physical in this game and Smith-Pelly really took that message to heart with 

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

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.