Nationals

Jets WR Holmes won't start running until April

Jets WR Holmes won't start running until April

LINDEN, N.J. (AP) Santonio Holmes has been off his feet and away from the football field for a few months.

It will be at least April before the New York Jets wide receiver can run again as he heals from the serious foot injury that ended his season in September.

``I mean, I accepted it once it happened,'' Holmes said Monday night at a charity event, speaking publicly for the first time since he was hurt. ``Football season was over, so I just expanded my mind by reading more and spending more time with my kids, being more supportive.''

Holmes is still in a bulky walking boot and will have surgery in February to remove the metal plate that was inserted to help repair his left foot, which he injured on Sept. 30. He said doctors told him he will likely be able to start running in April, but is uncertain if he'll be ready for the start of training camp next summer.

``We have a while to go yet,'' he said.

The wide receiver was hosting an event through his III & Long Foundation at Jersey Lanes bowling alley to support families and children suffering from sickle cell anemia, including his son Santonio III. A handful of his Jets teammates, including linebacker Bart Scott and running backs Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight, were expected to attend.

Holmes has been home in Florida since having surgery in October and returned to the team's facility in Florham Park for the first time last Friday - in time to be included in the Jets' team photo. Holmes said the long layoff has made him miss his teammates and the game.

``It puts you in a mind-frame of relaxation, but at the same time, it's a recovery process that you go through,'' he said. ``Mentally, it kind of brings you down at times because you can't be active. It's been over 20 years that I've been playing this sport and it's the first time I've suffered a significant injury where I can't play and continue the season.''

Holmes went down on the first play of the fourth quarter of the Jets' 34-0 loss to San Francisco after catching a short pass, which he fumbled as he tossed the ball away, with Carlos Rogers returning it 51 yards for a touchdown. It came a week after the Jets lost cornerback Darrelle Revis to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, leaving New York without its two biggest playmakers.

``I knew the minute I didn't get off the ground that my season was over,'' Holmes said.

He has stayed in touch every week with coach Rex Ryan, keeping up with the team through phone calls and text messages as it struggles to try to keep its playoff hopes alive. The wide receiver, however, stayed away from commenting on the Jets' uncertain quarterback situation. Ryan said he is undecided on whether Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow or Greg McElroy will start Sunday at Jacksonville.

``If I get involved with that, I'm going to be the talk of the world,'' Holmes said, laughing. ``I'll stay on the IR list and keep it moving.''

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Max Scherzer, Sean Doolittle provide powerful voices during baseball’s search for answers

Max Scherzer, Sean Doolittle provide powerful voices during baseball’s search for answers

Sean Doolittle was willing to talk about it. The topic was union business. He’s focused, detailed and informed when any player-related financial topic is put in front of him. Being prepared is his process in general. Before Doolittle dispatches a thread of tweets, he reads multiple background sources, formulates his thoughts, looks for spaces that may lack clarity when dispatched in public.

On this particular topic, back in spring training when everything was more hopeful, he deferred. He asked if Max Scherzer had talked about the subject broached by a reporter. Told Scherzer had not, Doolittle said he would prefer to wait until Scherzer spoke. They had discussed the idea prior. So, they were working in tandem.

The pair has operated individually when addressing their personal performance or as team spokespeople when discussing the state of the Nationals. In this new setting, when a negotiating battle is underway between the union and league, and a pandemic has hurtled the sport into unprecedented territory, the two have become one of the most prominent duos in the league.

Scherzer dropped the largest statement of the negotiating period when he tweeted last week. A member of the union’s powerful eight-person executive subcommittee, and the best player among that group, Scherzer’s decree the players would not accept a further pay cut rattled the sport. An out-of-town announcer railed against the stance. The league received a large hint of the players’ coming counter-proposal. The union, through Scherzer’s rarely used social media account, had spoken.

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Days later, Doolittle countered his employer when tweeting about the Nationals players’ desire to step in and pay minor-league players in the organization. Doolittle’s Twitter account is often an outlet for his thoughts on topics from social justice to baseball matters to, of course, Star Wars. He uses the medium for consistent and steady interaction with the public. Scherzer operates differently. He stays off social media -- for the most part. He composed just four original tweets in the two years before delivering a missive via screenshot last week.

Soon, both will be gone. Doolittle is in the final year of his contract. Scherzer has one more year on his seven-year, $210 million deal which has evolved into a bargain framed by staggering figures.

Doolittle will be 34 years old on Sept. 26. Scherzer turns 36 years old on July 27th. Their statesmen positions in the game are likely to last beyond their playing careers. Doolittle will walk into a flood of post-career media offers. Scherzer’s future could include being the executive director of the MLBPA. He is the necessary blend of informed, passionate, and obstinate.

Both are voices to be heard in this climate. They understand the landscape in front of and behind them. Managing messages within the union and out in the public eye are divergent projects which simultaneously influence each other. Being the elders -- the viejos -- on the team brings a specific responsibility separate from overall union business. They need to be the house protectors then.

And know they are working in conjunction. An avenue over here for one, an avenue over there for another, making two of the most prominent local voices two of the most powerful across the sport.

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Nats reverse plans after Doolittle statement, will pay minor leaguers full stipend

Nats reverse plans after Doolittle statement, will pay minor leaguers full stipend

The Nationals reversed course Monday when the organization decided it will pay minor-league players under contract the full $400 weekly stipend originally agreed to across Major League Baseball in late March.

The Nationals were one of a handful of teams to lower the weekly stipend for minor-league players. Their decision over the weekend was instantly criticized since the total savings was so low and minor-league players already operate with comparatively low incomes.

The optics were particularly bad during this time of economic downturn.

Sunday, Sean Doolittle tweeted that the major-league players in the organization would fill a financial gap created by ownership when it decided to reduce minor-league pay from $400 to $300.

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“After hearing that Nationals minor league players are facing additional pay cuts, the current members of the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball club will be coming together and committing funds to make whole the lost wages from their weekly stipends.

“All of us were minor leaguers at one point in our careers and we know how important the weekly stipends are for them and their families during these uncertain times.

“Minor leaguers are an essential part of our organization and they are bearing the heaviest burden of this situation as their season is likely to be cancelled. We recognize and want to stand with them and show our support.”

Monday, the organization lifted the small burden from the players and decided to fulfill the stipends until the end of June.

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