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Yankees manager Girardi attends father's funeral

Yankees manager Girardi attends father's funeral

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) Jerry Girardi was memorialized Monday as a dedicated laborer who built the ranch-style Illinois home where he raised five highly successful children - two doctors, a math professor, an accountant and New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

The Yankees manager, who attended the funeral service during an off day in the American League Championship Series, sat quietly alongside his family. None of the Girardis spoke, and they left the church quickly to attend the burial in Tampico, the tiny north-central Illinois town known as the birthplace of Ronald Reagan.

Father Larry Zurek told the roughly 100 mourners at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in downtown Peoria that Jerry Girardi's contribution went far beyond his occupations as a bricklayer, restaurant owner and salesman. Foremost, he cherished family, Zurek said.

``Jerry built walls, but he built so much more,'' the priest said.

Jerry Girardi died Oct. 6 at a residential treatment center in nearby Metamora, Ill., at age 81. He had suffered from Alzheimer's for years.

The funeral came the day after Joe Girardi was ejected for arguing a controversial call during a loss to the Detroit Tigers that left the Yankees down 2-0 in the series. But, a lot like the images baseball fans are accustomed to seeing from the Yankee dugout, Girardi showed little emotion Monday. A few times, he dabbed at tears with a handkerchief.

Joe Girardi, whose mother, Angela, died in 1984, managed his team through much of last week without telling players or the public that his father had died. He told The Associated Press last week that he found out while riding a team bus.

``The one thing that both of them, besides many other things that they taught me, was always to finish the job at hand,'' Girardi said. ``So my thought process was my dad would want me to do everything that we could do to go win a World Series. He had been a part of them with me as a player. 2009 - I don't think he understood what we did at that time. He was at a stage in Alzheimer's that he wasn't talking, so I don't think he understood.''

In a statement, the family thanked the community and others for their support.

``Our father would have been touched by all the kindness shown to our family as we mourn his passing. As saddened as we are with his loss, we take solace in knowing that he lives on through the principles he passed down to us and in the many wonderful memories we have of him.''

Lee Hall grew up with Joe Girardi and his brother John, and was co-captain of the team one year with Joe.

Hall, now a local TV sportscaster, said after the service that Jerry Girardi was typical of the hard-working, blue-collar Peoria-area people that both Hall and the Girardi children were raised by. Thousands of people in the area work at Caterpillar Inc., the heavy machinery manufacturer based nearby.

Hall played high school baseball with Girardi and his brother John, he said, was a team co-captain with Joe Girardi one season.

``I think it was the kids' parents - Mr. and Mrs. Girardi did an incredible job with them, you know?'' Hall said. ``They were kind of like my parents: working class parents who wanted better for their kids.''

Joe Girardi has talked frequently about his father taking him to Cubs games, and about how Jerry Girardi showed off his son's World Series ring - won as the Yankees catcher in 1996 - around town after his son gave it to him.

The manager frequently spoke about his father's long struggle with Alzheimer's, progressing from occasional forgetfulness and disorientation as far back as the mid-1990s to the point where he was never sure his father knew or understood him when he called or visited.

On Monday, as the service ended, Jerry Giardi's casket was draped with an American flag, a reminder that he was also an Air Force veteran who served during the Korean war.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis said outside the church that he played high school football with John Girardi, and recalled Jerry Girardi frequently standing on the sidelines at practices to watch his son.

``Jerry and his wife brought the kids up right,'' Ardis said.

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Follow David Mercer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidmercerap

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round pick, NCAA star

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USA Today Sports Images

Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round pick, NCAA star

The Wizards will have some recognizable names at their second pre-draft workout on Wednesday including potential first round pick Aaron Holiday of UCLA, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Here is the list with some notes on each player...

Aaron Holiday, guard, UCLA (6-1, 185)

The brother of two NBA players (Jrue and Justin), Holiday played three years at UCLA and averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and 1.3 steals as a junior. He also shot 42.9 percent from three on 6.2 attempts per game. He registered a 6-8 wingspan at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: possible first round pick, likely won't be there in second round; would solidify backup point guard position

Devonte' Graham, guard, Kansas (6-2, 175)

The Big 12 player of the year, Graham averaged 17.3 points and 7.2 assists as a senior. He posted a 6-6 wingspan at the combine. His uncle played for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1990s.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; would provide backup point guard depth

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, forward, Kansas (6-8, 195)

A big-time three-point shooter, Mykhailiuk shot 44.4 percent from three on 6.6 attempts per game as a senior. He averaged 14.6 points and 3.9 rebounds.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could be a three-point threat off the bench

Moritz Wagner, center, Michigan (6-11, 241)

Originally from Germany, Wagner was a standout in the NCAA Tournament as the Wolverines went all the way to the final. He averaged 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals as a junior. He also shot 39.4 percent from three and measured at nearly 7-feet in shoes at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could develop into a capable stretch-five

Johnathan Williams, forward, Gonzaga (6-9, 225)

Williams began his career at Missouri before transferring. He averaged 13.4 points and 8.5 rebounds as a senior. 

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

Zach Thomas, SF, Bucknell (6-7, 228)

Thomas was the Patriot League player of the year with averages of 20.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game as a senior. He shot 40 percent from three for his college career.

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

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Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

As the NHL continues to focus more on speed and skill, the Capitals took a very old-school approach to Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. From the moment the puck dropped until the clock hit zero, it was clear Washington came into Monday with a very physical game plan.

"It made a big difference," T.J. Oshie said. "I think in these games, everyone’s bringing energy and you kind of want to control that and direct it towards some positive play, some momentum building for your team, and tonight I think we handled that and did that pretty well."

"We just wanted to throw everything we had at them," Stephenson said. "It was a do or die game and we don't want our season to end."

It worked.

The scoresheet officially credited the Caps with 39 hits for the game. The Lightning had only 19. The physical play seemed to wear down Tampa Bay as the game went on.

After an even first period, Washington took a 1-0 lead in the second. Then, very fittingly, a physical fourth line extended that lead to 2-0 in the third to finish the Lightning off.

"All of a sudden now we turn a puck over, you’re back in your end, they’re feeling it, they’re being physical, crowd’s behind them and we’re spending way too much time in our D zone," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said. "That’s what hurt us."

What made it so effective was the fact that the entire team bought into it. Alex Ovechkin was certainly the most noticeable player as he threw himself around like a wrecking ball against everyone wearing a white jersey. But it was not just his line. Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six hits, Devante Smith-Pelly recorded five of his own while Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both had four.

The Lightning faced a constant barrage from the Caps from every line and defensive pair. There was no respite.

The hits also gave the fans plenty to cheer for.

The Caps were playing an elimination game at home and Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was standing on his head. Even with the score locked at 0-0 through the first period, the crowd was still very much into the game. There was no apprehension, there was no quiet tension. There was just a loud crowd cheering on its team.

"[The fans] were loud right from the start, which I think we fed off of and wanted to give them something back," Brooks Orpik said. "We didn't get a goal early. I think some of the physical play kind of helped carry that. They were great for us."

Now in the third round of the playoffs after six intense games between the Caps and Lightning, the hope is that Game 6's physical play will continue to take its toll on Tampa Bay heading into Game 7.

"We need to do that every game," Nicklas Backstrom said. "That's our forecheck. Hopefully, we can keep it going here in Game 7."

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