Nationals

Nowitzki returns from knee surgery against Spurs

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Nowitzki returns from knee surgery against Spurs

SAN ANTONIO (AP) Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki made his season debut Sunday night, entering the game as a substitution midway through the first quarter of a 129-91 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

Nowitzki came on with 6:28 left in the quarter to a hearty mix of cheers and boos. The former MVP played in one preseason game for the Mavs but had missed the team's first 27 regular season games. He immediately picked up a rebound for Dallas (12-15).

Nowitzki, who underwent surgery on his right knee Oct. 19 after experiencing soreness last season, closed the first quarter with three rebounds and two points after making his only shot attempt.

He finished with eight points - going 3 for 4 from the field - and six rebounds in 20 minutes.

The 34-year-old has averaged 22.9 points and 8.3 rebounds in his career. He led the Mavericks to the 2011 NBA title, but struggled last season while dealing with the knee injury. He took some time off midway through last season to rehabilitate and finished with a 21.6 scoring average - his lowest since 1999-2000 - in 62 games.

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Sean Doolittle says Nationals players will cover pay cuts scheduled for organization’s minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle says Nationals players will cover pay cuts scheduled for organization’s minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle tweeted late Sunday night that the Nationals’ major-league players will cover a pay cut minor-league players in the organization were going to endure.

The minor-league stipend was being reduced from $400 a week to $300 a week by the organization. Doolittle said the big-leaguers will close the gap.

“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," he tweeted.

“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.”

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The Nationals’ decision to reduce the weekly stipend for minor-league players ran counter to their original assertion that they would not -- as well as to what some other teams in the league are doing. Mike Rizzo, who was a minor-league player and an area scout trying to make ends meet at the start of his career, has a personal understanding of the process. He said on March 20 the Nationals would be protecting the minor-league salaries as agreed upon across the sport.

“In addition, very, very glad to see that Major League Baseball is beginning to take care of minor league players,” Rizzo said then. “That's something that we were certainly prepared to do without MLB's authority, if it came to that. We did want to wait to see what Major League Baseball would do for us to make our move. These minor-league players are not only of great importance to Major League Baseball and the Washington Nationals -- these are the next star players for the Nationals; these are the next union members for the MLBPA.”

In the end, the current union members had to step in to make sure the stipends were maintained when a decision seemingly above Rizzo was made.

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MLBPA proposes 114-game season that would start on June 30, according to report

MLBPA proposes 114-game season that would start on June 30, according to report

The Major League Baseball Players Association delivered a proposal to MLB on Sunday to play a 114-game season that would start on June 30, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported on Sunday.

The proposal comes after weeks of a strained back-and-forth between the union and team owners over potential salary cuts and protections for players as the two sides look to negotiate a late start to the 2020 season. Many - including NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas - have pointed to a time crunch to get a plan in place to start the season.

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According to Passan, the latest proposal includes the right to opt out of the season for all players and a deferral of salaries if the 2020 postseason was canceled.

A sticking point in a proposal that leaked last week from the owners suggested that players take a tiered pay cut, which predictably angered players.

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