Redskins

Napoli to Red Sox, Loney to Rays, A-Rod out

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Napoli to Red Sox, Loney to Rays, A-Rod out

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Boston Red Sox began to play catch-up by getting All-Star catcher Mike Napoli, Tampa Bay took a chance on James Loney and the New York Yankees prepared for more time minus Alex Rodriguez during a brisk Monday at baseball's winter meetings.

Soon after the Hall of Fame welcomed three new members from long ago, teams got busy. The World Series champion San Francisco Giants kept center fielder Angel Pagan, while the Texas Rangers brought back catcher Geovany Soto and made a deal for injured closer Joakim Soria.

Top free agent Josh Hamilton remained in play after hitting 43 home runs with 128 RBIs for the Rangers last season.

``I saw Josh on the flight here Sunday by accident. Coincidence, I guess, is a better word than accident,'' Texas general manager Jon Daniels said. ``Chatted with him a little bit in the airport. I know he's here probably to meet with some other teams.''

Quite a contrast to last year's session, when the Miami Marlins often appeared to be the only player with their high-priced splashes. This time, inside the vast Opryland Hotel complex that houses a studio for famed country music station WSM, several teams had a grand ole time.

Coming off a last-place finish, Boston tried to resolve its catching situation. Napoli got a $39 million, three-year contract, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.

``Awesome addition to our team!'' Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester tweeted.

The Red Sox are aiming at another prize, too, exploring trade possibilities to pry Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey from the New York Mets. Boston GM Ben Cherington didn't mention the knuckleballer by name, simply saying the price for pitching was ``always steep for the better guys.''

Mets manager Terry Collins, meanwhile, left the trade talk to others.

``Anybody, anything can happen anytime. I've been in the game long enough to understand that,'' he said. ``I don't think as managers we can sit here and get caught up on one move or another move and say, well, this is - we can't worry about that. We've got to worry about what we have and how we're going to get better.

``When we go to spring training, I'm going to look at the names on those lockers, and I'm going to figure out what we've got to do to be successful with the names on the lockers, depending on who they are,'' he added.

Also in play, maybe: Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco.

Nolasco, who went 12-13 with a 4.48 ERA this year and is signed for $11.5 million next season, asked the payroll-slashing Marlins to deal him in the wake of trades that jettisoned Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell and Josh Johnson.

``I just think that he's just looking for a better situation than he feels what is presented to him in Miami,'' agent Matt Sosnick said. ``We defer to the fact that we have no control and he's under contract for another year. The team certainly can do as they please. We felt it was important to make his feelings known.''

The Yankees know Rodriguez won't be in the lineup on opening day. The 37-year-old third baseman, looking nothing like the slugger who ranks fifth on the career list with 647 homers, will have surgery on his left hip and could be out until the All-Star break.

``It's a significant blow,'' Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. ``But we've dealt with significant blows and, hopefully, we'll be able to deal with this one, as well.''

Rodriguez is a 14-time All-Star and baseball's highest-paid player at $275 million. This will be his sixth stint on the disabled list in six seasons, including a trip in 2009 after surgery on his right hip.

Loney found a new home in Tampa Bay. The 28-year-old first baseman hit a combined .249 with six homers and 41 RBIs for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston.

Soria reached a two-year agreement with Texas after missing the entire season for Kansas City because of his second Tommy John surgery. The Royals declined their option on the two-time All-Star for next year.

The first announcement at the meetings podium came from the Hall of Fame, which said its pre-integration panel had elected former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, longtime umpire Hank O'Day and barehanded catcher Deacon White. They were honored for their achievements before the first half of the 20th century, and increased Cooperstown's membership to 300.

Ruppert brought Babe Ruth to New York, built Yankee Stadium and transformed the pinstripers into baseball's most dominant power. He did so much, many people just figured he was already enshrined.

``The family is so thrilled,'' great-grand-nephew K. Jacob Ruppert told The Associated Press by phone. ``His mark is now indelible.''

``Growing up, I was under the impression that he was inducted sometime in the 1940s or 1950s. But I guess it never happened. Some things in history aren't appreciated. If it's not in the here and now, it's off the radar screen.''

Expanded replay, however, is still important to Major League Baseball.

Commissioner Bud Selig has said he wants to add video reviews for trapped balls and fair-or-foul calls next season. MLB executive Joe Torre said ``we're looking at it'' but offered no guarantee that the technology would be in place by then.

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New set of injuries leaves Redskins offensive depth chart in shambles

New set of injuries leaves Redskins offensive depth chart in shambles

At the onset of the 2018 NFL season, few expected Josh Doctson and Jordan Reed to be among the most healthy players on the Redskins.

Both players dealt with injuries in their early careers, and had spotty training camp attendance in Richmond. And yet, 12 games into a season littered with other offensive injuries, Reed and Doctson had been largely healthy. 

That changed in Sunday's thumping from the Giants. Reed strained his big toe, and might not return this season. It's particularly alarming to hear of as he had surgery on both feet last offseason. Doctson landed in concussion protocol after the Giants game, and his status will be updated Wednesday at practice. 

The Redskins offense had not been productive with Reed and Doctson in the lineup, let alone out of it. Reed will certainly be out for Sunday's game in Jacksonville, and Doctson will be somebody to watch. 

With these latest injuries, it's almost impossible to come up with a real depth chart for the offense. Here goes:

QB: Josh Johnson, Mark Sanchez, Colt McCoy
Note: Seriously, these are the QBs. McCoy is not healthy enough to play but the team is not placing him on season ending IR yet either.

RB: Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, Byron Marshall, Kapri Bibbs, Samaje Perine
Note: Against New York, Marshall landed on the active roster ahead of Bibbs. It doesn’t make a ton of sense, but not much this season has. 

WR: Jamison Crowder, Maurice Harris, Michael Floyd, Jehu Chesson
Note: With Doctson possibly out with a concussion, the Redskins don’t have enough WRs for the Jags game. If that happens, expect Simmie Cobbs to get called up from the practice squad. Darvin Kidsy is another option.

TE: Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle
Note: With Reed out the Redskins will likely call up J.P. Holtz from the practice squad. Matt Flanagan is another practice squad option, but he projected to be a fullback. Seeing as the third tight end plays a decent amount of snaps in the Redskins offense and special teams, the organization might look outside the team for help if Reed gets put to the injured reserve. 

OL: Trent Williams, Chase Roullier, Morgan Moses, Tony Bergstrom, Luke Bowanko, Zac Kerin, Austin Howard, Ty Nsekhe, Kyle Fuller 
Note: The Redskins really hope Bergstrom can get back on the field this week as the Austin Howard guard experiment went poorly. The team just added Fuller on Tuesday. 

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Ovechkin’s hat trick keeps Capitals rolling in 6-2 win against Red Wings

Ovechkin’s hat trick keeps Capitals rolling in 6-2 win against Red Wings

CAPITAL ONE ARENA -- The stars came out for the Capitals on Tuesday night. 

There was Alex Ovechkin continuing his marvelous age-33 season with a hat trick, his first since Nov. 25, 2017. Nicklas Backstrom had four more assists. That’s his second four-point game in six games. T.J. Oshie returned from an 11-game absence (concussion) and scored on the power play. Evgeny Kuznetsov set up two goals. 

Anything else?

It all added up to a 6-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings and Washington is rolling. With that kind of firepower why wouldn’t it be? The Caps have won 11 of their past 14 games. At 18-9-3 and with 39 points, Washington is in first place in the Metropolitan Division and has a chance to build on that lead with five of its final eight games of 2018 at home. 

It didn’t hurt that the second-place Columbus Blue Jackets coughed up a 2-1 lead to the Vancouver Canucks at home Tuesday, allowing two goals in the final five minutes to lose 3-2 in regulation. The Blue Jackets are stuck on 34 points and suddenly the Capitals have a five-point lead in the division. 

“The season is all progress,” Backstrom said. “You keep building your team getting all the roles intact. Lately the last couple of games we’ve been playing good hockey, we’ve been playing with a lot of speed, we’ve been playing quick. That’s when we’re hard to play against, I think.”

The recent hot streak starts with Ovechkin, in the midst of one of the best stretches of his career. It was his 126th multi-goal game and he passed former Washington forward Dino Ciccarelli (125) for the 11th-most in league history.

“I’ll take it,” Ovechkin said. “Couple lucky goals.”

Ovechkin has points in 12 straight games (13 goals, six assists) and 18 of his 19 points during that stretch have come at even strength – with admittedly a few empty-net tallies tossed in for good measure. He extended his NHL lead to 25 goals – four ahead of Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine and Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point (21).  

If Ovechkin records a point against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday he will tie his career best of 13 games set between Dec. 30, 2006 and Feb. 1, 2007. That was the year before this incredible run of sustained success began with Washington’s first playoff berth in the Ovechkin era. They didn’t even wear red uniforms back then. Ovechkin ranks eighth in points (38) in the NHL through 30 games. 

“I don’t watch much hockey so I can only go off the years I’ve been here but he’s playing outstanding,” Oshie said.

“At that level that he got himself to last year right at the start of the year … he’s really just kept building off that. It’s fun being on this side of that when Big O is going like that. It’s a privilege to play with him out there and you think maybe there are not other ways he can kind of amaze you and wow you but there was another example tonight.”

Last year, he didn’t get to 39 points until Dec. 30, which was game No. 40. He had three assists that night against the New Jersey Devils and ended that game at 41 points. He didn’t get to 25 goals until a Jan. 2 game against Carolina, which was Game No. 41. Ovechkin finished with 87 points (49 goals, 38 assists) and is well ahead of that pace and halfway to his magic number of 50.   

“The age he's at to still continue to not only want to get better, but to be able to,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden said.

“After just the way he's played the game with such a physical presence and the energy he has and the size he is, it's not easy. He's been great in our room, the leadership is really stepped up for me, the best I've seen him lead in our room during the regular season. And then his overall play is following right along with it. I know some other years statistically have been better, but for me it's his best two-way hockey that he's played.” 

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