Roy Halladay won't be back anytime soon

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Roy Halladay won't be back anytime soon

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay is expected to miss six to eight weeks because of a strained right shoulder, the latest major setback for the five-time NL East champions. Halladay was put on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, two days after he was hit hard and pulled from a start in St. Louis after just two innings because of shoulder soreness. The two-time Cy Young winner will be shut down for a minimum of three weeks, then work toward rejoining the rotation, Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. Proefrock said tests done in Philadelphia indicated Halladay doesn't need surgery to recover and that the injury doesn't affect his rotator cuff. "We hate to have him down, but it's nothing that requires anything other than rest," Proefrock said. Halladay is 4-5 with a 3.98 ERA in 11 starts. He has pitched at least 220 innings in each of the past six seasons, and four times led the league in innings. His 72 1-3 innings this year tied Houston's Wandy Rodriguez for the NL lead. The move with Halladay, which came two years to the day since he pitched a perfect game in Florida, was made retroactive to Monday. Catcher Erik Kratz was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Minutes before the injury was announced as a Grade IGrade II strain of the latissimus dorsi, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he thought Halladay needed a break. Halladay has "thrown a lot of bullets over his career," Manuel said, suggesting the 35-year-old pitcher could step back for a bit and still be dominant. The durable Halladay had not been on the DL because of shoulder trouble since 2004. "He's got to get well," Manuel said. The injury came with the Phillies at 26-24 and tied with Atlanta for last in the division, four games behind Washington. Philadelphia has managed to stay close minus All-Star hitters Ryan Howard (Achilles tendon) and Chase Utley (knee), who haven't played at all this season. Manuel said he harbored hope that his slugging first baseman and smooth-fielding second baseman would be back at some point this year. As for Halladay's absence, "it would hurt us," Manuel said. "How much, I really don't know." The Phillies have relied on their pitching, particularly their rotation, to stick solidly in contention. Vance Worley, who is on the DL and hasn't started since May 11 because of elbow trouble, threw his first bullpen session since the injury before Tuesday's game. Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton and Kyle Kendrick remain in the rotation, and there are a few potential replacements at Triple-A, including former big leaguers Dave Bush and Scott Elarton. Any chance for Philadelphia to sign former Phillies star Roy Oswalt as a possible addition ended when the free agent reached a deal with Texas later Tuesday. "Yeah, we can always use pitching," Manuel said, while adding, "I'm not telling (GM) Ruben Amaro to get another." Halladay initially felt discomfort in his shoulder last Tuesday in a start against Washington but worked through it. He cut back on his throwing regimen before his next outing, but was tagged by Yadier Molina's grand slam in St. Louis. Halladay began the season by throwing eight strong innings in a 1-0 win at Pittsburgh on opening day and seemed fine until blowing a 6-0 lead against Atlanta on May 2. He's 1-3 since then and the Phillies have lost four of his five starts. The eight-time All-Star came to the Phillies in a trade with Toronto before the 2010 season and got a 60 million, three-year contract. Halladay pitched a perfect game against the Marlins in that first season with Philadelphia, and later that year threw a no-hitter against Cincinnati in his first career postseason outing. The Phillies won the 2008 World Series and hoped to capture another crown after adding Halladay. But Philadelphia lost to the eventual champion San Francisco Giants in the 2010 NL championship series, then Halladay lost to Chris Carpenter and St. Louis 1-0 in the deciding Game 5 of the 2011 division series.

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Lots of talk about Trent Williams at guard instead of tackle - don't listen

Lots of talk about Trent Williams at guard instead of tackle - don't listen

With Trent Williams eligible to return to the Redskins after serving a four-game suspension, much chatter has emerged about the All Pro left tackle moving inside to play left guard.

Don't listen to that chatter.

Williams made the move inside to guard once this season, during a win in New York when injuries decimated the Redskins offensive line. He played well, especially considering Williams said after that game that he had never played guard in his life. 

For Washington moving forward, some fans want Williams at left guard and Shawn Lauvao sent to the bench. That would mean Ty Nsekhe stays at left tackle. 

A few problems with this plan: 1) Trent Williams is the best left tackle on the team, and maybe in the NFL. 2) Injuries are mounting up for Nsekhe and right tackle Morgan Moses, not to mention the rest of the offensive line.

Nsekhe left the locker room in Arizona with a walking boot on his foot. Moses has dealt with a severely sprained ankle since Halloween. A healthy Williams returning to the team allows Nsekhe or Moses sit and get the rest they need for their injuries. 

Further, on Sunday in a loss to the Cardinals, center Spencer Long sustained a concussion. His backup John Sullivan came in and handled the center duties well. 

Some might suggest that Long move to guard, Sullivan stay at center, and Lauvao go to the bench. That move has more merit than moving Williams inside, but still seems like it would be a reach. And now with Long forced to enter the NFL concussion protocol, it's unclear when he will be back on the field at all.

Another suggestion has been to move Nsekhe inside to left guard. Consider that Nsekhe has been a development project; he's bounced around lower professional football leagues and at age 31 only has six career NFL starts. Couple that with his size - he's 6-foot-8 - and it's a tall task to move from tackle to guard. 

Lauvao played poorly against the Cardinals, that's indisputable. But as much as some fans believe a reworked offensive line is the answer, moving those pieces is not very simple. Coaches and players like and respect Lauvao, and his play can only improve with Trent Williams back standing next to him. 

Like all things in sports, the situation will remain fluid. More injuries could force more changes, but speaking with folks that know the situation, do not expect to see Williams at guard when he returns to the field next week in Philadelphia. 

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3 bold predictions: Can Caps end their skid against Sabres?

3 bold predictions: Can Caps end their skid against Sabres?

The Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres the day after Thanksgiving. That was the last time they've won. Now Washington will look to end a three-game skid as they host the Sabres again on Monday (7 p.m. on CSN).

Here are three bold predictions for Monday's game:

1. Jack Eichel will record two points

Buffalo managed only one goal the last time these two teams met, but that was without Jack Eichel. With him back in tow, this is a completely different offense. He should expect a heavy dose of Matt Niskanen and Karl Alzner, but Eichel is the real deal and has registered four points in his first two games back this season.

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2. The Caps will not score on the power play

That's not really too bold these days considering Washington has only one power play goal in their last 16 opportunities. This would look like a good opportunity to get back on track considering Buffalo has the 29th penalty kill in the NHL (77.2 percent). The Sabres, however, do not take many penalties. Buffalo is ninth in minors taken this year and are 2-1-0 since losing to the Caps. They are not playing frustrated and are less likely to take foolish penalties. With fewer opportunities, the Caps' struggling power play is not likely to return to form.

3. Both teams will take roughing penalties and/or a fight in the third period

Considering that these two teams met last week and will play again on Friday, things will get physical late as both teams will look to send a message. That will result in some extended scrums and pawing, maybe even a fight. But I don't expect either team to really run away with this one, making a late fight unlikely.

MORE CAPITALS: DAILY QUOTE: 'WE NEED TO BE A LITTLE MORE GRITTY'