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Johnson in tie for lead after 1 round at Kapalua

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Johnson in tie for lead after 1 round at Kapalua

KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) Dustin Johnson got off to a good start Monday in the Tournament of Champions. Then again, just starting was good.

Three days behind schedule because of high wind, the PGA Tour finally got its 2013 season started on the day its first tournament was supposed to finish. Johnson, who showed up on Maui a week before the tournament and played just about every day, three-putted three times in five holes and still had a 4-under 69. That gave him a share of the lead with Mark Wilson and Nick Watney, who rolled in a long eagle putt on his last hole.

The 69s matched the highest score to lead after one round in 15 years this tournament has been held on the Plantation Course at Kapalua.

But there were no complaints. At least they were playing.

As long as Johnson has been at Kapalua, this was his first time playing a full round in five days. He was among four players who had not even teed off when the first round was scuttled on Friday and Sunday. It was too windy to even try to start on Saturday.

``Today was the first day I got on the course, but definitely felt good,'' Johnson said.

Rickie Fowler made history as the first player to hit the opening tee shot of the PGA Tour season three times. He was in the group at 3-under 70 that included Bubba Watson, Brandt Snedeker and Carl Pettersson. Defending champion Steve Stricker was another shot behind.

The players had about 30 minutes for lunch before going out for 18 more holes Monday afternoon, followed by a Tuesday finish of 18 holes. It would be the first time the Tournament of Champions was reduced to 54 holes since 1997 at rainy La Costa Resort.

The tournament finally caught a break when the wind subsided just enough as players were on the practice green under floodlights before sunrise. The greens were slowed to 8 1/2 on the Stimpmeter - compared with 10 1/2 on Friday - to help keep the balls from blowing off the green.

It still was plenty windy, though this mountainous course was built for that. Only six players in the 30-man field failed to break par.

But the green speed, combined with the wind, made it difficult.

Johnson's chip on the second hole came up 10 feet short, and he made that for par. He left his 20-foot birdie putt on the third hole about 4 feet short and missed that one, but answered by rolling in a 20-foot birdie that looked as if it would miss on the right side until the wind blew it back toward the hole.

Johnson walked off the green with a smile.

``Ride the wind, baby,'' he said. Johnson turned to see Watson hit an identical putt that stayed out to the right.

He didn't think it was that much of an advantage to have played the course so much in the days leading up to the tournament because the wind didn't arrive until Friday.

``But the greens were about this slow when I got here,'' Johnson said. ``I still can't get it to the hole.''

He also three-putted the fifth green from 70 feet for par, and he three-putted the seventh green from 15 feet.

``The ball is really not moving,'' Johnson said. ``But it's the gusts of wind that kind of blow you off balance. So you're oscillating quite a bit.''

There was plenty of trouble at Kapalua even in slightly less wind. Tommy Gainey was tied for the lead playing his 17th hole, the par-3 eighth, when the wind knocked it short of the green and the ball rolled into a hazard. His next shot went into the grassy bank of a bunker and stayed there, and he made triple bogey.

Keegan Bradley also had a trio of three-putts in his round of 71. Pettersson's lone regret was missing a 2-foot putt on the 16th because of the wind. ``That's going to happen,'' Pettersson said.

Wilson played bogey-free, a remarkable effort with so many holes into the wind playing much longer.

Then again, the tour made accommodations for the wind - and the pace of play trying to squeeze in 36 holes - by moving the tees forward. In several cases, the players were on tees reserved for resort guests. The course played 438 yards shorter than what it shows on the scorecard.

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Why the trade for Radko Gudas could signal the end of Brooks Orpik’s tenure with the Caps

Why the trade for Radko Gudas could signal the end of Brooks Orpik’s tenure with the Caps

The Carolina Hurricanes ended the Capitals’ season in the first round of the playoffs and quite possibly Brooks Orpik’s career with it. The 38-year-old defenseman said at the team’s breakdown day that the decision for what comes next, whether retirement or playing another season in the NHL, would have to wait.

“I'm in no rush in terms of deciding on my future in terms of hockey,” Orpik said. “That'll be a more health-related decision down the road."

Whether Orpik wants to come back for one more year in the NHL will be up to him, but the decision on whether to re-sign with the Caps may have just been decided for him.

On Friday, the Caps traded defenseman Matt Niskanen to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Radko Gudas. Most people hear the name Gudas and think of him as a dirty player who can’t play the position, but he is actually a decent defenseman. The media in Philadelphia selected Gudas as the most outstanding defenseman for the Flyers in 2018-19. Plus, his penalty minutes have decreased in each of the past four seasons from 116 all the way down to 63 last season. For reference, Tom Wilson had 128 and Michal Kempny had 60. It’s still high, but it signals a player making a conscious effort to stay out of the penalty box.

Gudas has been suspended four times in his career and he certainly will be watched very closely by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. One big hit could mean a lengthy suspension. That is a definite concern, but in terms of just his play, there is value there as a third-pair defenseman.

With Gudas in, that will almost certainly push Orpik out.

The move gives Washington six defenseman under contract for next season. Teams will usually keep seven for the regular season, enough for three pairs and one extra. Christian Djoos is a restricted free agent and will presumably be back as well, giving Washington seven blue liners.

Djoos had a down year last season, but he did play a third-pair role on the team’s Cup run and he is only 24. It does not make sense to give up on Djoos after one bad year just for one more year with Orpik who will be 39 at the start of next season.

Given Washington’s salary cap situation, the Caps do not have room for an eighth defenseman. If Orpik were to return, it would mean pushing someone else out. The only of those seven defensemen that would make sense to even consider moving for Orpik would be Gudas.

Gudas would not be the first player in the world to be traded and then flipped or bought out soon after. Ironically, the same thing happened to Orpik last season when he was traded to and then quickly bought out by the Colorado Avalanche.

A buyout here, however, would make no sense. According to CapFriendly’s buyout calculator, a buyout would only give Washington $1,166,667 of cap relief and most of that would go to a new Orpik deal making it pointless. Yes, you still have the $3.405 million of cap space the team would have opened up in the trade, but if the plan all along was to re-sign Orpik and ship out Niskanen, then why not just trade Niskanen for draft picks? Then you get his full cap off the books instead of having to go through the trouble of buying out Gudas and having him count against the cap for the next two seasons. That would make no sense.

As for flipping him and trading him to another team, what would the team get for him that would make it worthwhile? You cannot bring on salary or it defeats the purpose so the Caps’ options for a return would likely be limited to players of the same caliber and cap hit. What would be the point of that?

Prior to this deal, Djoos and Jonas Siegenthaler were the most likely candidates to play on the third pair next season. Both are left shots. Gudas is a right-shot defenseman which now gives Washington three with John Carlson and Nick Jensen. Gudas also plays with a physical edge. Sometimes he goes too far with it, but so long as he can control himself, he would add the physical presence to the blue line that the team stands to lose with Orpik gone.

There is no reason to trade for Gudas unless the team intended for Gudas to play a role next season. General manager Brian MacLellan chose to trade for a player who is a right-shot, physical, third-pair defenseman which is pretty much exactly the hole they needed to fill on their blue line and essentially the spot Orpik will be vacating. That did not just happen by accident.

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Nationals calling up Adrian Sanchez, corresponding roster move pending

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Nationals calling up Adrian Sanchez, corresponding roster move pending

WASHINGTON -- Manager Davey Martinez wasn’t sure postgame Saturday what’s wrong with reliever Kyle Barraclough.

The right-hander’s velocity is down, his slider flat and too true, his results poor. Barraclough left the mound Saturday at dusk with a 6.39 ERA. He’s allowed seven home runs in 25 ⅓ innings this season. Little he has tried has worked. And his time on the team may be short.

Utility infielder Adrian Sanchez will join the team Sunday, according to a source. Sanchez’s likely departure from Double-A Harrisburg was reported Saturday night by Mick Reinhard, who covers the Senators, and noted Sanchez’s early removal from the game.

The question is who will be leaving to make room for him

Barraclough seems the logical choice. He has options remaining, so the Nationals could send him to Triple-A Fresno to try and work things out. They could also place him on the 10-day injured list, then send him on an extended rehabilitation in the minor leagues, as they did with Trevor Rosenthal. At a minimum, Washington will go from an eight-man bullpen to a five-man bench, finally delivering Martinez more versatility at the plate and in the field.

Barraclough and left-hander Tony Sipp were rarely used in the last three weeks. A week passed between appearances for Barraclough from the end of May to the start of June. Sipp pitched Sunday for just the fifth time since May 24.

If the Nationals do remove Barraclough from the roster -- in whatever fashion -- it will be another layer of indictment for their offseason bullpen plan. They acquired Barraclough via trade with Miami for international slot money. He was supposed to pitch the seventh inning on a regular basis, Rosenthal the eighth and Sean Doolittle the ninth. That lineup has been disastrous outside of Doolittle, compromising the entire season.

Rosenthal’s travails are well-documented. He pitched again Saturday, walked the first batter on four pitches, walked the second batter, then allowing a single to load the bases with no outs. He eventually allowed just a run. His ERA is 19.50 following the outing. It’s the first time this season Rosenthal’s ERA is under 20.00.

While trying to fix Rosenthal, and trying to hang on with Barraclough, the Nationals have turned to Wander Suero and Tanner Rainey to handle the seventh and eighth innings ahead of Doolittle. Few would have predicted that combination before the season began. Despite the relative concern, no one would have predicted the Nationals’ bullpen to be among the worst in the league for much of the season, but has turned out to be just that.

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