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Madson, Angels finalize $3.5 million, 1-year deal

Madson, Angels finalize $3.5 million, 1-year deal

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Ryan Madson finalized a $3.5 million, one-year deal on Wednesday with the Los Angeles Angels, who believe the right-handed reliever will make a strong comeback from elbow ligament replacement surgery.

The longtime Philadelphia reliever, who can make up to $7 million, missed all of last season with the Cincinnati Reds, who signed him in January after a stellar performance in 2011 with the Phillies. He underwent surgery in April on a torn ligament in his right elbow.

Well ahead of schedule in his recovery from surgery, Madson said he expects to be the Angels' closer. General manager Jerry Dipoto agreed the veteran is likely to supplant Ernesto Frieri when fully healthy.

``I feel like if I can throw the ball like I'm capable of, I expect to have that role,'' Madson said. ``I expect to come to spring training and earn the job.''

Madson pitched his first nine big-league seasons with Philadelphia, going 47-30 with 52 saves and a 3.59 ERA while logging several years as a setup man. He was outstanding after the Phillies promoted him to be their closer in 2011, earning 32 saves in 34 chances with a 2.37 ERA.

In addition to his base salary, Madson can earn $3.5 million in roster and performance bonuses with the Angels. He would receive $500,000 each for 45, 90, 135 and 180 days on the active roster or disabled list, not including days of the DL related to a right elbow or right shoulder injury. He also would get $250,000 each for 35, 40, 45 and 50 games finished

He nearly agreed to a $44 million, four-year deal with the Phillies before talks collapsed, and he signed with Cincinnati for a guaranteed $8 million instead. But Madson developed discomfort in his elbow during spring training and never pitched in the regular season for the Reds, putting him back on the free-agent market a year later.

The Angels, desperate for bullpen help after blowing an AL-worst 47 saves over the past two seasons, immediately investigated Madson's health. Los Angeles likely imagines a profitable veteran pickup in the mold of Joe Nathan, who had 37 saves for the Texas Rangers last year after missing parts of the previous two seasons following Tommy John surgery.

``He's very enthusiastic, and clearly loved the idea of playing for the Angels, which isn't something you can take for granted,'' Dipoto said. ``Somebody getting to do something they've wanted to do for their whole lives creates a very romantic edge to it.''

Indeed, the deal is a homecoming for Madson, who was born in Long Beach and grew up in Moreno Valley, Calif., roughly 45 miles east of Anaheim in Riverside County. He lives in nearby Temecula, Calif., in the offseason.

``I grew up an Angels fan,'' Madson said. ``I watched a lot of baseball, and that's how I gained a lot of my knowledge. I always enjoyed watching the local team and dreamed of playing for the Angels. I was a little concerned with letting Jerry know about my excitement about playing for Anaheim. There's a romantic part, but there's also a little edge to it.''

If healthy, Madson will be a major addition to a bullpen that foundered for much of the past two seasons after a decade as one of the majors' most consistent groups. Los Angeles got little reliable bullpen work from anybody except veteran Scott Downs and Frieri, who didn't allow an earned run in his first 26 appearances before the All-Star break.

``The domino effect is the most appealing thing here,'' Dipoto said. ``Having Ryan Madson join the bullpen and creating the depth gives us options to get ... those last nine outs. Our ability to get those last nine outs just got a lot better. He'll come into spring training and compete for that (closer) role, and if he's throwing the ball like he has in the past, he's one of the elite relievers in the game.''

Madson said he's making about 100 throws a day from 90 to 100 feet while rebuilding strength in his arm. With three months to prepare before spring training, he believes he'll be ready to join the Angels' bullpen in plenty of time for the season.

``If Ryan is ready on opening day, we're ready to roll,'' Dipoto said. ``If it takes a little longer than that, we have the ability to cover the front counter. It just creates a nice bullpen depth. Every good bullpen needs an anchorman, and Ryan Madson has proved his ability in that regard.''

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NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

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USA TODAY Sports

NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that allows players to remain in the locker room if they prefer but requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance.

This new policy subjects teams, but not players, to fines if any team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem. 

Teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction separately though. 

The NFL Players Association released it's own statement after the news was made official.

 

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In a surprise twist, Barry Trotz takes The Hot Lap ahead of Game 7

In a surprise twist, Barry Trotz takes The Hot Lap ahead of Game 7

TAMPA—Head Coach Barry Trotz skated the hot lap prior to Wednesday’s Game 7 at Amalie Arena, taking over the superstitious tradition from captain Alex Ovechkin.

Why the change?

The Caps lost Game 5 here on Saturday. And when the Caps lose on the road—the only place where the morning-skate-starting hot lap takes place—a new skater is selected.

The weird tradition began in the first round at Nationwide Arena in Columbus when Jay Beagle grew tired of waiting for the ice to freeze over following a fresh Zamboni cut. Beagle's teammates implored him to wait a little longer for the ice to cure, but he grew impatient and took it upon himself to kick off the skate by racing around the rink, a la the fastest skater competition at the All Star Skills competition.

Ovechkin took it over prior to Game 6 in Pittsburgh because the Caps had lost Game 4 at PPG Paints Arena.

Ovechkin proudly carried on the tradition as Washington won three in a row—Game 6 in Pittsburgh and Games 1 and 2 of this series vs. Tampa Bay.

Following the Caps’ 3-2 defeat in Game 5 here, though, it was expected that a change would be made.

And on Wednesday morning the baton changed hands, with the least obvious of all the Caps busting his 55-year-old hump around the rink much to the delight of his players and assistants.

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