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Torres returns to Giants for $2 million

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Torres returns to Giants for $2 million

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Andres Torres is returning to the San Francisco Giants, who gave the outfielder his first chance as a regular two years ago.

Torres signed a $2 million, one-year contract Thursday with the reigning World Series champions. He passed a physical to finalize the deal, the Giants said.

``Great to have him back!'' manager Bruce Bochy wrote in a text message. ``He gives us that much more versatility and character in the clubhouse. Everybody loves Andres as a teammate.''

Also on Thursday, the Giants reached a minor league deal with right-hander Chad Gaudin, familiar with the Bay Area after pitching for Oakland from 2006 through part of the 2008 season and again for a short stint in 2010. If Gaudin is placed on the 40-man roster, he would earn $750,000 while in the majors and $150,000 while in the minors. He also could make an additional $50,000 each for 35, 40, 45, 50 and 55 games pitched in the big leagues.

The 34-year-old Torres spent last season with the New York Mets following three years with the Giants. He hit .230 this year with three home runs, 35 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 132 games.

Now, Torres gets to play alongside the man the Giants traded him to New York for: center fielder Angel Pagan.

A fan favorite and strong clubhouse presence, Torres will play left field. The Giants still have Gregor Blanco there as well, giving Bochy plenty of options. Pagan last week received a $40 million, four-year contract.

Bochy said Torres also will back up Pagan and right fielder Hunter Pence. Blanco, an impact player during the postseason who took over in left following Melky Cabrera's 50-game suspension in August, also is likely to get ample opportunities.

As part of the deal negotiated by agents Sam and Seth Levinson, Torres can earn an additional $250,000 in performance bonuses: $50,000 each for 400, 425, 450, 475 and 500 plate appearances.

The switch-hitting Torres was a key member of the Giants' 2010 World Series championship run. He was in the stands at AT&T Park this fall for a couple of postseason games to cheer on his old teammates as they won their second title in three years.

Torres, who had toiled in the minors for more than a decade, became a regular in May 2010 as the center fielder and leadoff hitter. He batted .268 with 16 home runs and 63 RBIs in his first full big league season, then played through pain throughout the playoffs. He surprised the Giants and even himself with a rapid recovery to return from an emergency appendectomy late in the year to help San Francisco during the stretch run.

Torres had the procedure Sept. 12, 2010, in San Diego and played again Sept. 24 - missing all of 11 games. His fitness level and determination helped him return so quickly. Bochy had all but ruled out Torres for the remainder of the regular season.

He then hit .276 with a home run and three RBIs in 15 postseason games. He hit four doubles and stole two bases.

Torres also has been open about his struggles with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In 2007, he began taking medication for the condition and it has made a huge difference.

He was recognized as the team's 2010 ``Willie Mac'' Award winner. The honor is named for Hall of Famer Willie McCovey and is voted on by the players, coaches and training staff to recognize the team's most inspirational player both on the field and in the clubhouse.

Torres' plight to reach the majors after a modest upbringing in Puerto Rico and his struggles with ADHD were the subject of a documentary. He spent parts of 12 years in the minors - eight of those at the Triple-A level - before getting his shot.

The 29-year-old Gaudin went 4-2 with a 4.54 ERA in 46 appearances last season with the Marlins.

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AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed.

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

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Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

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Twitter/City of Las Vegas

Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

The Washington Capitals official #ALLCAPS hashtag started in 2017 during a Caps-Penguins game after the Pittsburgh Penguins' official Twitter account decided to tweet in all lowercase letters during the game. 

Now, as the Caps look to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final ahead of Game 1 Monday, Vegas has followed suit by changing their iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign to include only lowercase letters, a jab at the Capitals #ALLCAPS.

Additionally, the City's official Twitter account has changed their handle to "the city of las vegas" without any capital letters and the hashtag #nocaps.

It will be interesting to see how the Capitals' official Twitter will respond...

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